A successful outdoor garden is not only a hobby, a food source or a work of art, but it is also a social space landscaped for the gardener and her family. Your garden should reflect the colors and styles that appeal to you every bit as much as your house does. Even if you can only grow a small garden, let it be inspired by big ideas.
Your garden is not only a space to enjoy the sunlight during the day, but it can also be a space to relax from the stresses of the day after the sun goes down. Get your garden night-ready with proper lighting. Line paths and patios with solar-powered lights to provide ecological light in the first hours after dark. Illuminate small trees and other feature plants with uplighting by placing a light at the base of the plant and shining it upward. Use elevated lights to downlight larger sections of the garden, such as your flowerbeds. Stock your garden patio with candles, oil lamps or even a fire pit in the summer to create the natural warmth of flickering firelight.
If you would like to give your garden an aquatic feel but don't have the space for a pond, plant a water container garden instead. According to My Great Home, you can grow an acquatic garden in a tub, half barrel, terra cotta planter or other waterproof container with a depth and maximum width of at least 1 1/2 feet. Fill your container with water and plant a single water lilly, teacup lotus or other feature plant in a pot filled with aquatic soil. Cover the soil with aquarium gravel and carefully lower the pot to the bottom of the water. Add water lettuce or another floating plant on the surface of the water. If you have the room, pot and sink a cattail or other above-the-surface plant to complete your miniature garden. Put your garden on a level surface in bright sunlight.
Movable Tropical Garden
If you live in a cool climate with harsh winters but you crave tropical plants, make an outdoor tropical container garden. Plant tropical bulbs, such as elephant ear and angel's trumpet, and vines such as jasmine and passionflower in pots rather than directly in your garden. Arrange them aboveground like a normal container garden or bury them in the soil to create the illusion of a permanent garden. In fall, as the frost approaches, take them inside and overwinter them near bright windowsills. This way, you can have a tropical garden year after year without starting from scratch.