You can't go wrong with these flawless recipes for a beautiful garden.
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Selecting the right combination of outdoor plants for your front yard or garden is tricky business. First, you have to know which plants will look good together. Then, you have to make sure they will grow well together. Figuring out coordinating colors, heights, desired soil type, sun preferences, and watering schedules is a lot of boxes to check. Fortunately, the plant pros at Monrovia have already cracked the code. Here, Justin Hancock, Horticultural Craftsman at Monrovia, suggests five foolproof plant combinations that always look spectacular. Plus, with specific plant recommendations for sunny spots, shaded areas, and those who want a high-contrast design, you can be sure to choose the garden recipe that works best for your outdoor space.

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garden with pink hydrangea
Credit: Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

1 For Shaded Areas: Pink Hydrangea + Osmanthus + Pittosporum

Pink Splendor Hydrangea, Goshiki Osmanthus, and Cream de Mint Pittosporum combine to beautify and brighten shaded spots. The creamy-white variegation in the osmanthus and pittosporum, plus the soft pink hydrangea blooms, practically sparkle in the shade. They also work well creating garden layers—low-growing pittosporum in the front, hydrangeas in the middle, and taller osmanthus in the back.

garden with hydrangea and hostas plants
Credit: Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

2 For High Contrast: Hydrangea + Japanese Maple + Hosta

Seaside Serenade Cape Lookout, Martha's Vineyard, and Cape May Hydrangeas are natural companions for hostas; their leaf shapes complement one another while the big, fluffy hydrangea flowers add contrast. Boost the contrast—both in color and texture—with purple Japanese Maple, like Crimson Queen.

plants for sunny spot, salvia and lamb's ear
Credit: Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

3 For Sunny Spots: Salvia + Flower Carpet Rose + Lamb's Ear

For hot, sunny spots, it's tough to beat the bold colors of VIBE Ignition Purple Salvia and Flower Carpet Red Groundcover Rose. Both have an exceptionally long flowering season and hold up all summer long. We're fans of designing with silver foliage because it goes with everything. Here, for example, Silver Carpet Lamb's Ear adds a softness and elegance to its plant partners. It also thrives in all-day sun.

garden with boxwood, yellow roses, and juniper
Credit: Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

4 Vertical Design: Shrub Rose + Boxwood + Columnar Juniper

Grace N' Grit Yellow Shrub Rose shines when planted with just about anything because of its soft color and nonstop procession of blooms. Here, it beautifies a pairing of mounding Green Beauty Boxwood and upright Green Columnar Juniper. The juniper helps draw the eye up and provides a contrasting feathery texture with its fine needles.

plants that attract pollinators, viburnum and salvia
Credit: Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

5 For the Birds and Bees: Viburnum + Salvia + Thuja

This beautiful plant trio looks great in the garden, and attracts wildlife, too. Salvias like Little Night are excellent providers for pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Sparkler Arrowwood Viburnum also attracts pollinators when it blooms in early summer, then feeds songbirds with its blue berries in fall and winter. Emerald Green Arborvitae offers habitat for songbirds to nest or hide from predators.

RELATED: 7 Stunning Flowers That Will Attract Butterflies to Your Garden