Best Plants for Yards with Dogs

best plants for yards with dogs

Before adding new bushes and trees to your yard, you have many things to consider. Don’t even think about going to the plant nursery if you haven’t thought about your USDA Zone, how much shade or sun your area is getting, soil acidity or alkalinity, and if animals frequent the place.

Also, you should keep in mind that if you have a dog living with you, you must ensure their safety. You’ll never know if your pet might ingest a plant toxic to dogs. Unfortunately, many everyday plants are toxic to dogs. Some plants swallowed by pets can pose serious harm, triggering convulsions, involuntary movements, and even death.

If you have canine pets and want a stunning landscape, you’ll appreciate this article about the best plants for yards with dogs.

14 Dog-Safe Plants for Your Yard

Look at these non-toxic plants that are OK for our furry companions. We highly recommend introducing plants to your yard to beautify it, simultaneously ensuring the safety of the domestic mammals of the family Canidae.

1. Magnolia Bushes

Magnolia Bush

Do not think that all magnolias are enormous, imposing trees. If you like magnolia but like them short, you can still find various multi-trunked, shrubby magnolias available from nurseries and small retailers.

Magnolias have beautiful, fragrant blooms and produce lots of leaf clutter. Thus, before growing these lovely bushes, ensure you’re ready to do regular upkeep. But you’ll see that it’s worth it because they’re resilient, stunning, and non-toxic to dogs. You’ll frequently see magnolia bushes in backyards with pet dogs.

2. Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia)

Crepe Myrtle

Crepe myrtles are an excellent pick for pet-friendly landscapes. It doesn’t matter how you trim them or even how massive you allow them to grow. They are more like trees than shrubs, but you can make them more manageable with frequent trimming.

Crepe myrtles are tough, beautiful plants that are totally OK for your pup.

3. Fuchsias


Flower shops will have these delicate, purple, and pink blooms in suspended containers. Fuchsia is a gorgeous, dog-friendly flowering plant that blooms from springtime to fall.

In fact, Fuchsia’s fruit and flowers are safe to eat.

4. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)


Basil is an excellent choice for dog owners since it is a beautiful yet safe plant. You will be happy to hear about basil’s non-toxicity to dogs if you think having a fresh supply of basil for your recipes is beneficial. The plant is sensitive to frost and thrives in warm environments.

5. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)


Thyme is a valuable herb that will never impact your dogs’ health. It’s a perennial that doesn’t require much care and makes an excellent ground cover.

Being a Mediterranean native, Thyme thrives even with only a little water and sun. Grilled meat, veggies, and sauces will taste good with this plant.

6. Banana (Musa)


Banana plants will not cause harm to your puppy. They’re also durable enough to endure your dog running around them a lot, making them even more desirable as a yard plant.

You could even use multiple banana plants to act as a border for your pets’ playground.

7. Golden Bells (Forsythia)


Forsythia plants are eye-catching shrubs that attract attention right away. Many gardeners use them as ornamentals to provide bold color to a primarily green environment, and some use them to create borders.

Although, keep in mind that Forsythia is a deciduous plant, which means it loses plenty of foliage in the wintertime. This information might impact whether or not you decide to utilize them as a hedging strategy.

However, regardless of how you cluster Golden Bells on your property, they will never be bad for your furry friends.

8. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)


Sunflowers aren’t toxic, so they won’t have a negative effect on your dog’s health. Sunflowers are not harmful to dogs, which is excellent news for pet owners. If your animal buddy consumes any part of the sunflower plant, he will not be harmed. Therefore, they’re a perfect ornamental plant for a landscape with dogs.

9. Bottlebrush (Callistemon)


The bottlebrush is a shrub/tree with lush evergreen foliage. This lovely foliage is pet-friendly and a favorite landscaping feature. It’s also attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds, further adding color to the yard!

10. Hibiscus


Hibiscus are large plants that may grow to the size of trees, so make sure you have enough room for them. 

Hibiscus plants don’t pose a severe hazard to your dog, and many species’ blossoms are even eaten.

11. Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)


All rosemary varieties are edible and dog-friendly. Consider a spreading type if you want a durable plant to cover empty spots in the yard with a ground-hugging, soft pillow of greenery.

Rosemary is a particularly attractive groundcover, especially if your dogs like to run around. This plant causes a pleasant fragrance to be released whenever it gets stepped on. It’s also a tasty spice used in many Mediterranean recipes.

12. Nasturtium


The blossoms of Nasturtium, an annual, are tasty and have a peppery taste. Nasturtiums thrive in low-quality soil and don’t require fertilizer, so you may grow them in obscure places throughout your yard.

Nasturtiums drape multicolored sophistication over flower containers and stone walls, and their aroma is exquisite. Plus, they won’t harm your dog!

13. Dog-Safe Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

Polka Dot Plant

The Polka Dot Plant is an attention-grabbing tiny plant with brightly colored, speckled leaves —a pattern that is certainly fun and remarkable. Usually, you’ll see Hypoestes plants have pink-tinged foliage with green dots. The Polka Dot Plant is non-toxic to dogs.

14. Oregano (Origanum vulgare)


Oregano is a delicious, aromatic herb you can usually see in pizza and Italian sauces. It’s convenient to have in your yard if you like being creative with your recipes. The best part is you don’t have to worry about your dogs being poisoned by the plant; it’s beneficial to their health due to being antioxidant-rich.

Avoid These Plants When You Have Dogs

Avoid these plants if you have dogs

These are some common yard plants you should not have if you have dogs living with you:

  • Chrysanthemum
  • Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
  • Castor bean (Ricinus communis)
  • Aloe vera
  • Amaryllis
  • Daisy (Bellis perennis)
  • Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis)
  • Wisteria
  • Azaleas (Rhododendron)
  • Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum)
  • Philodendron
  • Rhododendron
  • Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
  • Daffodil (Narcissus)
  • Monkshood (Aconitum)
  • Lantana
  • Yew (Taxus baccata)
  • Boxwood (Buxus)
  • Peony (Paeonia)
  • Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

Know that if we were to list all the plants poisonous to dogs, this article would be exceedingly long and arduous. So, please check the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website for a complete, reliable, updated list. You can also use the Pet Poison Helpline search bar to look for information about the toxicity of plants to dogs.

Pup-Friendly Landscaping Tip

Pup Friendly Landscape tip

When designing a landscape with dogs in mind, the best thing to do is to have tough, resistant plants. 

We all know that dogs like to be active when they’re outdoors. Thus, you’ll need plants that really can survive zoomies! Imagine if a few leaves, stems, or blossoms are damaged—you want the plant to recover quickly, so they’ll be stronger than before.

What You Must Do Immediately If Your Dog Eats a Poisonous Plant

What to do if your dog gets poisoned

According to T. Wismer (veterinarian at ASPCA), ingesting any plant can cause dogs stomach discomfort, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Call your veterinarian or Animal Poison Control right away since your dog may require a stomach syringe or activated charcoal to adsorb the poisonous chemicals present in the plant.


What to Plant on a Sloped Yard

what to plant on a sloped yard

Slopes are often not given much thought during landscaping because they are more challenging to deal with than the rest of the yard. However, this is a mistake because these uneven areas can create a beautiful landscape with some effort and creativity.

A combination of plants on a sloping area is a great way to add beauty and character to your home. However, the slope can be a hassle for plant selection. If you choose plants wisely, you will gain the advantage of a beautifully planted slope that is protected from erosion. Plus, you won’t need to worry about mowing the slope.

In this article, we will discuss what to plant in a sloped yard.

How to Select Plants That Thrive on Banks and Slopes

How to select plants that thrive on banks and slopes

Many factors should be taken into account when selecting plants for sloped sites in the landscape.

First, you need to think about how much sunlight exposure there is at different times of day and year.

While light from the sun is a critical component in the growth of plants (since without it, plants cannot produce their food), it is not the only factor to take into account when choosing plants for sloped yards.

You also need to consider the slope of your yard and what type of soil it has. If your property has a steep slope and rocky soil, you might want to choose plants that can grow with less water and in poorer quality soil.

Consider the type of soil found on the slope and how much water it can hold. Soil is important for plants because it holds the water and nutrients that plants need; thus, it influences the plants’ growth. The type of soil found on the slope will affect how much water it can hold, and Denser soil will hold more water than soil with sand or gravel.

Furthermore, you need to consider the steepness of the slopeIf the soil slopes steeply and water infiltration is slow, water runoff will be more rapid.

Additionally, your choice of plant species should be aesthetically pleasing to you, at the same time, serve a purpose.

For instance, stunning groundcover plants conceal unpleasant spots while being low-maintenance.

Trees bring life to the landscape and protection from the sun to avoid excessive soil drying. Meanwhile, shrubs, trees, ground covers, and grasses with deep roots aid with soil stabilization.

Lastly, when you’re planting a sloped yard, think about how you will arrange your plants. You don’t want them all tumbling down the hill, so you’ll need to think about how they’ll be anchored. You also want to consider what plants will do well in those conditions—something that can tolerate a bit of extra sun or shade, depending on the angle of the slope.

With a little planning, you can build a visually appealing and unique sloped terrain that will make your yard the envy of the neighborhood.

Plants Suitable for Slopes and Banks

Natural sloping land

The most suitable plants for slopes are those with drought tolerance and those that require just minimal attention. But even if you have plants that seem tough, they may still need to be watered while they are getting established because the soil can be very dry on a slope or bank due to its extreme drainage. 

Some plants, such as sedge and thyme, need almost no maintenance—perfect for slopes. Other plants might need more care but will still be worth it because they are so beautiful or interesting to look at.

For easier reading, here’s a list of a few plants that thrive on slopes:

Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)


The snowberry is perfect for sloping yards because it requires very little maintenance and looks fantastic. This plant thrives in full sun to moderate shade on dry or damp, warm slopes. You can also find it along the river and in forests.

Rose (Rosa)


If you have a sloping yard and want it to scream romance, the best thing to do is plant roses. Ensure they have sufficient room to grow (about three feet apart) if you want to plant multiple roses. 

Roses thrive in sunny spots that are protected from severe winds. Plant them apart from trees. A fertile loam soil with good drainage is ideal for roses if you want to grow them in a sloping area.

California Lilac (Ceanothus)

California Lilac

Many homeowners are planting California Lilac in their sloped yards. It is a shrub that grows well in the sun and can be trained up a wall or into a tree form. Its foliage is dense and glossy, giving it the appearance of being a thicket of green leaves. But the star of the show is its pretty clusters of blue flowers.

You can even use Ceanothus in your flower bed or an evergreen hedge. Indeed, it is a versatile ornamental plant for the yard, sloped or not.

False Indigo (Baptisia australis)

False Indigo

Another decorative plant that can thrive on slopes is false indigo. This small, colorful ground cover has a carpet-like habit and will quickly fill in patches of bare ground with gorgeous pea-shaped, indigo-blue flower spikes among pale green foliage. And as a member of the legume family, it also helps improve soil quality by fixing nitrogen from the air into its deep taproot.

The false indigo plant can often be used to edge along sidewalks or other garden paths to keep grasses or weeds from creeping in.

Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)

Burning Bush

Burning Bushes are perfect for sloped yards, and they can handle challenging conditions such as dry soil, hot sun, and poor light. The most outstanding thing about the Burning Bush is its strikingly bright, “burning” red fall color. Its foliage remains stunning for the rest of the year, having a lush green pigmentation.

They grow surprisingly well in the shade too! And their water and fertilizer needs are minimal.



Cotoneaster is a shade-loving shrub that can do well on a sloped yard. It’s also suitable for hot, dry slopes taken over by other plants or broken up by erosion. 

Cotoneasters bloom in the spring with little white or pink flowers. They also have red or black fruits that look like berries.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera)


Why is honeysuckle excellent for sloped yards? Many people are drawn to plants with vibrant colors and gorgeous, honey-smelling blossoms. When you’re looking for that type of plant that can thrive in an area with slopes, honeysuckle will be a wise pick.

Honeysuckle plants can prevent erosion on sloping land. These plants grow well in sunny spots and are highly adaptable, making them perfect for slopes, hillsides, walls, or any other space in your garden that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day.



Deutzia belongs to the hydrangea family, and it is perfect for sloped yards. In the late fall, your yard will be covered with long-lasting clusters of white Deutzia flowers. The blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the yard, where they can feed on nectar while they rest their wings. 

The species even make excellent cut flowers because of their high tolerance for heat and humidity. They have a delicate fragrance and will last up to seven days in a vase.

Groundcover Plants for Sloping Zones—Sunny and Shady Areas

Groundcovers suitable for slopes and hillsides in sunny spots are:

English Ivy (Hedera helix)

English Ivy

English Ivy will form a beautiful, low-growing carpet on sloped areas in the yard. The Ivy’s leaves are designed for maximum surface coverage, and its roots work best in dry soil to prevent erosion on slopes. 

This evergreen wants nothing more than moist soil and partial shade. English Ivy has a medium poison severity to humans. It does have a fragrance that can be irritating or unpleasant to some people.

Rockrose (Cistus


Rockrose is another answer if you’re searching for beautiful plants for sloped yards. This Mediterranean native plant provides excellent contrast on slopes and does not require much care since it is drought tolerant. 

Rockrose is an excellent plant for sloped yards because of its extensive, scented flowers that exhibit abundant blooming in the spring and summer.

Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)

Creeping Juniper

Creeping Juniper is a tough, weed-suppressing plant that will thrive in a sloped environment, making it perfect for sloped yards! It does best in well-drained soil (to be fair, it is not very picky when it comes to soil) and tolerates drought conditions. Creeping junipers also need very little maintenance (no pruning!) and proliferate on their own.

Prostrate Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’)

Prostrate Rosemary

An attractive, tough plant, prostrate rosemary or creeping rosemary, has many great qualities. Its lengthy, twisting, curling branches are an intriguing addition to the soft elements of the landscape. And its pretty blue flowers bloom practically endlessly.

Furthermore, it is an excellent plant to grow on sloped yards because it can handle the incline with absolutely no problem when established. 

Rosemary is drought tolerant and does not require regular watering to thrive. The leaves attract beneficial insects that feed on aphids and other pests, thus cutting down on the need for pesticides.

Groundcovers appropriate for shaded areas in sloped yards are:

Kinnikinnik (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)


Kinnikinnik or bearberry is one of the greatest plants for sloped yards due to its ability to control erosion. It provides excellent drought tolerance and the same color benefits as other shade-loving groundcovers.

Plant kinnikinnick in areas where full sun is not present. With their lush, dark green leaves and red fruits, kinnikinnick provides impressive color to bare spots in your landscape’s sloped areas.

Carpet bugle (Ajuga reptans)

Carpet Bugle

If you are looking for an attractive and low-maintenance plant to put in your sloped space, carpet bugle is an excellent choice. With its delicate, deep bluish-violet flower stalks that can grow up to five inches high, carpets bugles have many different leaf colors, shapes, and sizes.

The carpet bugle is also hardy, which means it can grow in many different climates. The only place it will not be able to grow is where the temperatures get too cold or hot.

Vinca Vine (Vinca)

The Vinca Vine is well-suited to sloping areas in the yard. It is a flowering groundcover and will grow in full sun to partial shade. 

One especially good-looking variety is the variegated version of Vinca major, which is aptly named Vinca major Variegata. Its foliage is not the usual single-colored leaves you see every day—instead, you’re looking at a pretty shade of green with a creamy white outline.

Vinca vine has an excellent drought tolerance but will grow faster with water, making it perfect for sloped yards. Vinca Vine produces blue flowers from spring until the first frost.

Wild ginger (Asarum canadense)

Wild Ginger

Another plant known for its ability to grow on hillsides is wild ginger. This wild ginger grows as a ground cover, not to be confused with ginger, as in the spicy root. 

It is an excellent plant to put on a sloped yard’s shady areas because it will fill in any bald spots and give you more of an even ground cover that can resist erosion and wet soil. The leaves are smooth and glossy, and they will take over your space nicely.

Hermann’s Pride Deadnettle (Lamium galeobdolong’ Hermann’s Pride’)

Dead Nettle

A few benefits to this plant for your sloped backyard are that it provides sharp contrasts of green and gold, can handle partial shade and is low maintenance. You’ll enjoy the lovely silver shade that looks striking against the green veins on its foliage.

There are several varieties to choose from—all have beautiful colors in their flower heads. 

Ornamental Grasses for Sloped Areas

Creative people view ornamental grasses as significant features in sloped areas. Why? Because grassy ornamental plants that would do well on slopes and banks are impactful when it comes to adding interesting texture and captivating color to the landscape. A few examples are:

Beard Grass or Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Little Bluestem

One of the best ground covers for slopes on your yard is Little Bluestem. This colorful plant will grow well in many locations, even in harsh conditions and poor soil. Although it may not be an excellent choice for wetter climates, it can handle dry areas beautifully!

But what else can you expect from this resilient plant? For one thing, Little Bluestem’s form makes it a superb choice for those looking to maintain their privacy without sacrificing space.

Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)

Pink Muhly Grass

Pink Muhly Grass is a versatile, hazy-looking plant that can grow in a well-sunlit, well-draining sloped yard. It will also tolerate hot weather, drought, humidity, salty and poor soil.

There are a few other advantages of the grass: it has a beautiful and unusual color (which is why it’s the only grass that’s pink), and if you need to trim the plants; there will be another one showing up after it in just a couple of weeks.

Fountain Grass (Pennisetum)


If you’re looking for a low-maintenance option for your sloped yard with lush green grass, you’ll love Fountain Grass. Pennisetum’s leaves are delicately textured, and the silhouette is attractive. The motion of the foliage and flower spikes in the wind introduces a dynamic appeal to the landscape.

This perennial native grass is easy to grow in any sloped land area and provides a natural beauty without much work.

Sedge (Cyperaceae family)


Plant sedge on a steeply sloped yard if you want something adaptable and can grow in very poor soil conditions. 

It also has a fairly small growth habit, so it does not take up too much space while being an attractive ground cover. Sedge will grow well mixed with other plants such as hosta or astilbe, which add color to the landscape without being overpowering.

Flowers for Sloped Land

The stunning view of a flower-filled sloped yard is always welcoming. Fill the yard with wildflowers or pick several attractive perennials suitable for your location, including: 

Coreopsis’ Candy Stripes’ 


We all know that all Coreopsis varieties can live well on slopes, but Coreopsis’ Candy Stripes’ is an amusing plant for your yard. This vibrantly colored plant has a long blooming time and will do well in areas with poor soil and low light conditions. 

Coreopsis requires very little maintenance and will easily tolerate periods of drought. This variety has a very dark purple-burgundy color on each petal that contrasts nicely with the bright white on the border and the yellow disk center.

Daffodils (Narcissus)


Daffodils appear lovely when planted on a slope. These flowering plants are popular because they grow well in sloped yards and make the planting spot look nice with vibrant flowers for a long time (spring to fall).

Hellebores (Helleborus)


If you have a sloped yard, don’t worry. You can still nicely decorate it with hellebores! 

Hellebores are a flower that is easy to grow as long as you place them in well-drained, rich soil and don’t expose it to too much sunlight. The lovely, deep green foliage and the interesting, spotted blooms will add color to any sloped area.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Purple Coneflower

Coneflowers are ideal for slopes, especially steep ones. The showy purple coneflower blooms in the summer, filling the sloped area in the yard with vibrant purple color. This plant is hardy in zones 5-8 and is excellent for sunny locations.

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Butterfly Weed

Butterfly weed has quite a tall form and elegant shape, beautiful, brilliant orange color, and it’s very easy to grow. 

Butterfly weeds are helpful for landscaping on sloped yards with lots of sun exposure. They add beauty to any sloping area, maintain soil moisture levels in dry spots in the yard, and attract butterflies.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officin)


Native flowering plants are almost typically a good pick for planting on slopes. A space filled with stunning dandelions adds year-round appeal to a hillside while requiring little to no upkeep. It helps that the taproot of the dandelion plant is quite deep, meaning it’s good for the soil.

Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha)

Salvia leucantha

Mexican Sage is a plant that can help prevent erosion in the sloped garden or yard and is commonly used in southern California. When you see it in your sloped yard, you will always be impressed by the smooth-textured, violet spikes of flowers that contribute significantly to its attractiveness.

Its soft, flowy growth pattern and pale green leaves also look amazing and complement the flower colors so well. But most of all, you will love its drought tolerance and resistance to pests.



When planting for sloped yards, we recommend Aster, as it’s one of the select plants well-suited for growing on slopes. Aster is a plant commendable for slope planting due to its excellent erosion control qualities.

These blooms resemble daisies, and they appear from late summer through early autumn—they will add life to your sloped yard with their richly colored, starry (hence the name) flowers. However, one thing they need is an open area to avoid too much exposure to damp conditions, which cause powdery mildew.


Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

Vegetable Gardening

Sowing a seed with your hands, watching it grow to maturity, and ultimately harvesting the fruit of your efforts is a genuinely down-to-earth type of inner satisfaction. If you have ever experienced farm-fresh vegetables, you may already know that they are exceptionally sweet, juicy, and flavorful. Vegetable gardening can be your source of exercise, hobby, and food for the table. A small backyard vegetable garden containing a nice mix of seasonal vegetables can be more than enough for you and your family. If your garden space is large enough, you can also convert your excess harvest into a small home-based business by selling fresh vegetables to nearby grocery stores or neighbors. 

Tips for planning your vegetable garden:

  1. Choose vegetables that your family already likes and consumes on a daily basis.
  2. Determine how much you might consume per month to know how much to plant.
  3. Choose plants based on growth and maturation times to ensure a steady supply throughout the season.
  4. Select viable, true-to-type seeds having a 100 % germination rate.
  5. Plan to monitor the garden for adequate water and plan to thin, harvest, and pull weeds as needed throughout the season.

How to start your vegetable garden

Selecting the right site

Location is a significant factor to consider before planting. Sunlight hours/day, site drainage, wind pattern, soil fertility, etc., are essential factors in site selection.

  • Sunlight hours/day: Sunlight is directly related to the success or failure of your crop. Most of the fruiting vegetables require 6-8 hours of continuous light every day, while the others, like leafy vegetables, are not as dependent on sunlight and can tolerate a bit more shade. 
  • Drainage: Improper drainage will lead to water pooling and root rot. It is best to ensure that excess water drains away from your garden and that your soil is friable and drains moisture well. However, if the area is a bit wet and the soil is not as well-drained as it should be, you can plant vegetables on ridges or in raised beds or containers. 
  • Container Garden: In a container garden, annual and biennial (mostly root vegetables) vegetables are planted as the containers are not deep enough to support the root system of perennial vegetables. Many vegetables like carrots, beets, lettuce, coriander, spinach, eggplant, etc., will do well in containers. Container vegetables are quite easy to grow and maintain and can be protected from several soil-borne diseases and climatic severity.
  • Raised-bed Garden: Raised beds or ridge planting can be used very successfully in vegetable gardening. Realize that any sort of container or raised bed will require more frequent watering. Source: Heflebower, R. (2012). Raised Bed Gardening.
  • Soil Fertility: a healthy soil will produce healthy plants and vice versa. Always use organic, well-aged fertilizers and compost for your home garden. They will keep your soils nutrient-rich and help you to produce healthy vegetables. 

Choosing Vegetables

Not all vegetables are easy-to-grow. For example, cooler climate vegetables cannot be grown in the hotter areas unless they are provided special care. Therefore, as a beginner, you should start with easy-to-grow vegetables that are well suited for your climate. It is not a bad idea to consult the experts when you are just starting out. Contact the Cooperative Extension Services (; they will guide you to make the best choices for your garden according to the climate and other related conditions. 

Following are some of the easiest vegetables for the Beginners in Gardening:

  • Pees
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Green beans
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Potatoes

The vegetables above are very good choices for the beginning gardener and can provide you and your family with lots of tasty food. Some of your veggies may occasionally be bothered by insect pests or diseases, but these are not very common and relatively easy to overcome using biological controls. 

How much and when to plant?

For the beginning gardener, it will be helpful to always plan and label your garden, allowing plenty of space for the plants to grow and thrive and also leaving plenty of room for you to work between the rows. A very typical beginner’s mistake is to plant rows and plants too closely together, making them hard to tend and necessitating thinning of plants which wastes your valuable seeds.

Also, don’t overwhelm yourself with your first garden. Planting is the fun part, and it is very easy to go too big. Weeding is the hard part, and it is very easy to let a large vegetable garden get away from you. Allowing your vegetables to be overgrown with weeds can cause severe stunting and even plant death, so it is better to go a bit smaller to start.

Now the question is how to arrange your vegetables? Let’s discuss:

  • You should plant the cool season and warm season vegetables according to their sowing dates. For example, lettuce, peas, and broccoli will be sown in early spring, while warm-season crops like cucumber, pepper, and tomatoes are not planted until the soil warms up a bit later.
  • Tall and vine-making plants (needing support) should be planted either in containers or along the edge of beds where support structures can be installed without impacting the other garden plants. If you have some shade-tolerant plants, the vining structures can provide a bit of shade from the hot summer sun for these more shade-tolerant plants. 
  • If planting perennial plants, choose a spot in the garden that will remain permanent and group these plants together since the spring preparation will be much different. 
  • Plant slowly but surely: do not plant all of the cucumber or lettuce or any other vegetable seeds all at once but in gaps of one or half months. In this way, you will have fresh food to consume throughout the season as your plants mature in stages. 

Two methods of vegetable planting:

  • Seeds: Seed sowing is a relatively inexpensive and easy method of planting as they are available in bulk, and they are easy to store and sow as you see fit. You can also harvest seeds from your own plants; just let them finish the reproductive stage, followed by the seed forming stage. You can also grow your own nursery stock from the seeds. This is a relatively inexpensive and healthy way to ensure an ample supply of seeds for next year’s garden, and you will be more self-sufficient. 
  • Nursery planting: For many warm-season vegetables, it is necessary to raise nursery plants first, transplant them, and then flowering and fruiting will take place. For example, tomatoes, chilies, eggplant, capsicum, cabbage, onion, kohlrabi, etc., will need to be started early if you are in a cooler climate.

Raising early seedlings has advantages:

  • They can be raised in trays, making them easy to care for indoors to protect the tiny, delicate seedling from harsh climatic conditions.
  • The seeds and seedlings can be protected from birds and other animals.
  • You will have the choice to transplant only healthy and vigorous seedlings.
  • It is possible to provide uniform, controlled conditions to all the seedlings until favorable climatic conditions exist outdoors.
  • It allows you to plan your plant growth and timing even more accurately to ensure a balanced harvest all season long.

The following links are the Garden-Expert’s transferred knowledge about home gardening:

  • Marsh, R. (1994). Nutritional benefits from home gardening. ILEIA Newsletter, 10(4), 14-15.
  • Marsh, R. (1998). Building on traditional gardening to improve household food security. Food nutrition and agriculture, 4-14.
  • Woodhead, E. (1998). Early Canadian Gardening: An 1827 nursery catalogue. McGill-Queen’s Press-MQUP.
  • Blakstad, M. M., Mosha, D., Bellows, A. L., Canavan, C. R., Chen, J. T., Mlalama, K., … & Fawzi, W. W. (2021). Home gardening improves dietary diversity, a cluster‐randomized controlled trial among Tanzanian women. Maternal & child nutrition, 17(2), e13096.

Water Absorbing Plants for Your Yard

water absorbing plants for yard

The best water-absorbing plants for the yard are useful if your area floods easily or if you happen to have a spot that just doesn’t dry out too well. These trees, shrubs, and plants love moisture-rich soil and will be of tremendous help for those places in the landscape prone to poor drainage.

These water-absorbing plants are also excellent if you plan to construct a rain garden.

Thirsty Plants That Help Absorb Plenty of Water

Thirsty plants that help absorb plenty of water

Rainfall that pours over the ground surface is known as stormwater runoff. Trees and forests minimize rainwater runoff by absorbing and collecting rain in their canopy and slowly bringing it into the sky via evapotranspiration. Furthermore, root systems and leaf litter generate soil conditions that allow precipitation to infiltrate into the soil.

If you have a section of your landscape that seems to collect stormwater runoff consistently, the area will benefit from having water-absorbing plants installed. You can often find such spots at the base of a sloping area or in a depressed zone, and it would be helpful to place plants in those areas to tidy up the site while also soaking up the extra water.

Each home, company, and public place adds some pollutants to runoff. As landowners, we can help by keeping contaminants out of stormwater runoff and minimizing the quantity of water that runs off our land.

Plants are nature’s water filters and have been cleaning the earth’s water since the beginning of the planet. We need to take advantage of the incredible power of plants to filter our water by adding more and more lush green plants to our landscapes whenever possible. That wet spot in the backyard is the perfect spot for a few water-absorbing plants.

Shrubs That Like Being Hydrated

Take advantage of these water-loving shrubs to build a visually stunning landscape that does not suffer from water runoff problems.

American cranberrybush (zones 2-7)

Superior National Forest, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Viburnum trilobum is a tall, leggy, weakly branching native bush that competes with other shrubberies in forested, typically wet environments. 

American cranberrybush can take on a fully branched, thick shape. It’s got stunning orange-red fall foliage and vibrant red fruits. 

Buttonbush (zones 6-9)


Buttonbush is an excellent plant you can rely on to beautify wet areas. Aside from its pretty, scented, white flowers, you’ll also like its attractiveness to birds and butterflies.

As buttonbush never survives drought, it will require more watering in brightly sunlit places that could run dry. This makes it a perfect water-absorbing plant for the yard.

Blue elderberry (zones 3-10)

Blue Elderberry

Elderberries have been eaten for sustenance in Europe and the United States for centuries, and they were also well-used for their health benefits in ancient Greece and Rome.

Blue elderberry is among the most resilient plants, for it survives in many types of environments: full sun, partial shade, and full shade. The best fact about it is that it will be fine with stagnant water during the winter dormancy.

Black chokeberry (zones 3-8)

Black Chokeberry

The Chokeberry grows well in wetlands and partially dry soil. However, its ideal growing condition is in damp, well-drained settings. Since Chokeberry gets additional rain through runoff, it is an excellent rain garden plant. 

The Black Chokeberry benefits the ecosystem by supplying berries for wildlife to consume and refuge and nesting spaces for tiny creatures. Meanwhile, its blooms are excellent food sources for pollinators.

Pussy Willow (zones 4-8)

Pussy Willow

Throughout its distribution, pussy willow grows near rivers, coastal areas, swamp edges, and the low-lying regions of water-logged brambles, fields, sloughs, and woodland open spaces. Thus, it will certainly absorb any excess moisture that comes its way.

Pussy willow is a native plant that prefers moist soil and will develop deep taproots that consume a lot of water. As a result, it’s a great plant to put in a rain garden or anywhere else that gets wet after copious amounts of rainfall. It doesn’t need acidic soil.

Trees That Thrive With Lots Of Water

Weeping Willow (zones 4-9)

Weeping Willow

The weeping willow tree has long been a staple of the moist banks of rivers and ponds, and this is a fast-growing tree that thrives in moist soils.

Bald cypress (zones 5-9)

Bald Cypress

Taxodium distichum likes being in wet places. This tree will be stunning as a specimen tree for areas with moisture-rich soil. However, that’s not to say it’s not adaptable; it can also survive in drier conditions.

Black gum (zones 4-9)

Black Gum

Nyssa sylvatica’s affinity to moisture makes it a very attractive choice for lowland gardens. This plant with beautiful red/orange fall foliage is extremely important to wetland fauna. Its white blossoms are an important source of honey for pollinators, and its fleshy fruits supply nourishment to wildlife.

Red maple (zones 3-9)

Red Maple

Acer rubrum is most recognized for its spectacular autumn show of colorful foliage. Red maple trees may be productive rainwater absorbers in several habitats because they tolerate a wide range of soil types. Yet, it prefers wet, mildly acidic, rich soil. A single red maple tree may consume up to 10 gallons of water per week.

River birch (zones 4-9)

SEWilco, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Betula nigra thrives in wet regions like swamps, ponds, and river valleys. It’s also known as water birch since its roots can withstand being planted in a water source or a moderately aquatic environment. If you have a yard with less-than-ideal drainage, the river birch tree will thrive in the constant wetness.

Water-Absorbing Plants 

Primrose (zones 3-8)


At the beginning of spring, you’ll see Primula vulgaris, a plant that forms a cluster of tongue-shaped foliage, blooming numerous perfumed, typically yellow flowers.

Waterways, shrubbery, and open, humid, deciduous woods are the most common places to find primrose.

Daylilies (zones 4-9)


These flowers are attractive, low-maintenance, and incredibly resilient. They do well in the absence of human intervention. Because they soak up lots of water, you must give them plenty of moisture. Or place them in damp sites in the landscape.

Swamp hibiscus (zones 7-10)

Swamp Hibiscus

Hibiscus coccineus is a woody deciduous perennial thriving in a sunny location with healthy, damp, or wet soil. It’s an attractive choice for rainy places and rain gardens, but it’ll also flourish in scenic plantings with moist soil.

Japanese iris (zones 4-9)

Japanese Iris

Iris laevigata is already a low-maintenance perennial, but its preferred environment is wet.

It’s nice to position the Japanese iris close to the edge of a standing water source. The roots may grow in moist, acidic, rich soil, although they don’t like their roots to be submerged in water in the winter.

Globeflower (zones 3-7)


Trollius sp. is endemic to the northern hemisphere. This plant thrives in humid (or wet) environments with colder temperatures and dappled shade. They can withstand quite a bit of dirt, even clay). 

Globeflower gets its name from its distinctively spherical buds, which can add a splash of warm color to your landscape with dazzling yellow and orange shades.

Leopard Plant (zones 7-10)

Leopard plant

Farfugium grows well in moderate sunlight exposure to complete shade and loves damp, rich soil. It isn’t picky about pH. In our hot environment, the excessive sun can cause it to wilt, so it’s better to stay safe by giving it some shade. 

Farfugium is adaptable to different soil types, but it needs constant hydration and can die if left to dry out.

Ferns (zones 2-10)


Several types of ferns can withstand high levels of wetness in the soil, and you can place them near ponds or in moist environments. Like the Christmas fern, certain ferns require shaded and dry conditions to grow. 

Cattails (zones 3-10)


Aside from being fun to bite, Cattails are helpful yard plants if you need to deal with excess moisture. They are tall and have long leaves and “hotdog-on-a-stick” flowers, and you’ll usually see them in marshy areas.

Since cattails aggressively enjoy the water, they grow near ponds, marshes, and other wet environments. They are so good at what they do that it might be difficult to keep them under control.

Bee balm (zones 4-9)

Bee Balm

Monarda likes well-draining, damp soil. This stunning flowering plant is excellent for attracting bees (hence the name), butterflies, and birds. 

During the growth season, bee balms like a steady intake of water.

French rose (zones 3-8)

French Rose

Gallica roses are thorny bushes with pale, grey-green leaves and little groups of scented single to double blooms. It thrives in direct sunlight with nutrient-rich soil that is damp yet well-drained. It’s a good choice for hedging.

Perhaps Rosa gallica is the most exquisite, water-loving flowering plant. Its bright pink flowers scream romantic appeal.

What Is a Rain Garden?

Rain falling on a garden

Rain gardens are small, man-made depressions filled with plants (usually the plants mentioned earlier in the previous sections). They are placed in strategic locations to collect rainwater runoff from hard surfaces (like a driveway, roof, parking lot, sidewalk, or roadway). 

Right after a storm, rain gardens collect a few inches of water. Instead of rushing off to the road or drainage structures, this water seeps into the surrounding soil.

The Advantages of Having a Rain Garden for Dealing with Water Runoff

If water runoff is a problem, you will benefit from a rain garden. Many beautiful plants will improve your yard’s aesthetic appeal and add functionality by helping with water absorption.

Aside from that, a rain garden also:

  • eliminates any standing water from your lawn,
  • cuts down the number of mosquitos that breed,
  • minimizes the risk of flooding on your property,
  • establishes an environment for birds and butterflies to live in, and
  • filters out pollutants from runoff.


Front Yard Potted Plants, a Lovely, Low-Maintenance Look

front yard potted plants

Front yard potted plants can look stunning and inviting, creating a lovely atmosphere for the landscape. Even the most common flowers and foliage can look sophisticated when you thoughtfully arrange them in their suitable pots.

Potted plants are simple features that can do so much for the beauty of the front yard. You can place the pots, containers, or even recycled old objects in certain spots to add glamor or hide something.


What can I do to make my front yard appear beautiful with potted plants?

Beautiful with potted plants

Potted plants bring color, depth, and intrigue to your front yard. Choose your plants like you would interior decor or artistic displays when designing the front yard. Colors and forms should blend and contrast with their backdrop to create interest.

Using potted plants to embellish your front yard requires very little effort or skill. In fact, utilizing pots or containers for your plants gives you the ability to make choices and then change your mind a moment later. Potted plants are very easy to arrange and re-arrange as you see fit.

Your landscape can have a different look every day if you take a bit of time to re-arrange your potted plants.

There are many ways to make your front yard look amazing with potted plants.

Potted Plant Landscaping Ideas

Potted plant landscaping ideas

These are our top front yard potted planting ideas to spruce up the space that should make a great first impression.

Lovely Potted Plants by the Window

Lovely Potted Plants by the Window

The window might be the number one spot in the front of the house where you can place potted plants for decoration. In France, they like to put flowers in containers to beautify their windows, which adds a romantic vibe.

Sometimes, people use planter boxes with drainage holes at the bottom, while some like to use hanging baskets for a more modern appeal.

Front Door Plants in Pots

Front door plants in pots

Even if your front door is right on the sidewalk, or if you don’t have much room or want to spice up your front door, using containers to frame your entry point is a terrific option. One method is to place a relatively large planter on each side of the front door.

Another great option is to use various-sized pots only on one side of the door to create a bit of contrast and imbalance.

Size matters as well. The size of the plants and containers should relate to the size and scale of your home and the front entrance. A big house with a grand entrance might need potted small trees or large shrubs, while a small cottage might need some delicate annual flowers.

Keep in mind that your potted plants need proper watering, especially when the weather is hot. No matter what type of pots or plants you use, the fact that they are raised up out of the ground will always cause them to dry out more quickly than a plant in the ground.

Potted Plants of Assorted Heights 

potted plants of assorted heights

You certainly can take advantage of the variety in plant and container sizes. Consequently, you’ll have a proportional-looking, harmonious display that’s easy to modify when you feel like it. Taller plants can add vertical interest, while shorter ones allow the arrangement not to look too crowded.

Use a Single Potted Plant as a Focal Point in the Front Yard

Use a single potted plant

Sometimes you need a statement piece in the front yard. You can easily do that by placing your favorite potted plant near the front of the house. It can be a showy, brightly colored flowering plant or a shrub with unique foliage that stands out from the rest.

This also works pretty well if you don’t have an abundance of plants in the front area of your home but you want to start building up your softscape.

Potted Flowers as Garden Furniture Decor

Potted flowers for garden furniture

Plain outdoor furniture in the front yard could use extra help from potted ornamental plants. A couple of well-placed potted plants can add interest to a boring space. These rarely used tables or chairs outside might be the ideal stage for some artistic expression (using plants).

Even a single, well-placed potted flower at the center of the table can elevate the look of your setup. The design may be done in a variety of ways. For the most significant effect, use flowers in a single shade. Alternatively, combine different plant varieties, blending erect varieties with ones that overflow to the sides.

Square Planters (or Other Shapes)

Square planters

It’s rare to see non-circular pots, and however, the aesthetic of square and rectangular containers, especially in a modern-themed home, is pleasing to the eye. If you decide to go that route, choose a single basic color (such as black or white) for all your pots, and it will make your front yard look more stylish and uniform.

Lined Up Terra Cotta Pots

Lined up terra cotta pots

If you’re inspired by the Mediterranean landscaping style, using terra cotta pots for your front yard landscaping will do wonders for you. Terra cotta pots create a classic, sophisticated look no matter what plants you put inside them. Put several of these pots together to create a stunning, Mediterranean vibe and add definition to your front yard.

Small Front Yard Trees in Pots

Small front yard trees in pots

Small trees in the front yard already look lovely by themselves. However, the addition of a few beautiful pots provides complexity, structure, and vibrance to the most important space in the landscape. A couple of potted trees framing the door is a favorite of landscape designers everywhere. Pick a shorter tree (or a tall shrub) with a modest, controlled growth rate when planting a tree near your front door.

Recycled Plant Containers

Recycled plant pots

Here’s an easy landscaping idea for the front yard: incorporate vintage pieces as plant containers for a picturesque and personal touch. You may repurpose old items by painting, fixing, and personalizing them. 

Recycling reduces oil consumption, CO2 emission, and the amount of garbage that must be disposed of. You’re doing your part to minimize waste by not buying more pots for your plants by recycling.

Use Pots for Borders

Pots for borders

You may designate a border for your pathway with a few terracotta plant pots, a neat yard design choice that you can change as you please. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple line of potted herbs or a vibrant display of flowers. You’re good to go as long as you don’t choose plant pots that are so big that they occupy most of the space or so tiny that they fail to make an impact.

To Conceal Unpleasant Sights, Use Containers

Conceal unpleasant sights use containers

Another use of plant pots in landscaping is for hiding outdoor eyesores. For instance, you’re looking to hide the air conditioning unit or the utility boxes. Choose fascinating plants to decorate critical sections of your yard. You can place trailing plants like petunias coupled with plants with lush foliage, such as Hostas. It’s a smart way to turn something unsightly into something chic.

Potted Succulents

Potted Succulents

Use pots with a basic form and a simple, single-colored surface that complements the succulent plants’ interesting, symmetrical shapes. If you like a well-coordinated landscape design, ensure that the appearance of the pots conforms with the front yard’s style. The best thing about potted succulents is their extremely low maintenance.


Planting in containers is easy to do and can easily ramp up your landscape’s creative look and feel. Treat yourself to any easy landscape upgrade by buying a few new pots and a few flats of your favorite annual flowers. These and a bag of potting soil, and you will be well on your way to a new landscape look. Don’t forget the garden hose because those plants will need to be watered regularly.


Enviroscaping an Environmentally Friendly Landscape


Enviroscaping is the art and science of establishing and maintaining an environment-friendly, more sustainable landscape, conserving and recycling the available natural resources. It is designed and established keeping in view the specific environmental issues associated with an area of land. Enviroscaping is a low-impact landscape that conserves energy and supports natural resources.  

Aspects of Enviroscaping

In short, enviroscaping aims at conserving energy/resources. it has the following environmental aspects:

Energy conservation

Increasing heat directly impacts the overall global temperature. There is a need to conserve energy as much as possible to make the earth survivable for the coming generations. Planting shade trees, groundcovers, and windbreaks to make the surrounding environment a little bit cooler is an old and valuable practice. Trees and ground covers are the commodities that require the least maintenance. Once established, they will keep growing without demanding much attention. They provide shade, shelter, oxygen, and absorb carbon dioxide, air pollutants, unpleasant sounds, wind-shelter, and much more. Native plants are usually preferred in enviroscaping; however, some non-native plants grow better in local climates as compared with the native ones (Buffington & Black, 1985).

Soil conservation

Soil conservation means keeping it healthy. Healthy soil can produce healthy plants that directly impact people’s lives and health. Soil filters the water and passes it into the natural waterways preventing soil erosion by conserving a seamless vegetative soil cover and providing life to the terrestrial animals. 

Air quality

Polluted air is the cause of numerous diseases and disorders in both humans and animals. Air quality also affects climate; for example, it can alter the precipitation level, which is directly related to rain patterns. Plants, either trees, shrubs, grass, container plants, or even indoor plants, can bring slow but impactful changes in the air quality. Plants constantly absorb carbon dioxide (which is one of the major gases among greenhouse gases), release oxygen, transpire one-third of the water they absorb, phytoremediation of the pollutants in the air and soil, and provide shelter to the wildlife, conserve biodiversity, and a lot more. 

  • In enviroscaping, evergreen plants, either trees or shrubs, are preferred. 
  • Native plants which require less water and maintenance and have less susceptibility to insect pests attack are given preference.
  • The aim of planting trees in enviroscaping should be to bring positive changes in the air, soil, water quality, and health. 

Solid waste management

Recycling is the best solution for managing solid waste. There should be a proper system to recycle the household waste at the house or town level so that it can be convenient to manage and redeliver. An enthusiast of enviroscaping would not let a single material go wasted that is of any use whatsoever. You can make compost, vermicompost, containers, and decorative materials for the plants from the solid waste. 

Noise abatement

Noise pollution disturbs wildlife, mating schedule, sense of hearing, etc.; plants absorb the sound waves and deflect them. In enviroscaping, plants are established in eye-catchy patterns to not only give an attractive view but also absorb unwanted sounds (Botteldooren, 2008).


Improving wildlife habitat

With the decrease in the trees and shelter places for the animals and birds and with the increase in the water, air, and noise pollution, wildlife is under serious threat. There is a need to conserve the wildlife in their natural and also outside their natural habitats to conserve the food chain. This is possible by establishing botanical gardens, gene pools, DNA banks, zoos, wildlife parks, etc.

Creating open-air living spaces

Decorating the outdoor spaces with plants and plant materials beautifies the environment and cleans the outdoor air. 

Making home and work green places/value-addition

Creating patios, decks, and outside seating enhances the value of your property. Enviroscaping aims at establishing low-impact landscapes and gardens that conserve energy and natural resources. Backyard landscaping is one of the best parts of enviroscaping.

Filtering and reusing the drinking water

“If there is magic in nature, it is in the water.”

Water is the main driving force behind every life and mechanism. According to the WWF report, more than 1.1 billion people do not have access to fresh water, and 2.7 billion people face water scarcity for at least one month/year. It has been predicted that by 2025, 2/3rd of the world population may face water shortage problems. 

Therefore, there should be a proper mechanism to harvest the rain and irrigation water. Catchment areas should be converted into vegetable gardens to not let even a drop of water go to waste. 

Cleaning and filtering the outdoor and indoor air

There are many air cleaning machines, but none as efficient as plants. Plants have built-in mechanisms to take in the gases that are harmful to humans and the climate. The most dangerous gases present in indoor and outdoor air are carbon monoxide, methane, benzene, toluene, and many air pollutants like oxides of nitrogen and Sulphur. Not a single plant can absorb all pollutants; however, every single plant absorbs pollutants. If we can efficiently plant enough trees, keeping in mind their specifications, it is possible to control air pollution. We just have to take the initiative, and the plants will play the next role!

Conservation of natural resources

“If we fail in conserving our natural resources, we can never succeed in any field of life” Natural resources include water, soil, fossil fuels, minerals, and animals. Everything from food to fuel that human beings consume has a direct or indirect link with natural resources. The question is, how can we conserve these natural resources through enviroscaping?

  • Recycle, reuse the water, plant trees that absorb minimum water from the soil, efficiently utilize the rainwater, build ponds and small dams to store excess water, etc.
  • Plant trees and cover crops to prevent soil erosion, build soil’s organic matter, and restore soil biota.
  • Fossil fuels come at the top of the list of causes of global warming and climate change. There is a need to switch to less destructive and more environment-friendly sources of energy, for example, solar cars, electric vehicles, etc. 

Books and Publications on Enviroscaping

  • Meerow, A. W., & Black, R. J. (1993). Enviroscaping to Conserve Energy: Guide to Microclimate Modification. University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS.
  • Sharath, M. K., & Peter, K. V. (2019). Enviroscaping: An environment friendly landscaping. In Sustainable Green Technologies for Environmental Management (pp. 1-27). Springer, Singapore.
  • Baruah, N., Sarkar, S., Roy, B. C., & Sinha, R. C. (2019). Quantitative analysis of sound absorption properties of plants in indoor environment for enabling sustainable practices. International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management, 22(4-5), 223-235.
  • Buffington, d., & black, r. (1985). Plant materials for residential energy conservation–life cycle costing. In passive and low energy ecotechniques (pp. 795-805): Elsevier.
  • Botteldooren, D., De Coensel, B., Van Renterghem, T., Dekoninck, L., & Gillis, D. (2008). The urban soundscape–a different perspective. Sustainable mobility in Flanders: The livable city, 177-204.

Year-Round Plants for Front Yard for a Beautiful, Refreshing Space

beautiful front yard plants all year

To get the most out of your front yard, you will want to ensure that you install the best possible plants that will provide year-round interest. By choosing the right trees, shrubs, ground covers, and perennials, you can make your front yard look spectacular all year. Whenever you walk out the front door and whenever your neighbors drive by, you want your front yard to look its best, so why not choose these year-round plants.

Science shows that time spent with plants really does help with our mental and physical wellbeing.

This article’s ornamental, richly colored selection of plants makes it easy to design a stunning and well-kept front yard that will shine throughout the year. 

Considerations for Your Front Yard

Depending on how you landscape it, your front yard can improve or detract from your home’s overall appeal, so it’s essential to consider a few things before redesigning or adding plants.

The Activities to Do in the Front Yard

The activities to do in the front yard

Your front yard is an important showplace for your home, but it doesn’t need to be just a showplace. It can also be a gathering place for friends or a calm and relaxing place to sit outside and meet the neighbors.

You can make the front yard a wonderful, pleasing, and calming gathering place by planting beautiful and fragrant plants. Instead of spending your time indoors, spend it out in the front yard and get in touch with nature.

Your front yard gardens can become your personal hobby or art project. By using your creative mind and a bunch of long-lasting, year-round plants, you can add a personal touch to your yard that will help it stand out from the other yards in the neighborhood.

Paying landscapers to beautify your front yard is great, but it can never have the personal touch that you can get when you inject your own personality and creativity into your front yard gardens.

Maybe you’d love to have big, overbearing trees or dense, towering hedges in the front yard for shade and privacy, or perhaps you’d prefer a more formal ornamental garden that can be viewed from the street. Make your front yard fit your lifestyle and do it with year-round, beautiful plants.

Amount of Time Spent in the Front Yard

Amount of time spent in the front yard

Indeed, the front yard has always been considered an important showcase and factor in the value of your home, but lately, there has been more of a “front yard as a gathering place” attitude.

The more that you can use year-round plants, the better your yard will look and the more you will be inclined to use it. If you put the thought and effort into the front yard, it will pay off with greater home values and more front yard enjoyment.

In short, you’ll love spending time in the front yard because the year-round plants will make you smile every time you walk outside.

If you’re a landscape hobbyist, you may end up spending lots of days and most weekends outside, beautifying and polishing the yard’s look.

When designing and planning your front yard landscape, be sure to consider how it will be used, how much privacy it will provide, and what it will look like from the street. While the backyard is for gathering and fun as well, only the front yard is on display year-round for all the world to see. 

However, you plan your front yard, keep in mind the amount of maintenance it will require, and be sure that you have the resources and are willing to do the needed maintenance. Too many yards have been over-planned and over-planted, only to leave the homeowners with far too much landscape maintenance to deal with. 

How Much Foot Traffic There Is in the Front Yard

Generally speaking, your front yard will likely have more foot traffic than your backyard. At least when it comes to people who aren’t living in the home. Your front yard is the walking place for your home’s guests. Most people use their front yards as a public space, while their backyards are typically reserved for private use.

It’s necessary to establish boundaries on where to go and shouldn’t go in the front yard if your visitors, children, and furry friends will freely spend time there. Structure in the front yard can be had with the help of certain border plants, while lawn alternatives (ground cover plants) can help you add a characteristic look. The little details, such as the plants you decide to insert between your pavers, can impart a sophisticated look.

Increase Your Front Yard’s Appeal by Reflecting on These Design Questions

By taking some time to consider things like proportions and focal points, you can give your yard a well-thought-out makeover that will be sure to impress. So if you’re feeling excited, read on.

What are your front yard goals?

What are your front yard goals

Think of the kind of plants and flowers you currently have and want to have. Spending time looking at image boards may help you get inspired. 

Moreover, what is one standout feature you treasure in the front yard? Which plants and materials reflect your style, and what impression do you want to give off? One of the best ways to increase the year-round appeal of your front yard is by using plants to highlight areas of the yard you want to emphasize. You can also achieve the same effect for spots you don’t want people to see, such as when you cover up gaps in stone paths using ground cover plants.

What is the theme of your entire landscape?

What is the theme of your entire landscape

In addition to wanting your home to look great, you also wish your front yard to make an excellent first impression on guests. To achieve that, you need to decide if the front yard needs a more coherent look. Understanding how the plants you choose will pull the look of your yard together will help you immensely when choosing the type of plants to add to the front yard.

What style do you want your front yard to emulate? A simple, sustainable style of yard, for example, might inspire a meadow garden design. You might consider native plants such as hydrangeas and dogwood. 

A contemporary landscape with basic architectural elements may benefit from uniform-looking, sleek, polished lines. Hedges such as boxwood might be well suited since they can be trimmed into various shapes. 

Is the soil healthy enough for your plants to thrive?

Is the soil healthy enough

An attractive home can be enhanced with plants. However, you have to give them the best growing conditions possible. 

It’s a well-known fact that builders strip away the fertile topsoil to get down to hardpan to have a solid footing under your home; the question is, how much topsoil did they bring back in to top the yard. In many cases, homes are left with barely enough topsoil to grow a lawn, much less to support a thriving perennial garden.

You may need to do significant soil amendments before planting, depending on the type of plants that you are using. 

If you are starting with a blank slate, it may be easiest to truck in some black topsoil before you begin your planting, but if you are re-working an existing yard, you may want to begin applying compost to the area that you will be planting into far in advance of planting.

Multiple soil issues may contribute to plant problems and poor development. Three major soil issues are soil compaction (packed dirt drains moisture slowly), topsoil disintegration, and erosion.

You need to inspect your soils and be prepared to dig out or amend portions of low-quality soil and replace them with better-quality earth; this is especially critical for woody plants in the front yard. You could also use plant containers—pots, vases, or recycled items. Or you could make elevated flower beds. Whatever you decide to do, ensure you use high-quality, nutrient-rich soil.

What elements do the front yard get exposed to?

What elements do the front yard get exposed to

A lot depends on the amount of rainfall, snow, sunlight, shelter from the sun, and airflow the front yard gets.

To illustrate this point, a gorgeous accent tree that is not well suited for its environment may lose its beauty after it is weighed down by snowfall, snapping all of its delicate branches. Another example would be the tender plant that is planted on a windy and exposed site where it just can’t survive.

Choose your plants wisely, and always choose native plants that will thrive in your specific environment. Choosing the wrong plants can turn your beautiful yard plans into a nightmare experience for you, your plants, and your pocketbook. 

Select appropriate plants for your geographical region, weather, and temperature to increase your front yard’s attractiveness. Also, consider the sun exposure in the front yard.

Year-Round Plants for an Aesthetically Pleasing Front Yard

Front yard plants for all year

First, consider the plants that make the most significant impact on your front yard: trees and shrubs. 

Ornamental Trees and Shrubs for Exceptional Beauty All Year

Roses (Rosa)


Roses might be the best flowering shrub in the front yard that will amaze onlookers all year. The rose is such a symbolic flower, seemingly capturing the deep emotion of love. 

Rose blooms will undoubtedly shine in your front yard with their breathtaking color and luxurious appeal. The flowers would look great planted directly on the surface, in containers, or framing an entrance. Roses thrive in sunny spots that are protected from powerful winds. Plant them apart from trees. They thrive on rich, well-drained loam soils.

Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)


Boxwood is another year-round staple plant for your front yard. You will like boxwoods if you’re a fan of formal hedges and crisp lines in the landscape. You can manipulate it into almost any shape you want. Its fine texture and compact form let it work flawlessly as a border plant.

Boxwood is a desirable plant for those looking to add curb appeal without sacrificing low maintenance.

Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)


Southern magnolia, a specimen tree, retains most of its massive foliage throughout the year. They are known for their attractiveness and pleasant perfume. Its cream-colored spring blossoms are lovely and would be an admirable sight in your front yard. 

Southern magnolias tolerate shade to a degree. It can tolerate a lot of shade in its early years, but it requires more sunlight as it grows more mature.

Rhododendron (Rhododendron)


Rhododendrons have long become prized by landscapers for their magnificent, fleeting blossoms. The flowers are ornamental, colorful, and grow in clusters, adding life to your front yard throughout the year. Rhododendron, which means “red tree,” alludes to certain species’ red blossoms and woody structure, although rhododendrons come in various forms—some are evergreen, some are deciduous; some are short plants, while some grow to be big trees.

Arborvitae (Thuja)


Arborvitae is one of the most popular year-round front yard trees due to its practicality. It’s got a distinctive look—its dense form allows it to serve as an excellent privacy hedge in the front yard. Not just that; its vibrantly colored, yellow-green foliage to dark green foliage also sets it apart from other plants in the landscape.

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Flowering Dogwood

Cornus florida will look stunning all year round because of its showy, attractive blooms and gorgeous autumn colors. Brightly lit areas are suitable for flowering dogwood, just not excessive sunshine. It doesn’t do well in extreme heat, yet it can withstand the chilly temperatures in the winter. This specimen tree will be an excellent addition to the front yard due to its unusual, pretty look.



There is a connection between the genus name, Loropetalum, and the Greek words used to describe the narrow, lengthy petals of the flowers. Loropetalum grows well in South Carolina, even though it is native to Japan, China, and the Himalayas. Loropetalum’s blooms resemble fringes and can be white or pink. These beautiful flowering shrubs can instantly add year-round interest to your front yard, especially when planted close together to form an ornamental hedge.

Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)


Bigleaf hydrangea is a decorative front yard plant known as Japanese, French, or snowball hydrangea. It is a delightful flowering shrub that will give your front yard a pop of color. You can rely on the hydrangea to have a long bloom time, enveloping the rich, large foliage in big globes of flowers that come in blue or pink in summer or fall. USDA zones 3 to 9 are suitable for bigleaf hydrangeas.

Stunning Groundcover Plants

Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)

Creeping Juniper

Especially for the bare spots in the front yard, creeping juniper is a perfect ground cover to occupy those spaces. Why? Because of the growth habit that lets it form a dense mat. The best part is this remarkable shrubby front yard plant can thrive in sunny, arid, hot, rocky places. It also has a high tolerance to frost. So you can count on it to not be high-maintenance.

Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera)

Creeping Phlox

Creeping Phlox is one of the prettiest flowering ground cover plants for the front yard. It will blanket the ground with its abundance of beautiful, bright, starry blooms scattered over fine, big mats of needle-like foliage that add curb appeal all year. 

Creeping Phlox is an easy plant to grow; it does fine in plenty of sunlight exposure or partial shade. This highly decorative plant is not very picky in soil quality either, making it perfect for rocky areas in the front yard.

Creeping Thyme (Thymus praecox)

Agnieszka Kwiecień, Nova, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking for an equally exquisite decorative plant for the front yard, creeping thyme is another excellent selection that would beautify your space all year. Its small, tubular, brightly colored pink/purple flowers would instantly make your front yard fun to look at.

Creeping thyme has quite a spicy smell; you will consider it a good front yard plant if you enjoy its sensory quality. Many people also like it as a grass alternative or to populate the gaps between stepping stones with beautiful plants. Despite being a part of the thyme family, it is hardly ever used in cooking. Abundant sunlight and well-drained soils are ideal for creeping thyme.

Prostrate Speedwell (Veronica prostrata)

Prostrate Speedwell

Veronica prostrata is a front yard plant that looks delightful all year. Its profusion of vibrant blue flowers and its beautiful mat of serrated, deep green foliage never fails to invigorate a flat landscape.

Prostrate Speedwell is well-liked by those who prefer a cottage-style garden. You can also use it as an ornamental border plant or fill in the gaps between stones. It likes being exposed to full sun.

Gorgeous Long-flowering Perennials

Daylily (Hemerocallis)


Daylilies can undoubtedly brighten up the front yard all year long with colors like orange, red, yellow, pink, purple, and white. Its large, brilliant flowers look great no matter how you incorporate them into your landscape. 

Daylilies do well in containers, as border plants or mailbox plants. You’ll love daylilies for your cottage garden or shade garden too!

Peonies (Paeonia)


Peonies produce large, scented, ruffled blooms in many shades (usually pink) and varieties. This perennial’s stunning looks and pleasing fragrance will entice you to spend more time out of the house and take in the scenery of your front yard.

Place peonies on well-drained, rich, damp soil completely or partially exposed to sunlight to ensure they stay healthy, and you’ll never get bored of them adorning your landscape.

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black-eyed Susan

Do you want your front yard to have a cheerful vibe? Black-Eyed Susan flowers do that best thanks to their intensely bright yellow ray blooms on stiff, erect stems one to three feet tall. Plus, these plants are tough since they’re winter-hardy in zones 3-10. Aside from using them to make your property look wonderful, you can also pick and collect them in bouquets to give as gifts.

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum)

Shasta Daisy

Flower beds and front yard borders look great with the fresh, elegant white Shasta Daisies. Like the Black-Eyed Susan, these daisies look amazing even in bouquets and vases due to their long and strong stems. 

You can never go wrong with growing Shasta Daisies if you’re new to gardening because they’re pretty low maintenance. Although they very much prefer full sun and rich, moist soil with good drainage.



Fothergilla shrubs look dazzling in your front yard in all four seasons. Fothergilla’s 1.5-3-inch high, white bottle-brush blossoms with their sweet aroma emerge in early April. Flowers remain for a few weeks before being overtaken by lovely blue-green leaves. 

The Fothergilla plant offers a lot of interesting decorative traits. You can plant as many of these shrubs as you can. You never have to worry about colors clashing because its simple white shade can complement all the other flowers in your front yard!



Abelias are extremely simple to grow, and it’s mind-boggling how easy it is to have year-round interest in the front yard by adding this plant to the landscape.

Abelia has intriguing, bold, red-tinged foliage and alluring, fragrant blooms that will always catch the attention of someone who walks by. Additionally, this accent plant is tough—it will survive even in drier conditions, poor soils, and cramped spaces.

This is why Abelia is one of the most popular plants for the front yard that will stay gorgeous the entire year. 

English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)


Having a mass planting of English lavender anywhere in the front yard can make that space look more dreamy. Even if you place just two rows of it to frame a pathway to your front door, it will make a difference.

This finely textured plant emits a perfumey, relaxing scent that would certainly have you wanting to stay near it when you take a break from work. Keep in mind that full sunlight exposure, and dry, infertile soil, are essential for growing healthy lavender all year round.


Flowering Desert Plants for Landscaping

flowering desert plants for landscaping

Flowering desert plants, such as these select groups of shrubs, trees, succulents, and cacti, are highly drought resistant. Another term for plants that survive in dry areas is xeric plants.

A hardy desert landscape doesn’t need to look dull, nor just contain cacti and succulents! If you’re fond of bright, showy flowers embellishing your dry landscape (and attracting birds, bees, and butterflies), you came to the right place.

Deserts aren’t all about sand, rocks, snakes and spiders, there are actually some very pretty plants that thrive in desert regions.

Here are the most colorful, interesting, and low-maintenance flowering plants that are perfect for your desert garden.

Flowering Desert Plants

An astounding variety of low-water-use landscaping plants like living in arid areas. With a bit of creativity, you can design a planting plan for your dry desert property to fit any scenery!

Desert plants exist in such a rainbow of colors, textures, and shapes that they can turn barren areas into spectacular attractions. Some of these will get you thinking, “What? I didn’t know flowers could look like that!


Desert Flowering Shrubs

A shrub is clearly defined as a woody plant with multiple stems. I bet you’re surprised that we didn’t immediately delve into succulents or cacti.

Sand or rocky soil, scorching temperatures, and almost no precipitation are the defining characteristics of the desert environment. There are shrubs that can live in these extreme conditions! It’s not just for cacti.

Here are some tough flowering shrubs that can add a pop of color to your desert landscape.

Chuparosa (Justicia californica)


Chuparosa (“hummingbird” in Spanish), also known as Beloperone or Hummingbird Bush, is a native, brightly flowering desert shrub. It is a member of the Acanthus family (Acanthaceae), which composes mostly tropical plants.

Justicia californica can grow up to six feet tall and eight feet wide. You can readily notice its profusion of tubular, red (or orange) blooms against its small, pale green leaves and dense branches. It will certainly stand out in the landscape due to its unique growth habit.

You can naturally find this plant growing in Mexico, Arizona, and California’s sandy areas. If you are lucky enough to get a Chuparosa in your landscape, you can expect birds such as sparrows, hummingbirds, and linnets to be attracted to its nectar-filled flowers.

Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis)


Bougainvillea spectabilis is a well-known flowering desert plant for landscaping. You can usually see it in Mediterranean settings. It’s a woody, ornamental shrub that can grow quite big (15-40’ tall and wide), and its defining characteristic is the striking (usually) magenta color of the inflorescence.

This large plant will certainly stand out in the landscape and give off a tropical vibe. Its remarkably vibrant, paper-thin bracts enclosing the tiny, white flowers will unmistakably add a lot more color to your yard.

The bracts come in many colors, including white, red, pink, mauve, magenta, and orange. It has a tiny, nondescript, dry, elongated achene as its fruit.

Bougainvillea spectabilis prefers full sun, dry weather, and rich soil and may be grown in hardiness zones 10-11.

White Plumbago (Plumbago zeylanica)

White Plumbago

Plumbago zeylanica is a non-woody, spreading plant that flowers year-round. This plant can be called White Plumbago, Doctorbush, Ceylon leadwort, or Wild Leadwort.

Wherever you put this plant in your landscape, you can’t go wrong. Its abundance of white blooms makes it a beautiful container plant, accent, hedge, or ground cover. It’s also really good at erosion control.

Although they will survive harsh, dry conditions, they do appreciate a drink from time to time when it gets really dry. These plants like well-draining soil.

Arizona Rosewood (Vauquelinia californica)

Stan Shebs, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Vauquelinia californica is an evergreen, ornamental shrub belonging to the Rosaceae family (Roses). It is a native, non-toxic substitute for oleander. And, even though early summer blossoming is not as magnificent and lasts only a few weeks, it is still worth seeing.

Arizona Rosewood produces tiny white blooms in umbels at the branch tips. This flowering plant is mostly used in arid settings or low-water landscapes. This plant can withstand all weather conditions, except for perhaps some of the warmest days of the year when you may see its leaves turn yellow.

This beautiful shrub is best pruned only to shape. You don’t want to cut off too much, especially if you want it to reach its maximum height (20 feet).

Oleander (Nerium oleander)


The most important thing you need to know about Nerium oleander: it is a poisonous plant. Even the smoke from burning the plant can be deadly.

Oleandrin and neriine are two highly powerful cardiac glycosides (cardenolides) that may be found throughout the plant. Oleander cultivars with red flowers tend to be more poisonous. Even when oleander is dried, it retains its toxicity. A single leaf can be fatal to a youngster who eats it. However, human mortality is minimal. Even touching the leaves and blossoms can irritate the skin and induce allergic responses.

Oleanders bloom from early spring to late summer, bearing enormous clusters of white, yellow, red, or pink flowers at the ends of the stalks. They like full sun to develop and bloom but may accept the moderate shade.

Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans)

Yellow Bells

Yellow Bells (also known as Esperanza, a Spanish word for “hope,” Trumpet Flower, Yellow Elder, Yellow Bignonia, and Yellow Trumpet Flower) is an evergreen plant with an irregular form. It grows 3-6 feet tall in the United States. However, it can reach a height of 10-25 feet and a width of 10-20 feet. It has a lot of stems and tall, thin branches.

In direct sunlight, Yellow Bells will flower abundantly. Against the lance-shaped, olive-green foliage, clusters of big, eye-catching, trumpet-shaped yellow blooms stand out, which explains its name. And in the fall, long, slender pods appear.

It grows best in organically rich, damp, well-drained alluvial and calcareous soils with high pH values. Letting the shrub dry out between waterings is beneficial.

Yellow Bells is indeed a popular landscape plant, prized for its drought resistance as well as its stunning beauty.

Bee Brush (Aloysia gratissima)

Matt Lavin from Bozeman, Montana, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a little trivia about Aloysia gratissima: headaches, bronchitis, and nervous system problems can be treated using the aerial portions of this plant species. And it’s been shown to have antidepressant-like effects.

Bee Brush or Whitebrush is another beautiful flowering plant. It produces torrents of small, intensely vanilla-scented blooms after rainfall during the summer months. And when it does, it attracts bees (hence the name) and butterflies. It blooms even more in full sunlight.

You can trim this plant into a tiny tree or a hedge! For most soil types, this plant makes a good backdrop or barrier plant. And if you want to encourage even more blooming and noticeably thicker growth? Just prune it.

Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)


Ocotillos are among the most unusual-looking flowering desert plants. They look rather amusing with their long, spiny, bent sticks standing out against an arid hillside. They can be the perfect desert accent plant for many yards.

Although ocotillos are classified as woody shrubs, they also contain characteristics of succulent plants, like drought resistance and the capacity to come back to life with some rain. You can see when an ocotillo becomes dormant between showers. Each region of growth along the stem will be divided by a line.

The name Ocotillo (Spanish for “small torch”) comes from the groups of brilliant, fiery red blooms that grow at the plant’s stem terminals. But it has many other nicknames: Jacob’s Staff, Flaming Sword, Candlewood, Desert Coral, Coachwhip, and Vine Cactus.

Hummingbirds and ocotillos are perfect for each other. The ocotillo blooms’ tube-like structure makes it simple for the hummingbird to obtain nectar at the bottom with its long beak. The hummingbird helps pollinate the flower as a result.

The odd look of ocotillos is due to their thick branching at the base and then sparsely beyond that. Usually, the stems don’t have leaves. However, there’s a good chance that after it rains, the plants will be surrounded in bunches of thin oval leaves approximately two inches in length.

Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis)

Cape Honeysuckle

With its magnificent clusters of trumpet-shaped vibrant orange (and red) flowers and fern-like leaves, the absolutely stunning cape honeysuckle is a highlight for your yard. Tecoma capensis belongs to the Bignoniaceae (Trumpet Creeper) family, which is primarily tropical.

Cape Honeysuckle usually blossoms in the fall and spring. The plant may flower all year in warmer areas. The shrub reaches a height and width of 7-10 feet. It may get to a length of 25-30 feet as a vine and can grow up to 50-100 feet! To keep its size under control, you must prune the plant frequently.

Cape Honeysuckle grows well in both wet and dry environments and likes rich, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5.

Baja Fairy Duster (Calliandra californica)

Baja Fairy Duster

This woody, evergreen flowering plant makes an excellent informal hedge. It’s a nice way to add a pop of color to your dry landscape.

Baja Fairy Duster flowers are unique and will surely stand out among your desert garden plants: bunches of red stamens that look like powder puffs bloom in spring and fall! This no-fuss plant is a hit for hummingbirds.

These shrubs can reach up to five feet tall and wide, and you can easily recognize their open and upright form. It works as a wonderful screening shrub, or you can just place it against a wall.


Desert Flowering Trees

Did you know that according to science, being in the presence of trees is beneficial to our psychological and social well-being?

Here are some of nature’s most beautiful desert landscape antidepressants.

Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia lunarioides)

Anacacho Orchid Tree

The Anacacho Orchid Tree, also known as Anacacho Bauhinia, Orchid Tree, and Texas Plume, is a shrub or small tree with tiny, deeply partitioned, light green leaves, and dainty, tightly clustered white (or pale pink) flowers that look like orchids.

This hardy desert landscape tree grows to 6-12 feet tall. It can tolerate drought, requires minimal care, grows quickly, and blooms profusely in the spring. Anacacho orchid trees are always dense with flowers, despite the extreme lack of water supply.

Cascalote (Tara cacalaco)

Cascalote is a little flower-bearing tree that will beautify courtyards and open spaces, especially in the southwest. This Mexican native has beautiful, showy, yellow winter blooms, followed by brightly colored copper seed pods.

Tara cacalaco (also Caesalpinia cacalaco) works wonderfully as a winter accent. Late fall and winter bring forth a festive golden hue.

Hummingbirds are attracted to their flowers. However, they are not as common in Phoenix during winter (the flowering season). Cascalote has strong, projecting stem thorns, making it a plant that should not be placed near public access points.

And did you know that this beautiful flowering plant has antimutagenic and antioxidant activities? Apparently, its pods are a great source of phenolic extracts responsible for that.

Blackbrush Acacia (Vachellia rigidula)

Blackbrush Acacia

The pale grey bark and lush, deep green leaves of the Blackbrush Acacia (Acacia rigidula or Vachellia rigidula) alone already make for an appealing contrast. When you add in its pleasantly smelling, cylindrical, light yellow flowers, you are really in for a visual treat.

This large shrub or small tree thrives on rocky limestone slopes and canyons. Aside from being a perfect addition to your desert garden, it’s also really good at controlling erosion.

It produces yellow rod-like blooms that cover a huge portion of the stiff, thorny branches. Its adaptation to dry conditions helps it to grow on harsh desert soils.

Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)

Desert Willow

Chilopsis linearis is a tiny tree that grows wild in the Southwest USA and Mexico. Despite its popular name, Desert Willow, which refers to its willow-like leaves, it belongs to plants’ Bignoniaceae family (Trumpet Creeper family). Thus, it is not a true willow.

You will enjoy seeing Desert Willow in your desert landscape due to its beautiful pink blooms that hummingbirds cannot get enough of. Flowers come in various hues, the most common of which is white (with a hint of purple). But its blooms can also be pink, purple, and any blend of these colors.


Desert Flowering Succulents

Succulents can hold water inside them; that’s why you usually see either fleshy leaves, stems, or roots.

As a result, succulents flourish in hot and dry climates and may survive in areas where water is limited.

Blue Chalk Sticks (Senecio mandraliscae

Blue Chalk Sticks

Senecio mandraliscae is a member of the Asteraceae family (Daisy, Aster, Sunflower).

Blue Chalk Sticks can be found as a groundcover in intense sunlight in warm areas and produces a wonderfully beautiful silvery-blue coloration—a unique look for a fleshy plant. Blue and orange are opposite to each other in the color wheel, which means that Blue Chalk Sticks will look nice with orange plants.

The fresh winter growth of Blue Chalk Sticks creates a stunning starkness in form and color in the environment. But wait, there’s more; you haven’t heard of its flowers yet.

Blue Chalk Sticks’ flowers are tiny and rayless. They can be dull white or yellow, and you’ll be delighted to see them on the stems. Just when you thought you’d already seen too much of its cuteness! This can work as an interesting border plant.

Overall, you shouldn’t worry about the basic upkeep of this plant because it’s not picky! It can survive even the worst quality soil, although it favors well-draining, rich soil. It’s very adaptable to high temperatures.

You don’t have to do much to keep this plant happy, but remember that extremely cold winters will harm the plant.

Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

Jade Plant

The Jade Plant is a South African native plant known for its unique, oval, succulent, jade-green leaves that emerge from a richly branching trunk.

But what’s up with its scientific name, Crassula ovata?

The term crassula means “thick” in Latin, alluding to the genus’s fat-looking appearance (because it is succulent). Meanwhile, ovata means egg-shaped, indicating the form of this plant’s foliage.

In springtime, you can expect to see tiny, pleasant-smelling, star-shaped, white, or pale pink blooms if the circumstances are favorable. Bees, butterflies, beetles, and flies can’t resist the flowers.

This drought-tolerant succulent would look amazing on your patio or porch! It’s very easy to grow and propagate. It can also be the accent plant you’re missing in your desert landscape.

Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)


Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is native to Madagascar. It is often known as kalanchoe, and it is a succulent plant with thick, scalloped, shiny, deep green leaves and huge, showy bloom umbels held over the greenery.

Kalanchoe’s flowers can be a shade of pink, red, magenta, scarlet, orange, yellow, white, or salmon. See how vibrant it can make your space?

Kalanchoes are succulents that thrive in a well-drained, properly aerated potting mix made up of three parts peat moss for every two parts perlite.

It’s moderately tolerant of heat, needs just the right amount of water, and likes a decent amount of sunlight.


Desert Flowering Cacti

Cacti are seed-producing, flowering plants. They can bloom each year, but in severe rainfall, they will produce a plethora of flowers. These blooms have different looks and smells to attract different pollinators, such as insects and bats.

Here are a few cacti with flowers that won’t just attract insects and bats but also attention from people.

Cacti are technically a succulent, but they are quite different, so we have given them their own section.

Golden Barrel of the Andes (Echinopsis bruchii)

Golden Barrel of the Andes

The genus Echinopsis is endemic to South America, and as cacti, it’s no surprise they like growing in sandy soils, rock cracks, and on hillside slopes. Echinopsis is one of the biggest and most physically varied genera of Cactaceae, having 100–150 species.

Let’s look at the scientific name’s inspiration. The Greek word echinos means hedgehog” or “sea urchin,” which makes sense given the thick spines around these plants. While opsis stands for “appearance.”

Echinopsis bruchii plants are barrel-shaped cacti that feature showy, bright red flowers and yellow or brownish-orange spines. These cacti are an absolutely great choice for Mediterranean gardens’ rockeries and in containers for greenhouses, patios, and picnic areas.

You can successfully cultivate Echinopsis bruchii either fully exposed to sunlight or partial shade.

Hildmann’s Cereus (Cereus hildmannianus)

Hildmann’s Cereus

Hildmann’s Cereus (also known as Hedge Cactus, Column Cactus, Queen of the Night, Spiny Tree Cactus, Andes Organ Pipe, Peruvian Apple, and Peruvian Apple Cactus) is ideal if you like very elongated, skinny, columnar cacti in your landscape. And if you want to see flowers (and fruits!) on a cactus.

It is a cactus that looks like a tree and has many branches. This cactus may grow up to 30 feet tall and 10 feet wide. The stems are cylindrical, segmented, and range in hue from blue-green to pale green.

Its blooms are showy and white (sometimes yellowish-white), and you should start to see them growing on the cactus in October. Its flowers open at night. And when the daylight comes, the flower closes.

Beavertail Prickly Pear (Opuntia basilaris)

Beavertail Pricklypear

When Beavertail Pricklypear isn’t in bloom, it’s not especially beautiful, but when it is, the colors make it desirable in any desert garden. Its bright magenta or deep pink flowers at the ends of the joints will be a captivating sight in the spring and summer.

Its stems are upright, flat, grey-green pads. This plant does not have leaves and big spines; instead, you’ll see small, blue-grey bristles with barbed ends. Opuntia basilaris’ pale-colored stems, low growth, and bright blooms, which frequently almost engulf the plant, make it a favorite showpiece in hot, dry regions.

Beavertail Prickly Pears can live happily in pots, meaning if you aren’t getting them solely for a rock garden or xeriscape, you can totally place them on the patio.

Keep in mind that if you reside in a cold northern region, it’s best to move the plant inside come wintertime.


Landscape Rocks and Stones to Beautify Your Space

Colorful Rocks

Rocks and stones in the landscape offer stunning color, texture, and diversity. Plus, they function as an enduring groundcover that needs little to no upkeep.

Landscape rocks are attractive for a variety of reasons, one of which is their natural appearance. They instantly make a drab view look a bit more interesting and natural. Rocks are nature’s own artistic sculptures which come in so many different shapes and sizes that you can easily find some to fit with your landscape plan

These hard elements may blend in beautifully with the plant life in your space, or offset it with striking contrast, bringing movement and texture to your yard.

How to Choose the Best Landscaping Rocks

You have so many choices! Landscaping rocks and stones come in different sizes, colors, and textures. So, before you make your choices, get to know the most common stones you can use to improve your landscape.

Keep in mind that rocks are so very common throughout the world and have so many variations, that it is not uncommon for the same type of rock to go by several different names depending on where you are. My advice to any homeowner would be to actually visit a few rock yards and see the rock up close. Don’t just assume that you and the rock supplier have the same rock in mind just because you are using the same term.

We will show you a bunch of different rocks in this article with a bunch of different names, but realize that there is no rock police going around making sure people call rocks by their proper names. Wholesalers and retail suppliers might just call a rock anything that they think will sell more rock.

You also need to be aware of forms versus names, versus types of rock. It gets a bit confusing, and is not always clear which is which.

  • Forms – Many rocks are labelled by their form such as slab, flag, gravel, washed, outcropping, boulder, pebble, crushed, fractured, chunk, etc.
  • Names – Many rocks are named for where they came from or what they look like. Names like Wisconsin Fieldstone, Colorado Mountain Boulders, Black Beauty Stone, Black Mountain Stone, River Rock, etc.
  • Types – Stone and rock is technically separated by specific types, but that doesn’t mean that they are selling it by type.
    • Metamorphic Rock – These are made of rock that has been changed by heat and pressure. Schist and Marble are common metamorphic rocks.
    • Sedimentary Rock – These rocks are formed when sediment settles out of water or air. Sandstone and Limestone are common sedimentary rocks.
    • Igneous Rock – These form when molten rock cools. Granite and Basalt are two common igneous rocks used in landscaping.

A Bunch of Examples

Pea Gravel

Pea Gravel

Pea gravel is made up of pea-sized stones that have been polished and eroded over time by the continual flow of water. These stones are can be used for various applications, including pathways, driveways, patios, flower beds, and garden borders. This is a type of washed stone, so they contain no fines. This and their smooth surface means that they will not compact and bind together, so if you are considering using them in a driveway or patio, you need to understand that they will move around.

Pea gravel is available in many earthy tones, and you can find them along streams and other naturally occurring sources of water.

The stones’ smooth texture makes them ideal for walking paths if you don’t mind the soft feel underfoot. Pea gravel will never be fun to walk in while wearing heels, so only use it in casual garden paths.

It also works as an excellent stone mulch because it controls weeds and does not disintegrate like organic mulch. However, on warm days, your plants surrounded by rock mulch can get too hot, causing them to lose water.

The best thing about pea gravel is its cost-effectiveness. This is one of the cheaper decorative stones to purchase.

River Rocks

River Rock

Do you want rocks that can draw attention, contrast with green grass or plants? River rocks will be perfect for the landscape.

River rocks are naturally shaped into what they are (rounded) by flowing water. When you go to rivers, lakes, or oceans, you will see many of these river rocks. They can appear in a variety of sizes and colors, but they will usually have small imperfections on a mostly smooth and even surface.

River rocks are very popular in backyard ponds and waterfalls and are often used as a long-term replacement for wood mulch on garden beds. River rock is also often used in landscaping to help control erosion and to channel excess water flow.

Gardeners also like putting river rock pebbles at the bottom of succulent plants in containers to encourage drainage. Why is it important? Proper drainage is crucial to prevent root rot.

And, as mentioned earlier, your options for river rocks are limitless! Although, expect to pay more to get rarer colors such as burgundy, red, and green.

Lastly, river stones have long been a landscape staple due to their beautiful colors, smooth texture and long lasting durability. Whe installed over a high quality landscape fabric, river rock on your beds can last you a lifetime.

Crushed Limestone

Crushed Limestone used as a base for Brickwork

Limestone is a raw material utilized in several applications worldwide, such as infrastructure, agriculture, and industrial products. For your landscape, though, limestone’s color is sure to impress if you use it as a loose-fill material in pathways, driveways, and patios.

Crushed limestone is still one of the most popular landscaping stones with high reliability, accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and aesthetic appeal.

Crushed limestone is some of the hardest packing material that you can find. The sharp angles of the fractured stone along with the dusty fines will cause this stone to compact very hard over time. Often referred to as traffic bond (TB), this is a very economical stone offered in a wide range of sizes that is often used for the foundations of roads, driveways and walkways.

Also, crushed limestone is high in nutrients and can help plants, flowers, and vegetables grow faster. The calcium carbonate component of agricultural lime (from limestone deposits) may be used to neutralize part of the acid in the soil when you distribute it over the soil.

Stone Dust

Stone Dust

Stone dust is a by-product of the crushing industry. It’s coarser than sand yes not as course as 3/8″ traffic bond.

Property owners commonly use it in outdoor landscaping projects or as an easy to work top coat over a base of crushed limestone when installing brick paver or stone patios and walkways. It is easy to work with , yet will set up much more solid than sand. Once this material is watered down, it will become very hard. to fill in gaps.

Crushed Granite

Crushed Granite

Crushed granite, like other crushed rock, is perfect for large-scale projects. Landscape professionals prefer to put crushed granite around the margins of their paths to create a good transition between the trail and the greenery since it blends in well and compacts nicely.

Crushed granite is more expensive than some stone, but it is a very popular and long lasting alternative to the more pricey river rock. It is often used as a bed cover and also in walkways as it will compact fairly hard over landscape fabric and create a quick to install solid path.

It also has a delicate, organic aesthetic that works nicely in a relaxed setting and is simple to install by yourself! If you don’t want your landscape looking dull, perhaps don’t take these rocks for granite.

Decomposed Granite

Decomposed Granite and Outcropping Stones

Decomposed granite and crushed granite may well be the same stone, with decomposed being just a bit more fine. It is granite that got broken down to the point that it is made up of very minute and fine fragments. They are referred to as “Masado” (Japanese) and are considered unique soil. Some folks refer to this stone as rotted granite also.

You can choose from various colors, which makes it great for making your pathways and trails. But you’ll mostly see decomposed granite appearing tan with a hint of red. Anyway, it will give your landscape a warm, rustic feel.

It’s also reasonably priced, that’s why it’s among the best rocks for landscape beds!

Decomposed granite is a fantastic option to use in planting beds, as it is so fine that turning it into the ground while planting some new perennials wont be a problem like it would with other stone ground covers.

Lava Rock

Lava Rock

Lava rock is volcanic rock formed by the crystallization of actual lava after it has cooled. You can classify a lava rock as an igneous rock.

But what’s so special about lava rock? Well, I’m not really sure, but people sure do like to use them in their landscapes. They are inexpensive, lightweight, and water moves freely through them. They can be an ideal, long-lasting bed cover for homeowners who don’t want to lift some of the heavier alternatives.

Furthermore, they can hold some water in their pores and then send it to the plants over time. They’re also fantastic weed and insect deterrents.

Lava rock has also been used extensively in the water garden industry as a light and porous rock with a lot of surface areas for bacteria to collect and colonize. Mesh bags of lava rock can often be found holding down the filters in a waterfall box.

Crushed Shells (not actually Stone)

Crushed Shells

Let’s get this out of the way: by using crushed shells for your landscape, you’re helping the environment.

According to Dr. James Morris (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences), seashells are always discarded; by doing so, people throw away an astounding volume of biomaterials that may be beneficial. See how big of a deal your choice of landscape rock is?

While not technically rock or stone, this natural material sure does act like it in the landscape. For gardens, flower beds, and other spaces in your landscape, this sustainable material can be utilized as a composting type mulch. The shells will break down over time, providing important minerals and sustenance to your soil and enhancing the health of your plants.

Using crushed shells can help restore poor soil and annoy pests.

Crushed seashells are often used to line walkways, giving them a soft and shiny sort of sparkle.


Flagstone Walkway

Most lovely stone pathways, flooring, and roofing you’ve seen in pictures are built from flagstone. Did you know that flagstone is actually a classic roofing material? For instance, stone shingles are required to cover ancient structures in the Aosta Valley, Italy.

The term flagstone can refer to almost any variety of stone that breaks out of the quarry in flat , thin slabs. They are most often used for some of the most decorative patios and walkways in upscale neighborhoods. Flagstone can be randomly shaped as it naturally broke out of the earth, or it can be pattern cut (meaning cut into a specific pattern of square and rectangular pieces).

This versatile stone can be laid over dirt in a more relaxed, stepping stone path setting , laid over crushed stone in a slightly more formal and very durable application, or wet set using mortar over concrete for a very formal, very durable patio or walkway.

Because the term flagstone is such a general term that refers more to the stones shape than it’s make-up, be sure to ask about what type of flagstone it is. Flagstone can range from very hard slate and bluestones to very soft sandstones, so one flagstone is certainly not every flagstone.

Below are examples of different stones that might all be referred to as flagstone.

Slab Stone

Another beautiful way to use stone in your landscape is to create patios, walkways and bridges using slab stone.

Slabstone is typically larger slabs of stone broken out of a quarry that is thicker than flagstone, yet not as thick as outcropping stone.

In my area, limestone slabs are the most common type, but I would imagine that there are other varieties. For a stone to be used as a slab stone like this, it needs to be strong enough to support its own weight when it is picked up. Layered stone such as this isn’t nearly as common as the smaller flagstone pieces.


Riprap is a long-lasting lining of big, angular stone or boulders that is generally used to protect, reinforce, and shield the soil surface from degradation in locations where there is a significant activity.

Riprap comes in many different shapes according to the stones used, such as limestone, trap rock (basalt and diabase), granite, etc.

It has a more even tint and is less ornamental than the other rocks mentioned, though it has a really natural look that plays nicely in various settings.

It’s usually placed only on shorelines and steep slopes due to its massive size (4 inches to 2 feet in diameter). Riprap will protect these structures from scour. So if you have a property in front of the beach, you’ll want to have these huge landscaping stones to protect it from being washed away.

Outcropping Stone

Outcropping stone is typically stone that is broken out of a quarry in big, thick chunks.

This stone is usually just left with its broken edge (called snapped edge), but is also sold as weathered edge which has one side of the stone that was exposed for a very long time to the elements and has become weathered. Obviously the weathered stone is always more expensive since it is much more rare.

There are many uses for large outcropping stones, such as building walls, steps, decorative outcroppings in the landscape, etc.

Wall Stone

Stone can be specifically purchased to make walls. These stones are usually cut to size and sometimes may then be tumbled to give them a more rustic look.

They are very popular to use in the landscape since they are easy to carry and stack together nicely.

All types of stone can be used as wall stone, even if the stones are not cut to shape and size.

Bull Rock

Bull Rock

Bull rock is a term used to describe a type of smaller stone that is often used in garden beds and fsmaller flowage ways. It is not crushed stone and it is not river rock, but it is somewhere in between. It is often found in the Southwestern United States and is somewhat smooth, but not necessarily rounded.

You can recognize bull rock by the size of the individual pieces (three to five inches) and the distinct, earthy brown tones. These rocks would be appropriate landscape edging material or included in rock gardens. Bull rock reminds me of desert rock.

Landscape Boulders

Landscape Boulders as Accent

First, what counts as a boulder? According to geologists, a boulder would be any rock with a diameter that goes above 10 inches.

Most people are afraid to get really big boulders for fear of being excessive. But you can never go wrong with a few big pieces of rock carefully positioned in your vast landscape! Once the landscape boulders are in place, the whole site will be perfect.

Even one big, irregularly shaped boulder can function as the center of attention. A boulder can be a neat accent in a small yard, where an attractive shrub may get too big or wild.

If you’re looking for nice focal points in your landscaping project, why not try the biggest rocks in existence?

Once again, this is a very general term that more refers to the size and shape of the rock than it does to its make-up. A landscape boulder can be any type of rock, so once again, use caution. Boulders can be as solid and strong as granite or as prone to wear and erosion as sandstone and everywhere in between. It is always wise to ask what type of boulders do you carry?

When people use the term boulder, they are typically referring to a large rock that is fairly rounded and natural looking. These stones can also be referred to as fieldstone since they are often naturally occuring in fields. A squared off block of stone that was blasted out of a quarry might instead be called fractured rock or block.

Here are some examples of the many types of boulders that you might come across.

Brick Chips 

Brick Chips

Brick chips are tiny fragments of brick that have been disintegrated. They have a unique red shade that makes them stand out from other landscaping rocks. These are simply recycled clay bricks, so this is a great way to re-purpose the old clay bricks.

Use brick chips if you want to add a pop of color to your landscaping beds, pathways, patios, and other areas! If you decide to use them, lay down landscaping cloth first to keep the pieces from sinking into the ground and keep weeds at bay.

What’s more, is they can serve as low-maintenance mulch too. You can count on them to keep their texture and color for a very long time.

How to Use Rocks in a Landscape  

Have you already decided on which landscape rocks you like? We’re sure you’re now looking for inspiration! Here are creative ways you can use rocks and stones in your landscape.

Stepping Stones for the Landscape

Stepping Stones

If your landscape needs a little something more going on, maybe it’s time to lay down stepping stones. These well-placed stones will add extra character, dimension, and color to your otherwise bare landscape!

Use them to form casual trails that wind their way around your property, link the main points of attraction, bridge water elements, and visually add a cohesive look to your landscape elements.

Crushed Stone Driveways 

Crushed Stone Driveway

Crushed stone is an excellent choice for people who want to incorporate some style into their driveway without spending a fortune. It is plentiful, readily available, and reasonably priced.

Crushed stone driveways complement any setting and enhance any landscape. This is due to its adaptable look, which appeals to a wide range of tastes. It very often provides an impression of raw charm and never appears inappropriate.

Seating Areas in the Garden

Seating Area in the Garden

A sitting area decorated with beautiful rocks will always look inviting. You can start by lining the surrounding pathway with flagstones.

Of course, you should always consider the plants first. Plants with matching hues to the rocks will provide harmony. 

To distinguish between the garden seating area and the rest of the garden, put together a variety of irregularly shaped stones on the ground. Lighter colors and bigger sizes will be easier to piece together and will look more lively.

Walkways with Stones

Do you want your yard to have a vintage vibe to it that harkens back to the streets of old Italy? Your best option would be to place cobblestone on walkways. These are rectangle-shaped blocks of natural stone with a surface that is mostly cracked.

You may even go for granite that is structured like cobblestone! Either way, you’re getting extremely long-lasting materials.

Dry Riverbed Landscaping

Why do people choose to landscape with dry riverbeds? It’s because they reduce ruts in the grass by preventing drainage problems.

They also contribute to your well-being.

So if you’re looking for a quick way to enhance a dull space in the landscape and help control storm water flow, maybe try it!

Water Features with Rocks

There are a million ways to design your water features with landscaping rocks! If you’re wondering where to start, you can always build a rock waterfall in your garden.

You can also make a bubbling rock water feature—the sparkle of water combined with the natural beauty of the rocks will always look delightful.

Edging Using Boulders

Edging Using Boulders

Boulders placed as edging can liven up your landscape and add more detail to it. Edging with boulders can elevate the appearance of your outdoor environment.

Surround the Edible Garden

Raise Rock Bed for Vegetables

Raised beds that house your essential edible crops can use a little style around the edges. And there’s no better way to do that than to lay uniformly sized stones along the perimeter! It’s certainly a nice approach if you want to add depth to your veggie garden.

Rustic Rock Garden

A rock garden might help you save up on maintenance costs. Quite often, a densely laid out and planted rock garden will fend off most weeds, so it’s a nice way to add some low maintenance interest to your yard. Rock gardens can be of any size and shape. The beauty of a rock garden is more about the various heights and textures of the rocks when planted with low growing plants.

This style of garden almost looks like a mountain range viewed at a distance.

Zen Garden Landscaping

Zen Garden

A Zen Garden can just be your ultimate place of relaxation. You can calm down for a bit and spend time with nature when you feel stressed.

You should arrange rocks in odd-numbered groups. For instance, get three stones of the same kind, but in different sizes. You can put them in a triangle arrangement. Bam! You now have an interesting detail to your Zen garden.

To explain: three-rock clusters were once utilized to represent the Buddhist trinity.

Create a Mosaic Walkway

Mosaic Walkway

Mosaic walkways are a labor of love and only really used in smaller backyard settings due to their intricacy and the time it takes to install them.

They can be installed over a gravel base, or even on the bare ground in areas that don’t freeze, but in areas with freezing temperatures, you will need to set these stones in mortar over a poured concrete base.

You can use almost any type of stone. The trick is to make it creative and find colors and textures that compliment each other.

Alpine Rock Garden

Alpine Rock Garden

Alpine plants are those that grow in mountain terrain. Water is used sparingly in rocky alpine gardening, which is nice if you’re into low-maintenance, easy landscaping. And the best thing is the rockery will last for a long time.

To give you an idea: colored gravel should be strewn around the bigger rocks. This creates a nice touch, so play around with different textures and sizes to add variety.

English Rock Garden

English Rock Garden

Probably the oldest rock garden was created in Orford, England, around 1767.

Having an English rock garden means mixing elaborate rockwork and beautiful shrubbery. This will give you a lovely, peaceful space in the landscape.

Use it as Bed Cover

Rock Installed Instead of Mulch

Using any type of rock as a bed cover has become a popular way to cut down on yard maintenance. Be sure to install a top quality landscape fabric under the rock to be sure the weeds aren’t going to jump up in between the rocks.

Frequently Asked Questions About Landscaping Rocks

  • What is the least expensive landscaping rock? – It varies by region, but crushed gravel, pea gravel, and decomposed granite are usually the cheapest. Pea gravel is tiny and lightweight, and purchasing by the pound will provide more coverage. Meanwhile, keep in mind that rarer colors of decomposed granite will cost more.
  • What kind of rocks are landscape rocks? – The most common rocks used for the landscape are granite, pea gravel, river rock, lava rock, and flagstone.
  • What type of rock is ideal for flower beds? – Lava rock is highly regarded among property owners as an excellent substitute for mulch in flower gardens. These irregular red chunks of rock are kind of pricey, but they’re great to have in your landscape.
  • Do rocks attract termites? – There’s always a possibility for termite infestations to occur when rocks are present in outdoor spaces. Termites are drawn to moisture. Therefore if the soil close to the rocks is frequently damp, that spot will have a higher chance of infestation.


Are Decks Really Functional?


When it comes to backyard gathering areas, our choices are decks or patios. The term deck usually refers to a wooden structure raised off of the ground, and the term patio more often refers to a flat masonry surface installed in the ground.

There are definitely those who feel very strongly one way or the other, but many homeowners prefer to install a deck over a patio. We will explore this choice a bit further and try to figure out exactly why some people have such great admiration for their deck.

A well-built deck can transform your backyard into a cozy spot where you can host parties or private gatherings. It can also serve as an area where a family can relax after a stressful day at work.

Despite their popularity, many homeowners are still undecided and overwhelmed by the idea of planning and building a deck on their property. There are so many options to consider and decisions to make that it can seem like a daunting process.

If you’re one of these people that could use a backyard gathering space but are still on the fence when it comes to decks, let me help you decide whether a deck is the thing for you or not. I’ve listed every deck’s function and answered some frequently asked questions about this popular landscape feature.

What is a Deck?

A deck is a raised platform built from wood or a wood-like product that can be freestanding or attached to a house. Its primary purpose is to give you a comfortable and convenient place to sit and relax with your family. Decks can have many options, but most will have railings and stairs.

One of the most common materials used in building decks is natural wood. Pine, cedar, and redwood are popular choices, but composite wood materials and vinyl have gained popularity recently.

One nice aspect of decks is that you can easily add additional structure for some privacy or shade. If you’re not a fan of roofs, you can add a pergola that can make it look more natural and provide some shade while helping it blend with the surrounding landscape.

Similar to a patio, you have the option to add extra features to your deck, such as an outdoor kitchen and a firepit. However, this is a raised wooden platform, so it does have some inherent limitations to consider.

The Good Things About Owning a Deck

You may be thinking about decks and wondering if they are a good fit for you, your family, and your home. Here are some of the good things that come along with deck ownership.

Decks increase the value of your home

According to most experts, relative to their cost, decks can boost the value of your home more than adding other outdoor living spaces. Data suggests that you can expect a 100% return in value for your deck if you decide to sell your property in the future.

Apart from this, decks have a certain appeal to people, so you might be able to sell your house more quickly.

The increase in home value and desire to purchase a home with a deck only applies to homes with well-built and maintained decks.

A poorly built or worn-down deck can definitely lower your home value and make it a less appealing purchase because the potential buyer will see it as something that needs to be fixed.

The moral of the story is if you are going to install a deck, make it a nice one and plan to keep it well maintained.

Decks offer more functionality to your property

Outdoor living has become a popular trend, and decks make this possible. Adding chairs or a sofa on your deck can give you a space to relax and unwind when you feel like a bit of relaxation in the great outdoors.

What’s more, if you decide to add an outdoor kitchen or maybe a roof to your deck, you’ll be able to enjoy sumptuous meals with your family regardless of the weather.

The addition of a well-built, sizeable deck can allow you to do more in your outdoor living space than ever before.

Decks increase your living space.

Having an additional sitting or gathering area gives you more entertaining flexibility and more space for the family to spread out a bit.

When the weather is good, decks are a great family and friends gathering space unlike anything inside your home.

Decks can be gardening space.

Some homeowners also decide to use their deck for their container garden. They set out some decorative pots and grow some select veggies and herbs to use for cooking.

Decks enhance social gatherings

Decks are perfect if you like to stage parties and gatherings. It offers a less claustrophobic atmosphere, and your guests won’t need to worry about being in close quarters or needing to take off their shoes. Decks are also great gathering places for those who like to enjoy a good cigar from time to time. Now your cigar smoking guests don’t need to stand in the driveway to enjoy a smoke.

Your deck can be like a second kitchen

If you are having a party and the inside kitchen is full of cooks and food, your outdoor cooking area can be put into action to help take some of the load off the indoor oven. Fire up that grill, and let’s see what we can do.

If your deck is big enough to house an outdoor kitchen, it would be even better. Having all the features of a secondary kitchen out on your deck could be a very cool way to interact with your guests while cooking an excellent meal.

Your deck can have fire.

Another cool thing you can do on your deck is to gather your visitors around a fire pit for some effortless, cozy late-night chats. Of course, if you will be burning wood up on a wooden deck, you will need to be sure to have a high-quality fire mat below your portable fire pit. If you plan to use your deck in this way, be sure that there aren’t piles of leaves or woodchips below your deck that could catch fire should a hot ember drop down between the boards.

Decks improve the aesthetic appeal of your yard.

While adding flower beds, privacy fencing, and outdoor living rooms can dress up your yard, building a high quality, creatively designed deck can add some height and structure to your yard at a reasonable price.

With the wide variety of materials that you can use in your deck construction, you can really be creative and make this deck an integral part of your landscape design.

The height of the deck can add to the intrigue by offering multiple levels and differing viewpoints of the yard.

Decks can give you more privacy

If you want to enjoy your outside space without worrying about the prying eyes of your neighbors, then build a deck. The rails of the deck will already increase your feeling of privacy. Add to that the height difference, and your deck can be much more private than a patio in the same spot.

Many other privacy features can also be added to decks, such as latticework, pergolas, gazebos, seat walls,  curtains, and privacy panels.

By having a deck, you can increase the private space in your yard in a comfortable way.

Decks can double as additional storage

Since decks are often elevated, the space below it can be used as dry or wet storage.

Dry deck storage requires a waterproof barrier between the space below and the decking board, and this would require an under-the-deck drainage system to keep your stuff dry and protected.

On the other hand, Wet deck storage doesn’t need protection from the elements. All the items you’re going to store here are weatherproof, and some great examples are kayaks, pipes, plastic toys, etc.

If you enclose the underside of your deck with latticework or privacy walls, you are essentially creating a storage shed on your property.

Decks can serve as a stage for kids

Consider the excitement of your children when they realize that they can perform a play up on stage in their own yard. I’ll be that you’ll have some fun and impressive performances if you have a well-built deck to use as a stage.

You can gather some blankets and lay them on the grass, so you have a seating space while your children are up on your deck performing whatever it is they want to perform.

Decks can be great play areas.

I know several people who have gates on their decks and can close them and use them as contained and controlled play areas for their toddlers. Now they have a space where the little tike isn’t going to wander off and will not come back into the house covered in mud since the deck is high and dry—no muddy mess to be found here.

Even when the kids get a bit older, the deck can be a great palace to play when the grass is wet. Because it is elevated and well-drained, the deck will be the first surface to dry off after a storm.

Decks can be a fun outdoor office

It can be difficult to stare at your computer monitor or your office wall for days on end. This is where decks become extremely helpful. By moving to your deck from time to time to work, your mind becomes more refreshed. The change of scenery encourages the production of serotonin in your brain, which makes you happier, and therefore, more productive. The deck can also be an excellent place for your teenager to get some homework done in an area away from the younger kids.

Decks are relatively inexpensive.

Compared to other similarly functioning features of your home, decks are relatively cheap. Building a deck can be much more economical than building a patio due to the materials’ ease of construction and economy.

Decks may be safer than patios.

No matter what you build on your property, there will always be codes to follow to ensure safety. Compared to patios, decks can be seen as safer because handrails are all around the deck. These rails can make walking sitting, and standing easier for the elderly and provide a barrier to the surrounding gardens for the young children.

Decks can be fairly low maintenance

There are a lot of landscape features that are high maintenance (fountains, ponds, outdoor kitchen, etc.) Luckily, decks aren’t one of them. Sure, you will need to clean it every once in a while to remove dry leaves and other air-born debris just like you would with a patio, but you won’t need to worry about pulling weeds and adding mortar or sand as you might with a patio.

Decks might require power washing, sealing, and staining every so often, depending on the type of wood and finish that you’ve chosen.  

Decks provide peace and quiet

Living in a fast-paced world means we experience constant stress. The good thing about having a deck is that we have an area outside our home where we can have some peace and quiet when everything seems overwhelming. Just a few minutes spent lounging on your deck can significantly change your mood.

Decks allow you to be creative

Decks are among the most customizable home features. That being said, you can use your creativity to design one that fits your home. There are so many deck styles that one can choose from, such as single-step designs, multi-tiered, or those which have extra amenities like planters, seats, bars, fire pits, and hot tubs. Your options are practically limitless, and you can customize them according to your taste.

Decks are relatively fast and easy to install

Many homeowners delay the installation of their outdoor gathering space because they fear that it will be a long and drawn-out project. Compared to patios that can take weeks with heavy equipment and stone or brick dust, decks can be constructed in a shorter time period with less yard disruption.

Decks can be built where patios cannot

A patio requires excavation to hardpan and the installation of a base below the patio surface. We still need to excavate with deck construction to set the support posts, but there are only a few of them, and we can design the deck to place those support posts wherever we would like. We can design a deck to avoid buried utilities, tree roots or any other objects that may interfere. If you’ve got a prize tree in the area where you would like to have your living space, you can build the deck around it or right up close to it to take advantage of its shade without the fear of damaging its root structure.

Decks can be installed on uneven terrain

This is where the flexibility of deck design and construction can really shine! Decks are quite literally designed to be installed on uneven terrain. Decks can be installed practically anywhere as long as there is a suitable and durable foundation.

On a steeply sloped backyard where you would need to do a great deal of excavating and create multiple very expensive retaining walls to build a patio, a deck can be built with no problem at all.

In fact, decks become much more interesting in an interestingly sloped backyard. The deck and its potential for multiple levels and stairways can be your access to some areas of your property that might be otherwise inaccessible.

Decks make your place a little cooler during summer

Decks can literally make your yard cooler. Unlike brick and stone, which absorb the heat and then release it back into the yard as the night air cools, the deck boards do not take in as much heat, and they actually shade the ground to keep the overall yard temperatures cooler. The lighter the color of your deck, the more heat it will reflect rather than absorb.

Decks help improve health

Fresh air and sunshine will indeed do a body good, and more time outside will get you more of both of these vital elements. Especially if you have a deck that provides you with some shade, you will be able to spend long days out on the deck, which will lower stress levels as well as provide fresh air and sunshine.

The Bad Things About Owning a Deck

To be fair in our analysis, I need to let you know about some of the negative aspects of owning a deck.

Decks are made of wood or wood-like materials

The fact that the entire structure is made out of wood comes with some disadvantages.

  • Wood needs to be maintained – no matter the type; eventually, wood will need some maintenance.
  • Wood changes over time – Wood will move, crack, twist, and generally change over time.
  • Wood is flammable – The fact that your deck is flammable can limit how you are able to use it.
  • Wood can give you nasty splinters – If you’ve ever gotten a sliver of wood stuck into your foot, you know what I am talking about.
  • Wood can deteriorate over time, especially in wet areas or areas with termites and carpenter ants.
  • Squirrels and chipmunks can chew on wood.
  • Composite, wood-like materials tend to be really hot in the sun and tend to sag and fade over time.

Decks are raised off of the ground

The fact that your deck is off of the ground will come with some disadvantages

  • Because they are off of the ground, this will limit the type of products that you can use if considering building an outdoor kitchen. Most outdoor kitchens are constructed of masonry materials, which will not work on top of a deck. Large masonry structures need a solid footing on the ground, which means that masonry fireplaces would not work on a deck either.
  • Because they are raised off of the ground, a deck will usually need to have stairways and railings by code.
  • Because they are off of the ground, decks might increase falls – I know that this contradicts some of the safety aspects listed above, but the fact that a deck is raised off the ground means that it is possible to fall off the deck or down the stairs.

Decks can be cooler

Being raised off of the ground and allowing the wind to whip up underneath them can make a deck colder during the windy and cold times of the year. Decks can also be cooler simply because they may catch more wind being up higher in the yard.

Decks are constructed with metal fasteners

These metal fasteners, will loosen, crack and corrode over time, so one day, your deck may not be as strong as it once was.

Decks can be slippery

Depending on the wood that they are constructed of, and depending on whether or not they are finish coated, decks can be very slippery when wet. Also remember that a deck in the shade may grow some moss, which can be very slippery also.

Decks have space below

The fact that there is space below the deck means that you may need to close the area off using lattice or privacy walls. This space can be helpful for storage but can also be a place where animals make nests and leaves and debris can pile up. This area can be very difficult to clean out. If the underside of the deck is left open, it can look a bit messy. How can you landscape an area below the deck?

Most decks are mounted to the house

Most of these structures are connected to the house with a ledger board. This sometimes requires removing siding to mount it properly. The real struggle comes twenty years later when you decide to remove the deck and then need to find a piece of siding to match the house.

 Frequently Asked Questions About Decks

What is the cheapest way to build a deck?

If you are on a budget and you don’t want to break the bank, it is still possible for you to have a beautiful deck. One way to build a cheap deck is to choose an affordable but durable material. Using pressure-treated pine rather than some exotic species will definitely save you a few bucks. Choosing to build a square or rectangular deck rather than some unusual shape will cut costs. Planning your deck to take full advantage of nominal board lengths is important so that you don’t end up with a bunch of useless cutoffs at the end of the project. If you are a handy person, you could always build your own deck. If you are planning to hire a contractor, take your time. Talk to a bunch of contractors and choose the one that you think is trustworthy. Then, ask the contractor if you can get any sort of discount if your deck were installed in the offseason.

Will adding a deck increase my taxes?

Property tax laws vary, but generally speaking, your property tax will likely increase when you do renovations or improvements to your home. In the case of decks, your choice between freestanding and standard styles will directly affect your property tax. Standard decks attached to your home can be considered improvements that increase your home value, and therefore, they can raise your property tax. Freestanding or floating decks may not require a building permit since they aren’t connected to your house.

Does homeowner’s insurance cover a deck?

Like property taxes, whether or not your deck is attached to your house may affect whether or not your homeowner’s insurance covers it. However, if it is freestanding and situated near a pool or other areas of your landscape, its insurance coverage may be limited. Usually, insurers approve a claim if your deck is destroyed or damaged by unpreventable incidents such as theft, fire, storm damage, vandalism, etc.

Can an amateur build a deck?

Technically, an amateur can build a deck given enough information. If you are a handy person who has the patience and ability to measure and mark accurately, dig holes, use a level, operate a saw and power drill, and generally maintain accuracy in your work, then you should be able to handle the project. Most DIY projects that look unprofessional are due to a lack of quality control and accuracy of work rather than lack of knowledge.

How long do decks usually last?

Your deck’s life will greatly depend on the material you use to build it. On average, natural wood can last from 10 to 30 years if you maintain it properly. Meanwhile, some claims state that cedar, mahogany, and pressure-treated lumber can last 40+ years.

Do I need to power wash my deck?

Most people power wash their decks to prepare them for painting or staining. While this method is quick and efficient, this is not always suggested. A pressure washer can do significant damage if your deck is made from softer wood. If you need to refinish your deck, you may want to simply sand it down. For simple maintenance, deck cleaning solutions are recommended since you only have to wash it with water and a hose.

How do I clean my deck naturally?

There are many types of deck washers and cleaners, and a good number of them are all-natural. Two of the top choices are borax solution and the mixture of dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar. Borax is a versatile cleaner that you can buy at local stores. The correct ratio is one cup of borax for every one gallon of water. Scrub the areas of your deck where you sprayed some borax solution in order to remove that unwanted mildew and algae. Another inexpensive and natural cleaning solution is the combination of baking soda, vinegar, dish soap, and water. All you have to do is sprinkle baking soda on your deck, and then apply the mixture of water, dish soap, and vinegar before you scrub.

What is a good deck size?

If you are looking at creating a small deck that can hold a round dining table and four chairs, you are looking at around 144 square feet. However, on average, a deck should be about 300 to 400 square feet for you and your family to be more comfortable using it. Some of the things to keep in mind are your personal preference in shape and layout, the amount of furniture you need on the deck, and its location. To get a good feel for your future deck, just take a long rope or garden hose out in the yard and lay it out on the ground. This will give you the opportunity to place tables and chairs and really get a feel for the size and useability of the deck.

Are pallets strong enough for decking?

Pallets are often used by homeowners who want to DIY their deck. And this makes sense since pallets are versatile and can be cheap or free. Pallets are also very strong, and they come in different sizes, but their slats are often not close enough together to walk on comfortably. You can use them to build a deck, but they will still need support beams to tie them together.

Can you build a deck directly on the ground?

Yes, it is possible to build a deck directly on the ground, but always use wood rated for ground contact. Keep in mind that no matter what wood you use, prolonged exposure to moisture is its worst enemy, aside from maybe termites.

Final Thoughts

The popularity of decks has been longstanding. Whether or not a deck is the right choice for your home has more to do with your home’s layout and your personal preferences. I personally prefer a patio over a deck because I like having a solid, hard surface dug into the ground, and I really dislike sanding, staining, and painting, so a deck is not for me.

When considering how the deck will fit with your home, a big decision is whether or not you will or can connect it to the house. If your rear yard entrance to your house is a step or more higher than the backyard, then a deck might work well as it could be fastened to the house just below the door. But, if your door is at ground level, an attached deck might be out of the question, in which case a patio might be a better choice.