Corners in the Garden
There are corners in my yard garden. With the angular corners of the house and the hardscaping of sidewalks, stairs and patios, there is no avoiding dealing with angular corners that come with buildings but seem out of place in an informal garden. The challenge then becomes how to deal with the inevitable corners so that there is a transition between the manmade and the natural (even if the garden was constructed by a human).
Potted plants placed in corners bring the manmade and natural together as well as obscure awkward or unattractive corners.
In the picture above, this area is an awkward corner at the end of a walk that terminates at the corner of the house. It is far more interesting with a trellis and a couple potted plants. The spot of sun on the hosta was like a spotlight so it caught my attention and made me think about how nice the corner looked with plants in it. That led to wondering how I had coped with various corners in the yard. And that thought led to taking pictures of corners in the garden to compare how they are dealt with. For the potted pansies and hostas, I have to give my husband credit for planting them, but I moved them, just a little.
After the rotted wooden deck in the back yard was replaced with a concrete patio, the area seemed even harder than before and the edges and corners seemed to need definition and softening. This potted bush partially obscures the corners and when the bush gets bigger, it will be more effective.
Cattycorner to the potted bush in the previous picture is a potted clematis vine that serves double duty by being a corner filler and providing a vine to climb the trellis.
There is a mini brick patio between the house and the driveway that has a metal bench. This corner, and the corner at the other end of the patio just needed something green and living to break up the hard lines. These plants might not be the best solution, but the serve well enough for now.
This hosta does a wonderful job of softening the corner between the base of steps and sidewalk. I like how the leaves spill over the walk and step, breaking up the hard lines, adding grace with its curved shapes and distracting the eye from the dull grey concrete with its bright green color.
When this azalea was planted, it was small, scraggly and insignificant looking. Now that it is bigger, it is filling in the space between the corner of the shed and the large oak tree. It along with the plantings at the base of the shed help soften the appearance of the building. At least it will do more so when the hostas get bigger later in the season and the bush gets a few more years growth.
Pictured above is an odd intersection of corners that surround the end of a planting bed. The slate area is the intersection between the stone steps on the right and the just out of view sidewalk on the left. The bird feeder is well placed in that it is easily visible from a comfortable viewing position inside our home as well as providing a visual end marker for the flower bed, and makes a turning point for both of the paths. This is an important turning point for the garden hose too as my husband tends to drag it down the stone steps to water the front lawn area and the hose pivots around the pole, thus minimizing damage to plants in the area.
There are several more areas where plants are used to treat corners of paths.
The entrance to this very short, three stone path is marked by two euonymus bushes, one on either side. They would have looked like sentries, except there is a third one evenly spaced to the right.
At the base of a Crepe Myrtle tree, a yew fills the corner where two path come together. I have resisted filling the small corner in front of the bush since it would just get trampled on by people shortcutting between the two paths. Not every “empty” space needs to be filled with plants.
Now here is a blank or empty space that is waiting for something to make this intersection of three paths less awkward looking. The red stone on the left will probably get a very large and heavy pot placed either on it or to the left side of it. This will help provide a visual distraction and a turning point for the garden hose.
After looking at all these pictures, the theme of how I tend to deal with corners seem to be plants, softening corners with plants.