Although vertical gardening has been a trend in recent years, it’s becoming a permanent shift in how we think about gardening. Using vertical planes obviously makes sense for those who have limited horizontal space — apartment dwellers and condo owners, for example. But even those who have large properties can benefit from new and creative ideas for taking their gardens to lofty heights. Because many people think of vegetables and herbs as belonging in perfectly straight garden rows, it can be difficult to envision more creative approaches to planting them. Here are some fresh vertical gardening ideas to consider trying for yourself.
Go-to grasses and can't-fail lantanas mark the advent of a bright new season. And the coming of fall doesn’t mean the end of container garden beauty. It simply means you have to pay new attention to what needs to be planted—and where. Consider moving your planters indoors; consider plants like fountain grass, which is sun-loving and forgiving; and add in some lantanas, or some sweet potato vines, for color, thrill, and excitement. Focus on your fall containers too. Use bright pops of color, particularly if you plan to bring your containers inside. Or, use a clean neutral, like black, or white, and let the flowers and foliage truly shine.
A large water bowl is the centerpiece of an Islamic-style courtyard garden in Hertfordshire, England. The clients of landscape designer Fiona Green of Green Tree Garden Design had lived in the Middle East and wanted their garden to reflect the styles they had seen in their former region. Following the principles of Islamic Garden Design, Green designed a courtyard with a water bowl in one corner of the yard. Placed opposite the courtyard is a new summerhouse, which can be viewed from the courtyard seating area. Green renovated the backyard and replaced plants that offer year-round jewel-tone colors, along with structure, and scents.
This window box design is concerned less with the box as a container, and more with the box as a foundation for an incredible approach to beauty. Layered, loud, and filled with color and excitement, coleus, begonias, and purple fountain grass spill from this spectacular window box, completely hiding the container. The purple fountain grass blooms in summer, and can continue blooming into fall, giving this container wonder from season to season. Coleus comes in every color of the rainbow, and remains bright from spring through fall. This sets up a container full of wonder. Put it together and let its radiance glow.
Consider a Hybrid Approach It's a newer approach but one that Miller finds more and more landscape designers and homeowners using: a combination of professional installation and do-it-yourself landscaping. "Most homeowners either can conquer much more or much less than they think they can," Miller says. "They'll begin a project and get overwhelmed. So you really need to think if you want to spend your next ten weekends breaking your back, or have someone help you."
Assuming you are in the right zone for this type of planting, if you don't want to spend all of your time watering, stick with easy-care options in some of your containers. Succulents and bougainvilleas need little care in containers. You can choose succulents that will grow to create senses of scale and drama, such as agave, or aloe. Depending on your choice of succulent, some of these may grow as tall as ten feet high, so be are of their potential when planning your container garden. Then, prepare for a beautiful sight.
Using evergreen plants in a container means that you will always have a base that will look good for years. Once this element of your container is established, you can fill in with beautiful plants that may need more attention, but that will be easy. Choose something like a cast-iron plant, and then add in some caladiums, some impatiens, and even a creeping fig. This will give you the classics to thrill, fill, and spill. Any shade-loving combination that works well in a container can add color to an entry. If you need more structure, or balance, simply create an additional container of the same size and materials, or do a smaller one as a complement.
If your yard has limited space it's important to make the most of it! One key landscape idea is to take advantage of plants that serve more than one purpose. This espaliered apple tree, for example, offers privacy from the neighbor on the other side of it; provides an attractive backdrop for the curve in a path; and in autumn, gives a harvest of delicious apples.