Home » 4-season landscape

4-season landscape

Gardening Books for 4 Season Gardeners

Gardening Books for 4 Season Gardeners

I absolutely love to reference gardening books when designing garden beds or even to pass the time in the winter months when I’m planning a new space out. There are many options available so I thought I’d share with you some of my absolute favorite gardening books for 4-season landscaping and why I love each of them.

If you just want to start shopping, you can check out all of my book recommendations in my Amazon Store.

The Four-Season Landscape: Easy-Care Plants and Plans for Year-Round Color 

by Susan Roth

Amy holding two gardening books by Susan Roth
I owe a lot of my obsession with 4-season gardening to Susan A. Roth’s books!

This is the gardening book that started my obsession with landscape design and 4-season gardening. The Four-Season Landscape by Susan Roth is a great reference guide that I’m constantly referring to. The book contains lots of practical design information coupled with lots of beautiful landscape photos. There’s also garden plans and a handy reference in the back with lots of plants, trees, flowers and shrubs that have interest in multiple seasons.

Susan, like myself, gardens in the Northeast, so I would take that into consideration before purchasing. A lot of the plant choices and plan ideas are catered towards Gardening Zones 6-7. However, I think that anyone interested in 4 season gardening will get a lot out of this book… no matter where you live.

Gardening with Foliage First 

by Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz

Amy Holding Foliage First Gardening Book
I’m obsessed with the cute names for these complex and interesting plant combinations!

Gardening with Foliage First is an absolute delight of plant recipies that you can try at home. If you love creating container gardens or are always looking for new plant combinations to try out, definitely grab this handy reference. There are so many (127 to be exact) unique planting combinations with beautiful photos of each.

I think that my favorite part is that Chapman and Salwitz named each and every design. From Bad Hair Day and Beauty Without the Best to Dinosaur Soup and The Ticklish Porcupine, you’ll find incredibly unique and stunning plant combos with a touch of fun and whimsy in every title. I’m constantly referencing this gardening book!

The Weekend Garden Guide: Work-Saving Ways to a Beautiful Backyard 

by Susan Roth

Another great read by Susan Roth, this particular book is focused on the life of a “weekend gardener.” There are lots of gardening tips, for flower gardeners and vegetable gardeners alike, that will help you to save time and keep your garden under control even if you only have a bit of time on the weekends to tend to it. I really enjoyed this book and got a lot of great ideas from it. Just like her Design Your 4-Season Garden book, this also contains a plant, tree, flower and shrub reference in the back that you will find yourself referring to… a lot.

Kiss my Aster: A Graphic Guide to Creating a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to You 

by Amanda Thomsen

Amy Holding Kiss My Aster Gardening book
This is my top choice for gift-giving. Just make sure the person you’re giving it to has a bit of a sense of humor about gardening (as you can probably tell from the title).

This is such a fun and gorgeously illustrated landscape design book. It will take you on a journey from start to finish. I used to love “choose your own adventure” books as a kid and this has a very similar format that was such a joy to explore. It’s colorful, engaging and the information within the book is Amy-approved. To clarify: I didn’t see any concerning info/content within this book that I disagree with, which happens often when I read simplified versions of complex topics like landscape design.

So, if you’re looking for a fun guide that will help you to get started in your dream garden journey, be sure to pick up Kiss My Aster. I received this as a Christmas gift and can vouch for the fact that it makes an excellent gift for any garden lover on your list– as long as they have a sense of humor and a fun-loving spirit!

Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants 

by Doug Tallamy

I would really recommend any of Doug Tallamy’s books if you’re at all interested in native plants, organic gardening, biodiversity or reducing your impact on the world around you (like all gardeners who love nature honestly should). This gardening book brings to light ways that we can begin to bring native plants back to suburbia and the home garden along with examples of how to do so and why it’s so important.

You’ll learn so much from Bringing Nature Home and the role that you can personally play in providing for and protecting local wildlife. I believe that it will fundamentally shift the way that you think about gardening.

Principles of Gardening: The Practice of the Gardener’s Art 

by Hugh Johnson

I recently picked up this monster-sized book per a recommendation from an episode of the A Way To Garden podcast where they discussed some of their all-time favorite gardening reference books. Although this book was originally printed in the late 1970s, I will say that Hugh Johnson was FAR ahead of his time. Principles of Gardening is packed with all kinds of gardening information. I enjoy that it’s not organized as a traditional gardening “encyclopedia” is. I actually read this cover to cover without tiring of all that I was learning.

I especially enjoyed the chapter called A Garden Place For Every Plant where Johnson covers the different types of plants that you can use in your garden and why you should consider incorporating all of them. This is really similar to my landscape layering philosophy and my usage of the garden pyramid. So, if you like the way that I think about gardens, I think you’ll love this book as well.

Cool Flowers: How to Grow and Enjoy Long-Blooming Hardy Annual Flowers Using Cool Weather Techniques 

by Lisa Mason Ziegler

This is another recent purchase that absolutely blew me away. Cool Flowers has really opened my eyes to a whole new way of gardening — which is actually the “old way” of gardening. In this guide, Lisa Ziegler breaks down the lifecycle of annual flowers in a way that will change the way you look at them. She discusses how you can actually grow some of these hardy annuals from seed starting in the summer and leave them in the ground all winter long. By doing so, you’re helping the flowers to gain a stronger root system which will reward you the following spring. Not only that but you’ll get blooms MUCH earlier than if you start from seed at the end of winter like many of us do.

I really appreciated her lists of flowers to try this method with, along with her own personal results and the hardiness zones that this will work for. If you live in a cooler climate (Zone 7 or lower) I would highly recommend this book for improving your garden beds earlier in the season with a lot less effort.

Honorable Mentions

Here are a few other books that I really enjoy and would recommend you check out if they sound interesting to you!

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out my recommendations for the best gardening magazines and best gardening TV shows, too.

Wrapping Up

There are so many gardening books available that it can be really overwhelming to choose the right one for you. Try any of the books on my list and you’re sure to have a reference that you’ll be going back to for a long time!

In addition, I would recommend trying to find books written by gardeners or landscape designers that live in a similar climate to you. I usually find these books the most helpful when looking for ideas for my own garden as there’s nothing worse than staring at a beautiful photo and realizing that it’s not a reality for your climate!

More Gardening Inspo You’ll Love

Improve Your Landscape in 5 Simple Steps (Beginners Guide)

Improve Your Landscape in 5 Simple Steps (Beginners Guide)

I’ve been teaching garden design for a long time now and I’ve noticed that most homeowners can tell when something is “off” in their landscape.

But, they usually don’t know what is off… or why it feels off… or how to actually fix it.

It’s definitely a frustrating problem to deal with. You can’t improve your landscape because you don’t know what needs fixing.

Instead of learning more, I find that most gardeners will brainstorm a bunch of excuses as to why they don’t love their landscaping…

I don’t have a clear vision for the space…
Nothing grows in this awful soil
The deer will eat anything I plant anyway...

The truth is that these excuses are all symptoms of the actual problem… that no landscape exists in a vacuum. So, in order to improve your existing landscape, you need to

(1) figure out what’s causing the problem and

(2) develop solution(s) based on your climate, conditions, personal taste and a level of maintenance that suits you.

Yes… I know it feels like a lot.

You probably need a hug and a glass of wine. Hit me up… I’ll be right over! Then, we’ll get to work!

Let’s walk through some common scenarios and my simple process for seeing your garden with fresh, new eyes 👀 (spoiler alert: this is the KEY to everything).

Then, you’ll be able to troubleshoot problem areas and come up with a plan to make your garden beautiful. Sound good? Cool.

Common Landscaping “Problem Scenarios” Facing Home Gardeners

Most beginner DIY gardeners I talk to are dealing with one of these common scenarios. They’re likely what’s stopping you from having the beautiful 4-season landscape you’ve been dreaming of. Which one do you resonate with?

Scenario 1: You bought a new home and have to deal with an existing, sucky landscape.

Even if you purchase a new home there are likely already trees, shrubs and hardscaping in place that you have to work around. Or maybe all of it is ugly landscaping that you wish you could change. Or you simply have a different style than the previous home owner.

Scenario 2: Your landscape used to be nice but over time, things went really south. Now you hate it.

If you’ve been living in your home for some time, maybe your landscape used to be beautiful and harmonious… but it certainly isn’t now. Perhaps over the years some plants changed in size or shape, trees grew up, or the harsh winters killed some of your plants and left you with lots of empty spaces to fill.

You’re left wondering what happened to your beautiful landscape. And, although you don’t want to start from scratch, you’re not sure how to tie the new plants into your landscape with what’s already there.

This scenario can be a bit more difficult to deal with than that of a new home owner simply because you’re attached to your home and the nostalgic moments you may have had in your garden throughout the years. But… no worries… it’s certainly fixable.

Scenario 3: You have a brand new house or no existing landscaping and you don’t know how to get started.

If you are starting with a blank slate, this post isn’t for you. Hop over to my article about landscaping from scratch to get help with starting from ground zero.

Or, if you’re ready to get it done right, you can dive right into my Design Your 4-Season Garden course. This will give you my step-by-step approach to designing a beautiful landscape that looks great all year… without all of the trial and error and years of waiting for your landscape to “eventually” look great.

Some good news:

Regardless of whether you’re updating someone else’s landscaping or trying to tame your own unruly garden, the approach is the same!

So how do you fix and/or expand upon your landscaping when you really don’t know… anything… about landscaping? Just follow my simple 5-step process.

And, if you are still feeling overwhelmed, I’ll share some other ways that I can help you at the end of this article.

Step 1: Edit the Noise

My advice to all beginner landscapers as you tackle a new landscaping project that feels really daunting, is to EDIT. As E.E. Cummings said,

“To destroy is always the first step in any creation.”

E.E. Cummings

So, editing is the very first thing you are going to do.

You have to destroy that familiarity blindness that makes us not actually “see” what’s going on. Only then can you see your landscape the way that other people see it. So, take a walk around your landscape and remove anything you possibly can.

This means removing all of the noise.

All of the garden tchotchkes, wind spinners, gnomes, fountains, benches, planters.

Remove anything that’s distracting that you can physically pick up and move. Set these items aside so you look at just the plants and the hardscaping (like walls, paths, fences, trellis, etc.).

And, that’s it for step 1. Not so bad, right?

Step 2: Remove Unnecessary / Dying Plants

remove the dead, sick and unnecessary plants

Removing ANY plants can be a difficult step for a lot of gardeners, including myself. That’s because gardeners (like us) are nurturers… caretakers.

And, I’m sure that with some extra TLC we can “save” our struggling plants and bring them back to life. Nurture is half the battle with gardening. But, trust me on this one and save yourself the headaches.

So, remove all of your unnecessary plants; i.e. plants that are half dead, plants that are struggling and even the plants you don’t really like.

I like to think that if you’re not killing plants, you’re not stretching yourself as a gardener

It may be hard to “destroy” your landscape, but you will feel so much better when it’s done. It’s kind of like decluttering your closet or your dresser drawers. Once you get rid of all the crap you’ll be able to find the good stuff.

You don’t want to be on the next episode of “Garden Hoarders” do you?

I’m just kidding, that’s not really a show… yet 🙃. 

Ok… we’ve gotten rid of all of our trouble plants… leaving lots of space for new plants and making things BEAUTIFUL!

Next, I’ll show you a trick for figuring out WHAT to improve.

Step 3: Take Pictures of Your Garden

Now that you’ve removed all of the garden accessories and the struggling and/or ugly plants, you need to take some pictures. This is a very fun and easy step.

From this day forward, your camera is your new best friend.

It doesn’t matter what type of camera you have. Whether it’s your camera phone, an old digital camera collecting dust in your drawer or even a polaroid.

Simply walk around your landscape and take photos of the parts in your garden that you feel could be improved.

If you’re trying to fix an existing landscape, the key is to break your landscape down into smaller pieces so its less overwhelming. Your camera will do this for you. So, don’t take pictures of your  whole garden, or even an entire garden bed. Just take pictures of sections of your garden beds. Closeups… if you will.

The other cool thing about “freezing your garden in time” is that it will eliminate all of the distractions around you. You know… the barking dog down the street, your neighbor popping over to chat… those weeds here and there that you will unconsciously begin to pull.  

All of these distractions are preventing you from really seeing your garden. But, once you take some pictures, you can really focus on your landscape and see it in a new way.

You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to look at your garden through photos when you have a few peaceful moments to do so.

You may be wondering what, exactly, you’re “looking” for in these photos. Well, let me show you!

➡️ Quick Check In: Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed?

👋Hi there… I see you! And, I know that feeling. Sometimes binge reading articles and watching zillions of gardening videos can make things so much worse. So I’m just here to remind you that gardening is supposed to be FUN!

Honestly, I didn’t start seeing success in my gardening efforts until I stopped piecing together all of the wildly differing approaches I found in gardening books, online articles and YouTube videos. 

As much as I love free resources (& create many of them myself), this hodgepodge learning didn’t get me ANY closer to realizing my dream garden.

So, if you’re tired of hearing different approaches and conflicting opinions and you just want to know the exact steps to take… please check out my online courses. I created them to cut through all of the online noise and give you a clear path forward so you can find success faster!

Step 4: Analyze Your Pictures

Analyze photos of your landscape
Turn your photos to black and white and use a colored marker to circle any boring, empty or blobby areas.

Next, you’ll need to print out the photos or pull them up on the computer so we you can take a good hard look at what you’re dealing with.

When I’m doing this step, I turn the photo to black and white. This sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Removing the color removes even MORE distractions. It will improve your focus. So, print (or photocopy) your photos so they are in black and white. Or, use a computer program or your phone to change them to black and white.

Then, just “go to town” and circle/highlight all of the parts of the photo that could use improvement.

Don’t overthink this.

And, I’m aware that you’re a beginner… so please don’t be worried about how you’re going to fix the areas you’re circling. Just circle anything that looks empty, drab, blobby or unappealing to you. This is more than half the battle!

Knowing exactly what areas to focus on is much less overwhelming than staring down an entire yard and trying to “guess” about what to do next!

Step 5 – Come up with a Plan

Now that you know what areas to focus on, you’ll need to come up with a plan of attack. As you’ve learned, turning photos to black and white make the problem areas of your garden abundantly clear.

Do you know why that is?

Because it shows you where you need CONTRAST. If you have too many plants of the same color, texture or form it blurs together and you lose the magic.

When you can’t distinguish shape and form in the garden, your eyes don’t have anything to focus on. It can be unsettling to look at a garden like this… and it’s likely why you don’t like your own landscape.

Adding Contrast

Choosing plants or structures that will contrast these “blobby” areas will bring more clarity to your garden. Here are a few ways you can use contrast in the garden:

  • Color contrast: Combine plants with dark colors and light colors. This can be through blooms (good) or foliage (better)/
    Note: color contrast can be effective (sometimes) but it definitely isn’t a fail-proof method as we learned with ‘black and white’ test.
  • Size contrast: Please little leaves next to big leaves
  • Texture contrast: Pair plants with fluffy foliage and spikey foliage
  • Form contrast: Put a vertical plant form next to a horizontal one.
infographic of how to use contrast when combining plants
The easiest way to combine to plants is by choosing contrasting features. Some of these features are color, texture, leaf size and plant form. Illustration by Pretty Purple Door.

Quick Tip: If you want to learn more, check out my article on using texture in the garden.

The Secret to Beautiful Landscapes

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The key to a beautiful landscape is not actually plants. It’s not color, either. It’s not the hardscape. It’s all the things. It’s what we call “harmony” in the design world!

It’s the bumpy, knotted, old oak tree standing tall and proud, even in the most cold and desolate days of winter. It’s the sound of ornamental grasses rustling in the breeze, stirring up the lovely scents of nearby sage and rosemary. It’s the pops of hot pink poppies in a sea of pale yellow dailies, inviting you to come over and join their party. It’s discovering a beautiful stone sculpture nestled deep into the forest green foliage around the bend.

Ah, harmony in the garden is like an absolute dream come true. Can you see it?

When improving your garden, try to consider the whole space when you make every choice. How do different elements combine & contrast with others? Try to come up with ways to accentuate the positives and diminish the negatives. Try to tie different areas together. Remember: no garden exists in a vacuum! So, you have to consider your space as a whole with every decision you make!

Quick Tip: If you’re ready to start planning your dream landscape, check out my online gardening courses to get a head start.

Finding the Perfect Plant

Always remember that the perfect plant will not ‘cure’ your landscape. When you start to look at your yard as a whole design, instead of as individual plants, that’s when you’ll start to understand that garden design is a form of art and a way to express your creativity.

Gardens are always evolving. They are 3D in nature and can be seen from all different angles in all different seasons. Trees grow up and create shade where there was once sun. Plants sometimes struggle and all of them will eventually die. Your own likes and needs will change. So, you’ll have to work on your landscape over time. And, as these things change you may need to revisit this list, again.

And, that’s the beauty and magic of gardening… so don’t let its impermanent nature discourage you! Create a space that’s as unique as you are. One that makes you smile when you see it. One that changes with the seasons and brings you joy and peace.

What’s Next?

Following the steps above, you’ll be able to uncover the “true” problem areas in your garden. Armed with a plan, you should be in a much better position to update your existing landscape!

If you enjoyed this article and you’re looking for the next steps, I’d highly recommend watching the 3 Gardening Secrets free video training or enrolling in my Design Your 4-Season Garden course.

Here are some articles that may help you, too:

Happy Gardening!


Learn 4 simple, actionable steps to improve your existing landscape, even if you're a beginner at gardening and don't know where to start.
How to start landscaping your yard when you don’t know anything – Pin it for later!
Groundcovers & Vines That Behave In Your Garden

Groundcovers & Vines That Behave In Your Garden

I like to think of classic vines and groundcovers as the icing on the cake when it comes to creating a beautiful 4-season, layered landscape. Often the most overlooked “layer”, an underplanting of classic groundcovers and vines add a finishing touch to your garden by weaving and linking all of the other elements together into a cohesive design.

There’s no denying when the star of the garden is the plants at foot level… and this is how you know you’ve done underplanting the right way. Pictured above: “Black Scallop” Ajuga (Bugleweed)

Underplanting classic groundcovers and vines in your landscape

Clematis Jackmanii Hanging on trellis.

Vines are often an overlooked element in many gardens, but they can provide a finishing touch by linking your garden layers together.

While most of us think of vines climbing lampposts and fences, another effective way to use them is by weaving them into your garden beds! Yes— you can train your vines to grow over your shrubs and into your trees! (Shop for vines online)

By doing this, you can extend the bloom season of both the vine and the tree/shrub you train them on.
Plant summer blooming vines among your spring blooming shrubs. Or try planting two vines with different
bloom seasons on the same fence!

Groundcovers are low-growing or low-spreading plants that spread in masses a foot or so tall. Just like vines, classic groundcovers can help to unify your garden design. As an added bonus, many groundcovers are can adorn your garden with pretty foliage, flowers and even berries. (Shop low-growing groundcovers)

Ground covers also have several benefits for your garden. They can help to smother weeds and keep your plants shady and cool. Classic groundcovers also help your plants to retain water so they don’t dry out as quickly.

Just a friendly warning to choose your groundcovers and vines wisely. Choose only the classics as many varieties can be aggressive and choke out your other plantings. Aggressive varieties require regular corrective weeding to keep them in check… and ain’t nobody got time for that!

Quick Tip: Read my post on landscape layering if you want to learn more about how to design a garden with interest in all 4 seasons of the year!

Classic Vines for your garden

I’m always very wary of vines for your garden. Although they climb and make a beautiful accent, some vines can be very aggressive. I’ve had vines takeover my landscape choking out my bulbs, perennials and even some smaller shrubs! So, use vines with caution. I will only recommend options that are not very aggressive.

Clematis (vine)

The vines I trust the most are clematis. There are many, many varieties that bloom in all different seasons in all different colors. If you’re looking for a beautiful climbing vine that’s non-invasive and non-aggressive vine, the best choice is clematis.

Clematis are beautiful and non-aggressive climbing vines that come in so many different sizes, shapes and colors. The different varieties do well in different situations, and climb to different heights.

Learn how to care for clematis here.

Here are some clematis varieties to try:

Clematis ‘General Sikorski’

Clematis ‘General Sikorski’ in Spring (from my garden)

The large flowered ‘General Sikorski’ adds dramatic color to the garden in late spring and again in early fall. Dark lavender (almost blue) flowers are semi–double blooms during its spring bloom and single during the fall bloom period. Blooms on old and new wood.

Clematis ‘Jackmanii Superba’

Clematis ‘Jackmanii Superba’ blooms closeup

The rich purple, 5” flowers of the popular clematis ‘Jackmanii‘ fade from deep to light purple as they age and bloom profusely midsummer through fall! Jackmanii blooms on new wood so prune back to 24″ or so in late winter or early spring before new growth sprouts.

Clematis ‘Blue Explosion’

Clematis ‘Blue Explosion’ blooms closeup

Blue Explosion blooms with an explosion of 5″ semi-double purple-blue flowers trimmed with pink tips. Lavender single flowers follow. Blooms May-June and again July-September. Prune dead stem tips only in early spring as it blooms on old wood.

Clematis ‘Mrs. N. Thompson’

Clematis Mrs. N. Thompson blooms closeup

Mrs. N. Thompson is a lively clematis climbing vine that will cover up an old fence or dress up a bare lamp post extremely well. Bicolor spiky blooms that resemble a passion flower. Mrs. N. Thompson blooms on both new and old wood so only prune her after blooms have spent.

Clematis ‘Kardynal Wyszyneski’

Clematis ‘Kardynal Wyszyneski’ in full bloom.

An award-winning clematis, Kardynal Wyszyneski is a free-flowering vine with 6-8″ glowing crimson pink flowers highlighted by a centeral cluster of dark anthers. It blooms in June-July and puts on a second show in the fall. Kardynal Wyszyneski blooms on new wood so prune in early spring just above where you see swelling buds.

Clematis ‘Beautiful Bride’

Clematis ‘Beautiful Bride’ blooms closeup

Beautiful Bride gets her name because this vine resembles a wedding gown. This is one of the few clematis vines that will bloom all the way to the ground with enormous white blooms that can reach 10″ across! It blooms in early summer and again with a smaller show in late summer. Beautiful Bride blooms best on old wood so only lightly prune unhealthy stems in spring.

Shop for clematis online

Zones 3-9 | 36-72″ W x 10-12′ H | hardiness zones and size vary by variety!

The best classic groundcovers for your garden

Phlox (groundcover)

Phlox groundcover looks great cascading over stones or the edges of a stone border.

Deer avoid it. Butterflies and hummingbirds can’t stay away! This classic groundcover comes in a variety of colors to make a pretty garden carpet. Just plant phlox and it grows and grows and grows. It looks great cascading over stones or the edges of a stone border.

Purchase phlox today.

Zones 3-9 | 18-24” W x 4-6” H

Sedum (groundcover)

Sedum is easy to grow and one of the most drought-tolerant groundcovers available.

Sedum is a classic groundcover that comes in many sizes and varieties. ‘Autumn Joy’ and ‘Angelina’ are good varieties to look for. Sedum is really easy to grow and one of the most drought-tolerant and classic groundcovers available.

Shop for sedum online.

Zones 4-11 | 18-24″ W(spreading) x 3-24″ H

Creeping Jenny (groundcover)

Creeping Jenny (aka Moneywort) is a chartreuse groundcover offering a great contrast color to other plants and flowers.

Creeping Jenny (aka Moneywort) is a another of the common, classic groundcovers I recommend. Its chartreuse color offers great color contrast to other plants and flowers. A vigorous trailer, Creeping Jenny works well for shady spots in your landscape and ALSO thrives in sunny locations. Use some for your hanging baskets for a great “spill” feature.

Purchase creeping jenny here.

Zones 3-8 | 6″ H (vigorous spreader/trailer)

Ornamental Grasses

You’re in for a treat — a bonus layer beyond perennial plants and flowers are ornamental grasses. Ornamental grasses deliver a lot of bang for the buck. They introduce exciting textures to the garden, along with movement and even sound as they rustle in the breeze. You can count on these beautiful, low-maintenance grasses to add interest to your landscape all year long.

Fescue ‘Elijah Blue’

Elijah Blue Fescue Ornamental Grass
Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’. Photo by Pretty Purple Door.

Elijah Blue Fescue is one of the most popular, no fuss ornamental grasses. The low growing blue-green clumps form in tight mounds making them great for border plantings and adding texture.

Purchase Elijah Blue fescue grass here

Zones 4-9 | 6-12″ W x 6-12″ H | Full Sun

Feather reed grass ‘Karl Foerster’

Feather Reed

A slight breeze will put the 5′ tall, feathery “blooms” in motion adding life to any landscape. Because of its strong vertical growth habit Feather Reed grass maintains its posture even in heavy rain or snow. Deer resistant.

Purchase Karl Foerster Feather Reed today.

Zones 4-9 | 2-3′ W (clumps) x 3-5’ H | Full Sun

Striped tuber oat grass

striped tuber oat grass

One of the brightest ornamental grasses, Striped Tuber Oat Grass is a shade tolerant grass that spreads slowly. Each little blade has white borders with a thin, dark-green line running down the center. As it grows, leaves look nearly white.

Zones 4-9 | 2′ W (clumps) x 2′ H | Shade

Wrapping Up

Classic groundcovers and vines tend to be one of the most underutilized categories when garden planning. But using classic groundcovers and perennial vines in the right way can make your 4-season layered landscape look lush and cohesive.

Vines can be planted within flowering trees and shrubs to extend bloom seasons, while classic groundcovers can be used to smother weeds and cool the soil beneath your other plantings. Not to mention both can adorn your garden with pretty flowers, foliage and even berries! Beware of aggressive varieties of vines and groundcovers, though, as they can easily take over your garden and choke out your other plants.

Remember: Anyone can put tall plants in the back and short plants in the front, but with the use of vines and classic groundcovers you can take your landscape from good to AMAZING.

Read my landscape layering post to learn more about how to create an effective landscape. It will show you how to incorporate trees, shrubs, plants, flowers, vines and classic groundcovers into your garden for 4-season interest.

The best vines & groundcovers to complete your landscape

Keep Reading…

In my perennial garden plan, I’ll go over landscape layering and give you some suggestions for each of the 5 layers:
Layer 1: Ornamental Trees
Layer 2: Evergreen Shrubs
Layer 3: Perennial Deciduous Shrubs
Layer 4: Perennial plants and flowers
Layer 5: Groundcovers, Vines and Grasses

More Gardening Posts For You!