Garden Ideas

Plants always look good in the garden centres, but it's difficult to decide how to combine them to good effect in your own garden. This page is here to help with planting ideas and suggestions.  

Starting with the three images above.

1. A simple but effective idea, Santolina grouped around a stone. Santolina is an easy to grow small shrub which originates from the Mediterranean, which means prefers a dry spot other than which Santolina is not fussy about the soil and will grow on poor soil. 

2. It can also be very effective to group the same plants together as in the centre image with ferns on mass.

3. In the image far right shows an effective plant combination. This is a bright spring combination of Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald 'n' Gold'  an easy to grow evergreen shrub combined with Aquilegia 'swan lavender',  a spring flowering herbaceous perennial, and the third plant is a yellow rhododendron luteum, which is scented . All are easy to grow plants which will really brighten up the border. 

In some gardens, repetition of the same plant can create a strong theme, as in the middle image. Steps and paths can be softened by planting, Obelisks can provide extra height. Gardening is all about personal preferences in terms of plant types and colour combination.  Roses are beautiful, but few of us have the time to devote to growing them and we need more practical solutions.

Grasses and late flower alliums

Repeat themes

Repeating the same plants or a limited number can be an effective planting combination. In this image, Fountain grass,  Pennisetum alopecuroides ' has been planted around a water feature to good effect. 

Alliums are often used in a repeat theme providing continuity of colour and height in the border, such as in Beninbrough Hall gardens illustrated on the Alliums page.


Grasses and late flower alliums

Planting Combinations

There are endless plant combinations depending on your preferences, whether contrasting plants or colour themed. With plant combinations remember when putting ideas together, to check flowering times. Even between varieties of the same flower, the flowering time can greatly.

For example, this image shows a combination of grasses with Allium. Alliums are known as a late spring flowering plant, but for this combination it is essential to pick one of the  late summer flowering variety of Allium, such as Allium sphaerocephalon, which is illustrated. 

  ,Take a look at these pages with various good planting combinations :  Best Grey and Silver foliage plants, Spring planting ideas  Summer planting ideas    

Lavender path

How to create a lavender path

Lavender is lovely along a path. It softens the hard landscaping and the Lavender plant will naturally release it's scent when brushed against making it idea for paths.  There are many varieties of lavender with varying shades and in the right conditions it is easy to grow. Tips on how grow Lavender and create a lavender path

Ivy leaved toad flax on steps

Plants for steps, and crevices

Steps and stones can look good with plants growing in crevices. If you have dry conditions, Erigeron is ideal and once established self seeds wildly. In wetter. more shaded condition. The ivy leaves toad flax shown in the image, which is a common wild flower, will establish itself in crevices and look very attractive.

This is also true of Thymus which, being a Mediterranean plant dry conditions and will grow in poor soil which is often the case in small crevices. Thyme is a traditional plant for growing in paths.


Climbing plants are ideal to cover fences, and to add height trained up an obelisk and extra colour in the border. The image left is Passiflora caerulea an easy to grow climber. There are many " patio" Clematis suitable for growing up a shorter obelisk and I have several permanent obelisk set in the borders to add in climbing plants.

Ideas for easy to grow 10 best climbing plants for your garden

last updated 23.9.2020