In the southern United States, homeowners take great pride in their gardens. Popular plants like azalea, dogwood, redbud and magnolia add a distinctive southern flavor to a landscape. Finding ideas for a southern garden is as easy as riding down a few streets in a well-cared-for neighborhood. Knowing which plants to use and how is the key to creating a true southern garden.
Choose Plants Carefully
One of the first steps is deciding how much time you have to spend caring for plants, and choosing them accordingly. It's important to study your yard to determine where you have sun or shade and to find out your USDA hardiness zone to be sure that your desired plants are viable in your area. Observing other yards in the vicinity will give you an idea about what plants do and don't thrive in your conditions. A locally owned nursery where employees are knowledgeable of local plants and growing conditions is a good source for advice and recommendations.
Curves Instead of Straight Lines
Curving borders soften a landscape, and a southern garden should be easy on the eye. Most southern gardens are less formal, so harsh, straight lines and box-shaped beds are reserved for vegetables. A meandering pathway can be used to lead visitors on a leisurely stroll through the garden. Border plants such as liriope are popular to define bed shapes.
Different plants bloom at different times, so using a mixture of bulbs, annuals and perennials will ensure that you always have color in the garden. When showy spring-blooming plants have faded, later-blooming perennials and seasonal annuals can keep the landscape fresh and lively. Layering bulbs is a method for ensuring sequential blooming in bulb beds.
Naturalize Unused Areas
The South has some beautiful and easy-to-grow native plants that can be used for naturalization in uncultivated areas. Drought-tolerant non-native plants and groundcovers can be used to create a low-maintenance woodland setting. Include flowering plants for spring and fall with various shades of green for summer. Interesting deciduous plants will enhance the winter landscape.