Shortcuts to a Backyard Makeover
Cover Bare Patches in Your Garden in an Instant
No matter how strategically you plan your garden, there's always that sad stretch of time when there isn't a blossom in sight. Here's what you do: When you're at the grocery store or the garden center, pick up four to six hanging plastic baskets of bright, noncascading perennials or annuals in full bloom (or buy one to two per 10 square feet of space). Daisies (shown here), scaevolas, and geraniums are hearty options that are widely available . Remove the hangers and nestle the flowers―baskets and all―among the foliage of plants not in bloom (the plastic containers are usually shallow enough to be hidden in leafy, mulched beds). The baskets can pinch-hit all season: Just move them around to fill in other barren patches as needed.
Create an Outdoor Water Garden
Water has a calming effect, and you can set up a water garden in a few minutes. Fill a metal pail or washtub with floating candles; low-maintenance aquatic plants, such as water lettuce, or delicate glass baubles.
Use Plants for Backyard Privacy
Gather potted plants from around the garden to create a living screen. Experiment with tall varieties, such as ornamental grasses, and flowering plants, such as bacopa and begonia. You'll be rewarded with privacy, shelter from wind, and the beautiful aroma of blooms and foliage around you.