Garden Design

Privacy is a goal many gardeners have in mind when landscaping their backyard. But many people limit themselves to planting boxing hedges or a row of monotonous trees. When landscape designer Austin Eischeid came across this property in Carroll, Iowa, he was tasked with creating a backyard garden from scratch while shielding the property from neighbors and a nearby busy road. His solution was to plant a long border with impressive height that anchored the edge of the yard. He did this not by planting on a berm, but by layering plants in such a way that taller and broader plants grew in the middle of the bed, surrounded by shorter plants on all sides.

Some of the larger plants he used in the middle of the bed include ‘Autumn Brilliance’ serviceberry (Amelanchier × grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’, Zones 4–9) and ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, Zones 5–9). A few midsize plants that serve to transition from the larger to the smaller plants include ‘Purple Smoke’ baptisia (Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’, Zones 3–9) and ‘Dancing Wind’ big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii ‘Dancing Wind’, Zones 3–9). Smaller plants make up the edges of the border and shorter beds around the patio, including ‘Halfway to Arkansas’ bluestar (Amsonia ciliata ‘Halfway to Arkansas’, Zones 5–9) and ‘Hummelo’ betony (Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’, Zones 4–8).

Many of the plants chosen for this garden feature shades of brown, red, and/or purple running through their foliage or flowers. This perfectly complements the mauve and mahogany colors running through the structures and furniture on the patio. The shrubs and perennials chosen also feature textured and intricate seed heads and foliage that can stand through the winter, providing privacy and enduring beauty during the off-season. Four-season interest is crucial in a long border that is so much the center of the backyard. Privacy was expertly achieved in this space with a low-maintenance, beautiful garden that provides much more dynamic appeal than a boring row of trees or shrubs ever could.

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