Creative Landscaping Ideas

These mix-and-match landscape designs spark nontraditional creative ideas for your outdoor grass and garden spaces.

Using contrasting elements within one design can highlight the beauty of both: These mix-and-match designs demonstrate that foliage, grasses, flowers, and hard landscaping can look at their most exciting when used in creative combinations with each other.

1. Formal Contrasts

Informal drifts of meadow-like long grass and flowering borders make an attractive contrast to this garden's closely mown pathway. The longer grass should not be a vigorous type, and any that overhangs the path will need to be cut back regularly, otherwise it will kill the short grass — this will not look good in the winter when the taller plants die back and expose it. The path will need regular mowing.

2. Raised Turf

This design contrasts colors, shapes, and textures for a striking effect. The formal squares of lawn are raised on blocky slate structures and are surrounded with a soft floral display of pink bedding flowers — as though the grass and bedding have swapped places. The pencil-shaped evergreen cypress trees create upright punctuation within the design and offer an extra textural quality to the space.

Garden Blocks and Pink Floral Groundcover

Lawn Squares in Raised Beds

© 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover View original photo.

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover, © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

3. Clumps of Groundcover

The soft, crinkled foliage and lime-green color of these tiny, clump-forming alpines form a lovely textural contrast with the blades of grass in the lawn and the large, strap-like plants in the background. The tiny white flowers add additional interest to the border, making the alpines look like floral pincushions among the other plants.

4. Geometric Cubes

This unusual, abstract design features turf cut into a square geometric patchwork and wire cubes that have been covered with the spreading groundcover plant known as mind-your-own-business (Soleirolia soleirolii). Its tiny foliage creates an interesting patchwork when contrasted with the blades of grass in the lawn. Mind-your-own-business will form dense carpets of matted foliage and will scramble over the wire framework and bricks. Although it can tolerate sun or shade, it prefers moist conditions and therefore needs frequent watering until established.

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