Notes from the Garden: Living with Flowers

The urge to make a garden usually begins with a desire to change the overall landscape of the property. My clients often want enclosures for privacy, sites for swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, patios, gazebos, ponds, paths, or other structures decorated with plants that look good and grow well together.

The use of beds and borders, a container garden, an herb flowering garden, or a wildflower, vegetable, or stonewall garden can help to give colors, shapes, texture and scents to any landscape structure. In these gardens, I maximize the use of flowering trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, herbs, vines and ground covers. Flowers are the major attraction of a garden. They attract our eyes to admire their beauty. They attract visitors such as birds, butterflies, lady bugs, dragonflies and … house guests! Flowers are the charm, the lure, the light of landscaping. I remember a commercial that said, “Make yourself happy, give yourself flowers.” And I tell you, make yourself happy, and plant as many flowers as you can in your garden!

In the projects that I design and execute at my company, Unlimited Earth Care, I break up hedges and hard structures with flowering gardens to create vistas. These designs give the feeling of spaciousness and connect different parts of the yard by adding depth.

Perennial borders create masses of stunning color from spring through fall. They can be designed featuring several colors or a color theme. The plants are arranged in groups of the same variety, color and height. Since the flowers bloom in large clusters, they create masses of colors that are dramatic even from a distance. Repeating colors along the length of the border creates a visually unified picture. A variety of perennials that bloom in different seasons should be planted to fill the border with color from spring to fall.

A flowering herb garden is the perfect solution to landscaping sunny sites such as stone patios, swimming pool borders, and decks. Herbs are among the most enjoyable plants you can grow. Their flowers and leaves scent the air with pungent fragrances all season long. Most herbs require full sun and well drained, slightly acidic soil. My favorite flowering herb is Lavender Provence. It has a grassy look, bluish gray coloring with a delicate light purple flower that has a very long blooming period. This flower can also make a great accent edging shrub or perennial border.

Planting a meadow of wildflowers is a way to spread color in your garden. Striking and unusual, wildflowers offer an exciting addition to a full-sun garden, and are generally easy-care and trouble-free plants. An effective way to use wildflowers is to include them with a mix of cultivated garden plants. Wildflower meadows look best when connected with woods and ponds, thus offering an excellent visual flow.

Ornamental grasses, with their long season of good looks and exceptional range of colors, shapes and textures, can be superb border accents. They can be placed to balance or center shrubs or perennial borders. This can be achieved by using different varieties in different heights and by combining them with perennials such as Sedum “Autumn Joy”, Perovskia, Lythrum, or annuals such as Verbena Bonariensis. Ornamental grasses also help to distract from the rigid shape of some trees, shrubs and hedges, giving an unexpected flow and movement to the entire landscape. Also, ornamental grasses can promote the visits of wildlife such as birds and butterflies.

Pots, urns and window boxes offer easy and fun ways to add color and provide flexibility to experiment with new plants, colors, and textures that can complement the landscape. Different combinations can be used in the containers such as shrubs or topiaries with flowers and vines, perennial and annual flowers; herbs and vegetables to bring accent to decks, patios and terraces.

There are numerous ways to utilize flowers to achieve better and more attractive landscape design. But most important for Unlimited Earth Care is the character and spirit that we bring to the property. We work very carefully in the selection of flowers for each site, working to find the appropriate colors, heights and shapes that will flow with each individual design.

Landscape Designer, Writer and Lecture; Frederico Azevedo is the CEO of Unlimited Earth Care, Inc., providing Design and Landscape maintenance to the Hamptons for over 20 years. For more information: call (631)725-7551, or visit

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