Landscaping around a bay window offers gardeners a chance to experiment with a combination of annuals and perennials, vines, shrubs and flowers, sunshine and shade, all in a single location. The key to bay window landscaping is installing a semi-permanent backdrop of a tall grass or low-growing shrubs, while adding layers of color and texture in front of the backdrop and all around the window frame. Add a few garden features to attract birds, and your bay window will become a focal point of activity, inside and out.
Plan a four-season landscape display for your bay window. Choose a combination of perennial and annual plantings not only for their tolerance to the sun or shade conditions around your bay window, but also for their colors, textures and fragrances.
Prepare the soil under your bay window with a deep tilling in early spring. Sprinkle a one-inch layer of compost on the tilled soil. Work it in with your hands.
Select a low-growing evergreen shrub, such as a dwarf English boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffrucitosa’) to fill in the space directly beneath the bay window close to the house foundation. This boxwood loves the shade and will spread its deep green foliage horizontally to provide a backdrop for more colorful blooming plants in the foreground.
Select a carpet of spring-blooming forget-me-nots in a combination of pinks, whites and blues to provide early color beneath your bay window each year. Interplant with perennial Stella D’Oro daylilies (Hemerocallis ‘Stella D’Oro.’) The daylilies will present profuse, cheerful yellow blooms for weeks after the forget-me-nots have faded.
Frame your bay window with a climbing, flowering vine such as clematis or morning glory. Train the vine as it grows by gently securing its tendrils to clear suction hooks spaced every few feet. Allow the vine to hug the window-frame and provide people inside the house with a view of visiting hummingbirds.
Plant a border of pink-blooming shrub roses if your bay window is in full sun. The low-growing fairy rose (Rosa ‘The Fairy’) creates an eye-catching display when planted on either side of the bay window to frame a swath of Japanese silvergrass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’), also a sun-lover.
Add garden features to the landscape to keep activity outside of the bay window in focus all year long. Install a low-lying bird bath on one side of the window, spaced about two-to-three feet in front of the window. Place a tall, narrow bird house and feeder on the other side of the bay window, across from the bird bath.