Perennial garden in late afternoonContemporary Landscape, Portland Maine
A private garden along Maine's southern coast.
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8. Working irrigation system. A good irrigation system can save you time and usually uses less water than watering by hand. If the home you are considering has an irrigation system, be sure to give it a thorough test. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean it works!
Cost range: Cost varies depending on how much of the work you do yourself (DIY or hiring a professional), what supplies you need to purchase (you have a well-stocked tool shed versus you need to buy everything) and how you choose to grow your flowers (from seeds versus from plant starts).If you’re doing most of the work yourself, plan on spending something in the range of $60 (cost of seeds, organic amendments, plant stakes) to upward of $300 (cost of a shovel, plant starts, organic amendments, plant stakes). If you’re planning to hire professionals, add the price of their services on top of this.Typical project length: In general, budget a weekend of work for getting areas cleared and beds ready for planting, and an afternoon at the nursery gathering plants and supplies.
3. Follow the Day Into Night, and Note How the Garden’s Double Life Contributes to Its SuccessBirds come back in a flourish just before sunset. The afternoon heat has subsided, and they are landing in the fountain or birdbath with desperate joy. Maybe you find a toad sheltering in the cool ivory sedge, or, if you’re patient enough, watch a hummingbird at work on a penstemon. As the wavelengths of light coming from the sun change, some flowers will be on notice to close their petals. This is when you should find a secluded corner and follow the day down into night. Let the slow darkness enshroud you and the garden. Breathe in the deep, moist musk of soil and decaying leaves. Reach out and feel the smooth leaves of baptisia until you find the Braille-like bumps of sulfur butterfly eggs ready to hatch. Watch where the fireflies pulse and hover — how they interact with open areas compared with plant beds. Listen for owls gathering in a nearby tree. Are there places where wildlife need more cover? Could you add a shrub hedgerow or a small tree? Do you need to turn off the landscape lights so that moths can find night flowers?You helped this space come alive, just as it’s helped you come alive into a new awareness. Your garden is a wildlife refuge for all of us. Tomorrow you’ll have to make a run to the nursery again. Oh, you’ll just have to.More on Houzz5 Ideas for a More Earth-Friendly GardenBrowse more landscape ideasWork with a landscape designer near youShop for gardening tools
3. Flowering perennials. An almost unlimited number of flowering perennials pair well with roses. You'll want to choose other flowers that complement, rather than compete with, your roses, so look for perennials with smaller or larger forms, different leaf types and a variety of flower colors and shapes.
Subtlety in the midst of abundance. A focal point can be a quiet punctuation point, like a period at the end of a line of poetry. For example, this gregarious double perennial border defines the landscape. But the exuberance of color is offset by a grassy strolling path that leads to a small but effective focal point.Notice the shrub at the end of the path, centered between two huge shade trees. This detail creates a natural end point of the perennial garden and can be appreciated from a long distance away. Imagine how the setting would look without this modest focal point, and you'll understand how valuable it is.