June 2015
No matter how much you love your neighbors, a sense of privacy is key to feeling comfortable in your outdoor space. Brooklyn, NY architect Lynn Gaffney hits the sweet spot between solitude and MYOB by enclosing this outdoor room with two different widths of lath spaced apart and set horizontally, partially topped with a trellis roof. Adding climbing ivy, a clipped boxwood hedge and a potted Oshio-Beni Japanese maple helps to absorb sound. Very neighborly, indeed. Photo credit: Lynn Gaffney

So happy together

Get a bigger bang by using the thick stems of mature, vigorous vines such as grapewisteriapassionflower and large climbing roses like Lady Banksas a framework on which another, finer-stemmed vine like clematis or honeysuckle can twine. Ensure both plants have similar soil, water and sunlight needs, and provide a substantial structure on which to climb. Tips here.

C'mon over

What’s better than entertaining alfresco surrounded by showy plants such as Stormy Night fuchsia, Stained Glass hosta, and cranesbill geranium, lush trees and, of course, family and friends! Designer Shirley Bovshow offers-up evergreen advice for making outdoor spaces no one will want to leave.

Living Fences

Block unwelcome views or a create a welcome sense of enclosure with a hedge of dense, moderate-to-fast growing shrubs such as Emerald Colonnade® holly, a new male evergreen holly, fragrant olive (Osmanthus), Green Tower® Boxwood, or Ember Waves™ Western Arborvitae. Great planting tips here.

Street cred

Looking for a tree that’s impressive but isn’t a headache for the neighbors? Aoyagi Japanese maple, Golden Rain tree and Centennial Spirit crape myrtle are smaller, moderately-fast growers that don’t have invasive roots or tendency for broken branches. These, along with Timeless Beauty® desert willow, thrive in warmer zones.

Weekend DIY

Before you plant up your new terracotta pots with delicious herbs like Hot & Spicy oregano, water-wise succulents or flowering, fragrant Fat Bud French lavender give them some instant age and patina with simple techniques from mossy to limewash.

I'm neutral

Plants with silvery or gray foliage are good neighbors cooling down hot reds, yellows, and oranges while warming-up soft blues, pale pinks, and whites. Try lavender cotton with nandinaGreen Globe artichokes and Home Run® pink rose or a stand of Little Ollie® dwarf olive against a red brick wall.