Category: Flowers and Plants

20 Ways to Work White Magic into Your Lawn

Just like a perfect white coat or a string of pearls, white gardens exude a classic charm. They are classically elegant and never appear to go out of style. If you’re trying to liven up your house or try something new this year, it’s not hard to add a bit of white with flowers, fences and other elements for some oh-so-sweet cabin style, to create a relaxing backyard escape or dress up your front yard.

Wallace Landscape Associates

1. Welcome with whitened. This beautiful entry is balanced with a white flowering dogwood (Cornus kousa, zones 5 to 8) and framed by a split-rail fence. The look is formal but not stuffy, and the fence matches the scale and style of their clapboard buildings.

Denise Dering Design

2. Install a fence for curb appeal. A low fence like this is both playful and appropriate. Filled with roses and fronted with mounding perennials, it creates a welcome entry from the street or sidewalk. The fence can be strung with greens and lights in the winter season.

D’Urso Landscape Design

3. Display a driveway with white pickets. This curved picket fence mitigates unwanted views of cars that may be parked in the driveway, providing the yard a cohesive look. A mix of sun-loving plants softens the hardscape and its exterior.

Milieu Design

4. Top fence panels with lattice. Let’s face it, white fencing can be hard on the eye, therefore soften it with lattice panels like these. Notice the sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora, zones 5 to 9), a fantastic white flowering vine, on the brick pergola.

Frederick + Frederick Architects

5. Mark an entry. Arbors make excellent focal points. As an alternative to traditional wood, which needs regular maintenance, look for structures created out of a white composite material, like Azek, for simple care and durability. Experiment with blossom roses and string white lighting for nighttime garden wayfinding.

Deborah Cerbone Associates, Inc..

6. Build a white pergola. There is nothing like a well-built pergola to offer shade and respite outside. If your house is white, consider a fitting pergola — a bonus room from which to relish the view. Flank it with silver and white plants, framed in a classic boxwood parterre for classical elegance.

Derviss Design

7. Frame a garden room. White rising roses onto an arched metal arbor form a romantic entry to a yard enclosure at this San Francisco home. Light-colored fabrics catch the eye and keep loungers cool in the heat while a backdrop of older cedars helps to make the blooming roses stick out.

8. Make chairs a focus. This set of white sling-back canvas chairs pops out of the dappled shade within this cabin garden in Portland, Oregon, where chic meets hip beneath the green foliage of hostas, azaleas and white variegated brunnera (Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’, zones 3 to 8).

Aiken House & Gardens

9. String a hammock. Got a great deal of colour in your flower borders? White goes with everything, and a traditional rope hammock is a practical means to enjoy the scenery. Additionally, it is easy to take down and store at the close of the season.

Austin Ganim Landscape Design

10. Mix white with water. Classical urns with white chaise longues balance well with the creamy blossoms of smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, zones 3 to 9) within this Connecticut poolside garden.

Paintbox Garden

11. Install a white bench. I really like the elegance and simplicity of this beautiful bench placed beneath mature trees. It’s a work of art, with ornamental appeal, but provides comfort and relaxation.

Barbara Cannizzaro

12. Create a little space feel larger. Short on space? Make it feel somewhat less cramped by employing white, as revealed in this rooftop garden. The crisp fabric of the chair cushion allows for a constant scene change with bold colored cushions, cut flowers and ornamental accents.

Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates

13. Go for classic style. White roses are a girl’s best friend (or is that diamonds?)) . Whatever your taste, a lush urn overflowing with blossoms can make the heart swell. And did I mention the scent?

Westover Landscape Design, Inc..

14. Grace a doorway with climbers. White clematis proves with style. Give it support and shade its origins with smaller plants around the bottom of the container, like variegated sedge (Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’) or trendy chartreuse coleus.

Paintbox Garden

15. Mount a white birdhouse at a flower border. A whimsical birdhouse makes a fantastic companion to snowy lilies, garden phlox (Phlox paniculata ‘David’) and smooth hydrangeas within this coastal Maine garden.

Verdance Landscape Design

16. Anchor tall plantings. In this San Francisco garden, white tulips lend a pristine formality into a brick-edged, curved rock walkway. Punctuated with columnar evergreens, the look is bright and understated, and can be readily switched once the flowers fade.

Westover Landscape Design, Inc..

17. Fill a room with shrubs. Utilize panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, zones 3 to 8) with frothy Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macro ‘Aureola’) to display a fence and create a complete border with a great deal of visual attention.

Genus Loci Ecological Landscapes Inc..

18. Build a border. When designing white, keep in mind that trees deliver big impact, as shown in this Toronto garden, that has a line of white birch put against a construction as a thoughtful display with harmonious repetition.

19. Design for seasonal impact. In Vancouver, Washington, a stately grid of white flowering trees lends timeless appeal to a formal garden parterre centered around one blue focus. The look is fresh and pure, crisp and deliberately controlled — sophistication redefined.

Paintbox Garden

20. Use plants. White variegated brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’) is one of the best perennials for Growing shade, and its blue flowers are a joy.

Plant guides: Find white flowers for your own climate

More: What To Do in Your Garden Now

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Great Design Plant: Chinese Lantern

Celebrate the delicate, pendulous blossoms that hang against Chinese lantern’s foliage, and you’re going to wonder if this shrub was adorned with handmade paper decorations. Commonly viewed as a potted houseplant, Abutilon hybrids are making the transition outside. And while they hold their leaves yearlong, the seasonal floral screen is without doubt worth loving outdoors. What better way to decorate the patio for summer and spring?


Botanical name: Abutilon x hybridum (name given to hybrid type)
Common names: Chinese lantern, flowering maple, Chinese bellflower
USDA zones: 9 to 11; many can tolerate temperatures down to 25 degrees Fahrenheit (find your zone)
Water necessity: moderate to regular water, particularly in summertime
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: Up to 8 to 10 feet tall and broad
Gains: Attracts hummingbirds and bees
Seasonal interest: Flowers spring and summertime
When to plant: Plant softwood cuttings after the threat of frost has passed in spring.
Caution: The leaves are poisonous if ingested.

Revealed: Abutilon x hybridum ‘Vesuvius Red’

Missouri Botanical Garden

Revealed: Abutilon x hybridum ‘Bella Red’


Distinguishing traits. Soft, bright green leaves, very similar to those of a maple, cover the tree yearlong.

Delicate, papery lanterns hang against the foliage, in hues from yellow and white to pink and crimson. Most species bloom spring through the summer, though some flower almost nonstop.

Loose and pendulous in shape, Chinese lantern rapidly increases to its mature size — hybrids are available from dwarf to normal heights.

Revealed: Abutilon x hybridum ‘Albus’

Missouri Botanical Garden


The best way to utilize it. Chinese lantern is commonly grown as a houseplant, making it the nickname “parlor maple,” but I prefer seeing it outside, weather permitting.

In temperate climates plant it in which your garden receives morning sun and dappled afternoon shade, and permit the plant to arch and disperse within a casual screen.

If chilly winters prohibit your retaining Chinese lantern outside year-round, grow it like a potted plant instead, bringing it inside until the frost. Some gardeners even develop Chinese lantern as a yearly.

Revealed: Abutilon x hybridum ‘Cascade Dawn’

The Garden Route Company

Planting notes. In cooler, coastal climates, Chinese lantern can tolerate more sun and less summertime water. In hotter areas offer morning sun and dappled afternoon shade — keep it sheltered from extreme sunlight. Plant it into well-drained soil and be sure to mulch, particularly in warmer climates.

While the plant reaches maturity quickly, it has the tendency to get leggy; legginess can be controlled with pruning in early spring, prior to blooming. Pruning maintains a rounded form and retains the size more compact. It is also possible to pinch plants to encourage fullness.

Chinese lantern prefers monthly fertilizing once new growth begins, but it might create leaves rather than flowers if too much is used; it has the tendency to shed leaves if not fed enough. Control scale and whitefly.

Revealed: Abutilon x hybridum ‘Patricia’

Photo by Stan Shebs

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