Notes from the Garden: The Moon Garden

Unlimited Earth Care
The magic of a moon garden. Photo: Unlimited Earth Care

It is always interesting to visit gardens that invite you to discover different ideas. The moon garden design, surrounded by hedges of trees or shrubs such as California Privets, Boxwoods, Holly or an elegant tree line of Hornbeams, helps create a divide for a garden area that offers a dramatic effect. The general idea of a moon garden begins with these trees or shrubs as a surrounding, and is then evolves through the selection of a focal point and accessories that will complement the entire design. Evening gardens look beautifully romantic and inspiring when surrounded by hedges containing a distinct entryway using either a gap between the hedges, a door or a gate of wood or iron. It makes an inviting entrance that draws the eye directly into the view of the garden, or to a central focal point such as an urn, statue or birdbath.

The concept is for a garden that is both; attractive in the daylight and magical in the moonlight, filled with flowers, variegated and silver foliage, and scented plants. Using a larger quantity of white flowers and variegated leaves will shine until moonlight strikes the garden. Gorgeously scented flowers and pungent foliage soon stimulates the senses, adding even more appeal to these gardens. The garden beds can be designed around the hedges or geometrically oriented towards the center of the space. Flowers such as Nicotiana, Moonflower, Petunia, Hosta, Casablanca Lily, Shasta Daisy and Lavender can be planted along the borders or beds creating a graceful effect of varied shapes and heights. Shrubs like Tardiva Hydrangea, “Ellen Willmont” Lilac, Deutzia or White-shrub Roses can be planted in the corners to give your design more depth. Gray plants or variegated foliage such as variegated Ivy, Stachys, and Artemesia will complement this purpose if added by the edges of beds. For a magnificent spring display, White Tulips, Narcissus and Snow Drop bulbs can be planted in the fall, keeping the garden’s interest vibrating from early spring to fall.

The moon garden concept can also be used on a terrace. White flowers will reflect the evening’s light long after brighter blooms fade into darkness, and white furniture should complement the garden nicely. The terrace can be done in many types of “gray stone,” such as the very popular bluestone, or, for a more rustic appearance, river-bottom stone can be used. White gravel can be spread between the stone to accentuate the detail, as flowers in containers will create much of the display. Geraniums, Petunias, Lobelias, Gaura, Scaviola with variegated Vinca or any other gray cascading foliage will complement planters with these annual flowers. The planters should be situated around the patio and will look especially attractive if properly seated on the white gravel. A large gray urn in the center of the terrace containing an abundance of white flowers and variegated leaves makes a perfect focal point for the garden. Vines will also blend into the design when either attached to a wall or growing in a pergola. Climbing roses and vines such as Silver Lace vine, Clematis Montana, New Dawn Rose or Iceberg Rose provide a spectacular amount of white flowers to frame the gardens.

Illuminating your moon garden after dark helps to convey a romantic mood, and tasteful lighting will hopefully expand the use of your garden area. Adequately lighting an evening garden can be done with metal lanterns, hurricane lamps, pedestal candles or any soft light that will give a special accent to the natural light characteristics of the garden. Torches are also suitable in moon gardens, and citronella oil should be used to help protect you from pesky nighttime bugs.

Moon gardens are designed to impart a particular mood with a certain kind of design and a cooler-toned palette of plants. Different design styles can be applied to this concept; even a very modern meadow using silver ornamental grasses and birch trees will look remarkable. There are many native plants that are appropriate for your landscape that can also apply to this garden design concept. The overall idea is to remain inspired by nature and be able to enjoy the landscape while using a few creative garden ideas.

Landscape Designer, Writer and Lecturer Frederico Azevedo is the CEO of Unlimited Earth Care, providing design and landscape maintenance to the Hamptons for over 20 Years. For more info, contact 631-725-7551 or visit

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