Can you believe we’re almost halfway through March? Spring is so close, I can practically smell the lilacs already! It’s time to say sayonara to the snow, and hello to landscaping season. When it comes to choosing your backyard plants and designing a layout, it’s always more exciting to branch out and try new things instead of sticking with the same old, same old. If you’re in need of a little inspiration, take a gander at this list of bright and distinctive plants that will thrive here in Zone 3.
Backyard Landscaping Ideas: Out of the Ordinary Plants and Flowers
If you want your yard to really impress, why play it safe and stick to just the basics? Experiment with bold colours and exotic flowers that will give your garden some serious Wow-factor. It’s low risk, high reward! Here’s a few picks that are sure to make a statement on their own or as a centrepiece to some of your classic favorites:
Columbine: There are so many neat colour combos of columbine available. I love the way the rounded inner blossom contrasts with the bold colours of its spiky outer petals. The foliage is pretty spectacular too”” watch it change from deep green to burgundy as summer turns to fall.
Balloon Flowers: They’re the flower within a flower (flower-ception!) that starts out as a puffed-up balloon-shaped bud, but bursts open into a gorgeous star-shaped blossom. They usually begin to bloom by mid-July, and while they do best in sunny spots, a little bit of partial shade won’t hurt.
Alliums: These vivid, spherical blooms look like they’re straight out of a Dr. Seuss illustration. They’re actually an ornamental species of onion, and they come in many colours and sizes, some reaching up to four feet tall! They’re perennials, so once you plant them, they’ll come back to greet you each spring. However, it’s important to note that you can only plant these pom-pom flowers in the autumn, so if you like the look of these whimsical blossoms, you’ll have to plan ahead for next year.
Shade Plants for Low Light Areas
It can be tough to find that perfect bloom that packs a punch even in the shaded corners of your yard. Instead of treating those spots like a chore to fill, try these stunners:
Bleeding Hearts: These flowers are eager to get blooming, so not only will they be one of the first to make an appearance in your garden this spring, they may very likely steal the show with their peculiar-but-iconic shape and bright pink petals. They like their soil nice and moist, so regular watering is a must.
Ladies Mantle: This shady lady is wonderfully low-maintenance, so you don’t need to worry too much about fertilizer or extra watering. A little rain is all it needs to stay happy. It’s lime-tinted blossoms are pretty subtle up against its bright green foliage, so no matter what your chosen colour palette is, ladies mantle shouldn’t clash. It doesn’t grow too high, so consider filling out some of the shadier patches and corners of your garden with this one.
False Goat’s Beard: As you can probably guess by the name, this plant sports a shaggy, pointy hairstyle (although its neon colours make it look a bit more like one of those Troll dolls, in my humble opinion). It blooms from June to September, so you can enjoy those cute colourful tufts all summer long.
Ground Cover Plants and Flowers for Landscape Edging
Just because you need some plants for edging and borders doesn’t mean that they have to be boring. There are tons of classics out there to choose from, but why not try something new (you might find a new favourite!) this year in your garden to highlight everything else you have going on:
Muscari: These conical indigo flowers don’t grow very high (only about 6-8 inches), so they’re a great pick for borders. They look particularly stunning when planted in front of tall flowers in bright contrasting shades of orange and yellow, like daffodils.
Thrift: This low-growing flower comes in every shade of pink imaginable. It likes its soil nice and sandy with good drainage, so try not to overwater it, because root rot is its sworn enemy.
Creeping Phlox: These pastel-flowered plants are pretty easy to please and can thrive in even the roughest of soil conditions. They tend to creep their way over rocks, so planting them around decorative paving stones can lead to some pretty fantastic results.
Dragon’s Blood Sedum: This flower obviously wins the title for most badass name, but it’s also pretty awesome as far as colour goes. It starts with a bright red bud that bursts open, revealing a star-shaped magenta flower that slowly gets deeper and redder as autumn approaches.
Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something different can lead to some pretty incredible discoveries, so why not get creative this year and design a backyard landscape full of these eye-catching beauties? Trust me, when the compliments from your neighbours start rolling in, you’ll be glad you went the extra mile to make your garden pop.