Celebrate the shifting seasons by transforming your front entry into a colorful fall welcome. Flowers abound this time of year, and they're not expensive. The reward? "It's so nice to come home to a great-looking house. The garden is simple but adds so much to the warmth," says Nashville homeowner Owen Kling.
If you think Owen's garden looks like heavy-duty work, reconsider. With a little guidance, you can go from planning to planting in only a morning.
3 Easy Tricks to a Lush Border
Set it up: Before you think about picking up a shovel, arrange your plants. Place tall ones in the back, and stairstep the others, so the shortest selections end up at the front edge. Group each kind of flower together to maximize its color impact.
Elevate: Put back row plants in tall containers. This provides additional height and increases their visibility.
Plant the rest: Loosen the soil, and mix in soil conditioner (available in large bags at garden centers) to improve drainage. Remove plants from their pots, undo tight roots, and place them in the ground in the order you had them arranged. Spread a 1-inch layer of shredded pine bark mulch over the soil, and water well.
Owen's garden combines annuals and perennials. Annuals last for only one growing season and bloom continuously. With fall's first frost, they die. Perennials return every year but have a shorter bloom time. In a small border, enjoy all the flowers for the season. After frost, compost the annuals, and move the perennials to a permanent location (or give them away). Start fresh with new plants for winter.
"Instant Garden" is from the September 2006 issue of Southern Living.