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Refresh & Redo

what are some interesting ideas for sprucing up home landscaping? Many clients are asking us to create dry creek beds in their yards—not for drainage, just for appearance. They can be as long as you like; the bed can start at the back edge of the property and lead up to a focal point like a deck or patio. The idea is to establish a visual divider between landscaped areas like planted beds, and it should be built to be seen and enjoyed from the house, patio or deck. To create a creek bed, we first draw it out on the lawn, excavate a shallow trench, then put down landscape fabric to prevent weeds. We lay down cobblestones that are about the size of a tennis ball, then create attractive plantings on either side.

Clients also are very interested in tropical plants that make a colorful statement. Varieties like hibiscus and lantana are popular because they’re more exotic and interesting than run-of-the-mill marigolds or geraniums, and they come in bright colors like reds, oranges and pinks, which are becoming much more popular than whites and pastels. The tropical plants do well in the St. Louis heat. Many people also are asking for massive front- and backyard flower beds for high-end homes; they make a bold statement and add to the curb appeal.

—Patricia Cubbage, nursery manager
Garden Oasis Landscape & Design

First, think about how you want to use your outdoor space. Are you just looking for some visual interest, or is your family outside a lot? Do you enjoy watching butterflies and birds? Many things can affect your choice of plants. For example, if you plan to sit on the patio often, don’t plant things like purple coneflowers nearby because they will attract bees. And if you have deer in the area, don’t plant hostas or other things they like to eat. On the other hand, many people choose milkweed to attract monarch butterflies or trumpet creeper for hummingbirds. For year-round color, choose perennial hellebores that bloom in late winter or early spring, then plant early summer flowers like daisies, a variety of annuals during the summer, and holly bushes that produce red berries in the fall. Japanese maples produce bright foliage, and red-twig dogwood provides vibrant color in the winter.

Many homeowners are interested in incorporating native plants into their landscaping. Asters, native primrose and coral bell are good examples of flowering species. A professional can help you figure out which local plants will work in your yard based on its size and shape, how you use it, and the amount of sun and water it gets.

–Teresa Hessel, project manager
M&P Landscaping

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