How to Design with Garden Accents

Plant Supports as Garden Accents

Arbors and pergolas are sturdy supports, often used for growing massive grapevines, wisteria, and trumpet vines. They can be used as a focal point at the end of a walkway and to provide shade and privacy in narrow spaces where you do not want to plant trees.

Create a shade garden without trees by planting under a vine-covered arbor. Shade gardens can feature serene blends of ferns, hostas, and woodland wildflowers, plus a few dazzling bloomers such as azaleas and rhododendrons. Although these plants usually grow amid trees and shrubs, they can thrive in shadows cast by other structures-walls, fences, houses, or a vine-covered arbor. The advantage of an arbor shade garden is that fewer roots are competing for moisture and nutrients. And unlike a planting close to a wall or building, the arbor shade garden has plenty of fresh air circulation. In addition, an arbor looks great when clad in flowers and handsome foliage.

Add height to a perennial border with annual or perennial vines on wire cages, tepees, or scrims. All kinds of eclectic treasures can be used. When you want a dynamic high point for a flower garden, an upward-trained vine will be effective throughout the growing season and sometimes beyond. In contrast, many of the tallest perennials reach their maximum height only when in flower, which may last for just a few weeks. Here are some support options to consider:

  • Wire cages: These work like tomato cages but can be made from wire mesh in any height or shape. A narrow, upright pillar shape is elegant in a formal garden.
  • Tepees: Make a support of angled posts tied together at the top. Plant one or several vines at the base and let them twine up and fill out to cover each post.
  • Scrims: These are open-structured, see-through supports that vines can climb and still provide a veiled view of the scene beyond. With imagination, scrims can be made of braided wire or other creative materials.

Flowers and plants may be the centerpiece of your garden, but it's the accents that frame your masterpiece, and give your design a place to shine.Want more information on creating a garden? Try: