A theme garden is a garden where plants and structures come together to make a statement. Examples are a Western theme, with cactus and wagon wheels, butterfly gardens with flowers and art with a butterfly motif or a garden with the same colors throughout, such as copper. A copper garden has distinctive structures or ornaments, such as wind chimes, containers or statues that are the color of copper, as well as plants and foliage that complement the copper-colored decor.
Locate a place for your copper garden that is well-drained and receives dappled shade or full sun. There are plants with copper-colored foliage that work well in sunny or shady locations, but few plants grow well in both sun and shade. Or, choose a location that has some parts in full sun with six hours or more of sunshine exposure daily and other parts partially in dappled shade. Avoid areas of total shade.
Choose plants appropriate for the location. Some plants may have copper-colored foliage all season or only in the fall, and some may have orange or copper-colored flowers. Some examples of plants for a shady copper garden are coleus (Coleus blumei), copper plant (Acalypha wilkesiana) and copper leaf (Chrysothemis pulchella). Examples of plants with copper-colored foliage for sunny locations are canna lily Wyoming, copper beech tree (Fagus sylvatica), hibiscus Copper Queen (Hibiscus x moscheutos) and sun-tolerant coleus.
Clear the chosen location for your copper garden of all grass, weeds and other debris. Loosen the soil to a depth of 8 inches with a shovel or hoe. Spread a 1- to 2-inch layer of compost over the planting area, along with the amount of organic granulated fertilizer recommended on the fertilizer container label. Work the compost and fertilizer into the top 2 to 3 inches of soil. Rake the area smooth.
Install copper-colored art and copper structures in the planting area, keeping in mind the eventual height of the surrounding plants. You want the copper structures to remain visible during the growing season. Fill copper-colored flowerpots with potting soil and add plants with copper foliage or orange flowers. Orange flowers accent the copper-colored foliage and artwork. Arrange the pots where you can easily see and maintain them.
Plant copper-colored plants in the garden. Plant taller-growing plants in the back and behind the copper art, structures and pots. Plant smaller plants in the front or along the sides of the copper garden. Don't crowd plants so much that you won't be able to see or appreciate them as elements. Add a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch around the plants to create a finished and professional look. Water the copper garden well, keeping it evenly moist, but not wet, during the growing season.