This is the fifth in a series of articles on the Ten “Must-Have’s” in your Landscape. Pops of color add a little icing on the cake. The color can be from evergreen shrubs, deciduous trees, colorful containers, or annuals or perennials. Just remember not to overdo it too much on the color, a little goes a long way. Also repeat the color in small sections throughout the landscape so that it is cohesive, just like you would when you decorate the interior of your home.
1. Year-round Color
There are a number of colorful evergreen shrubs that can give you year-round interest and some of these shrubs change colors throughout the season which is another added bonus. Loropetalums are hugely popular, especially now that we have a few smaller varieties to choose from. Loropetalums provide burgundy leaves throughout the year and also pink or red flowers in the spring. Nandinas provide touches of red or chartreuse during the growing season, and then some of them turn bright red in the winter adding another season of color. There are now a number of different Abelias from yellow foliage (Kaleidoscope) to pink and cream (Mardi Gras or Confetti). In the Arborvitae family there are a few varieties that have yellow tones, some of which don’t get too large and these can make great focal points. Chamaecyparis (Gold Mop Cypress) are also a popular choice for bright yellow foliage, but just remember to give them some room so that you don’t have to prune them. They are much prettier when left to grow naturally. A relatively new introduction is Sunshine Ligustrum with its bright yellow foliage. This definitely stands out on the nursery floor amongst the other shrubs!
2. Colorful Trees
Two of my favorite trees are in the Japanese Maple family. Japanese Maples provide colorful foliage although the trees will be bare in the winter. Coral Bark Maple has chartreuse leaves and red stems. Bloodgood Japanese Maple has burgundy leaves. Weeping Japanese Maples come in an array of different colors and because of their form, they make great focal points even in the winter when they are bare. There are also many variations of the Eastern Redbud tree that have colorful leaves ranging from yellow to burgundy and these trees are the ones you see early in the spring covered in red buds. Let’s not forget about the trees that give us some outstanding fall color like the Red Maples, Sugar Maples, Sweetgums, and Ginkgo.
Berries play an important role in the winter landscape not just for aesthetics, but also to feed wildlife. The tree forms of Hollies produce berries and these can be quite stunning. Look for Yaupon Holly Tree, Savannah Holly, Foster Holly and Nellie Stevens Holly just to name a few. American Beautyberry also provides a wonderful berry display with its bright magenta berries. A couple of others include Winterberry (which the birds love!) and Pyracantha.
4. Annual and Perennial Color
Annuals (flowers that complete their life cycle in one growing season) are a great way to add color for an entire season. Annual beds are usually placed somewhere near the front door or by the pathway leading to the front door. The annuals act as a focal point and draw your attention to the front door. There are a ton of annuals to choose from and we can help you choose the right ones depending on how much sun your yard receives. Perennial flowers (the ones that come back each year) have a shorter season of flowering lasting from as little as a few weeks to a few months. Some of my favorites to pop in amongst your landscape are May Night Salvia, Purple Coneflower and Shasta Daisy as these all seem to have a long flowering season.
5. Whimsical Color
This is where you can have some more fun. Colorful containers make great accents and these can be used throughout the landscape, not just at your front entry. Sometimes when you have large trees it is hard to get anything to grow underneath because of the root system. This is a great place for a large container with annuals, or a weeping Japanese Maple as a focal point. It fills in an otherwise blank area and creates a design element.
Check out the rest of Tracy’s list of the top 10 ‘must-haves’ for your landscape!