13 Hellstrip Solutions

Brighten up your curb appeal and entryway by adding color, beauty and function to your once-ignored hellstrip.

Photo By: Evelyn Hadden

Photo By: Carmen Johnston

Photo By: Joshua McCullough

Photo By: Joshua McCullough

Photo By: Joshua McCullough

Photo By: Evelyn J. Hadden

Photo By: Evelyn J. Hadden

Photo By: Evelyn J. Hadden

Photo By: Joshua McCullough

Photo By: Evelyn J. Hadden

Photo By: Joshua McCullough

Photo By: Joshua McCullough

Photo By: Lori Johnston

Colorful Hellstrip Garden

Even a small plot of land can add beauty in all seasons and serve as a pollinator habitat, says Evelyn J. Hadden, author of Hellstrip Gardening.This waterwise hellstrip garden in Boise, Idaho, features yucca, lavender, and both white and yellow flowering varieties of buckwheat (Eriogonum). 

Hellstrip Filled with Flowering Plants

Hellstrips are a simple solution for making a walkway more welcoming, says Carmen Johnston, owner of Carmen Johnston Gardens and Nectar & Co. in Georgia. She believes the big beautiful blooms, like this hellstrip she saw in Fairhope, Ala., are just as essential as the path they border. The walkway helps guests get where they are going, but hellstrips help them get there with a smile on their face, she says.

Raised Beds in Hellstrip Garden

When growing curbside edibles, raised beds can add fresh soil to avoid heavy metals or particulates that have deposited over many years but don’t dissipate. This hellstrip garden, featured in the book, Hellstrip Gardening, is in Portland, Ore.

Formal Hellstrip Garden with Geometric Design

A formal design, with crisp edges, geometric shapes and symmetry across the sidewalk, makes this Portland, Ore., hellstrip worthy of slowing down and stopping to take a look. The garden is featured in the book, Hellstrip Gardening (Timber Press).

Hellstrip Garden with Silver Salvia and Sedum

Limiting the color palette can add elegance and unity to a hellstrip and make choosing plants easier. This Seattle hellstrip garden, featured in the book,Hellstrip Gardening, boasts big-leaved silver sage (Salvia argentea), feathery Artemisia schmidtiana ‘Silver Mound’, blooming lamb's ear (Stachys byzantina) and tiny Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’.

Waterwise Plants in Hellstrip Garden

This 800-foot-long demonstration hellstrip designed by Lauren Springer Ogden and Scott Ogden in Colorado features waterwise plants, including red and yellow flowered pineleaf Penstemon (P. pinifolius) and Blue of the Heavens (Allium azureum).

Waterwise Hellstrip

A hellstrip is an opportunity to establish a xeric, or waterwise, zone by using plants that won't need irrigation, says Evelyn J. Hadden, author of Hellstrip Gardening. Tough plants can be beautiful too, as a border in Evanston, Wyo., uses varieties of yarrow (Achillea millefolium). 

Hellstrip Vegetable Garden with Flowers

Hellstrips with vegetable gardens can include flowers for season-long beauty and better productivity. Annual hellstrip plantings can lie fallow under piled winter snow, then be planted fresh in spring, says author Evelyn J. Hadden, whose book, Hellstrip Gardening, features this St. Paul, Minn., hellstrip. She suggests using a winter mulch to protect soil from erosion.

Hellstrip Garden Groundcover

Even a tiny strip can be filled with plants, a more nature-friendly choice than gravel or wood chips, says Evelyn J. Hadden, author of Hellstrip Gardening. A no-mow variegated sedge (Carex morrowii ‘Silver Sceptre’), in Newton Lower Falls, Mass., shows an great alternative to needy lawn. 

Liriope in Hellstrip

Liriope is an easy alternative to an unhealthy hellstrip lawn because it needs no mowing, feeding or watering in much of the country, says Evelyn J. Hadden, author of Hellstrip Gardening.

Bulbs in Hellstrip Garden

Hardy small bulbs enliven plantings in challenging places, including hellstrips, says Evelyn J. Hadden, author of Hellstrip Gardening.

Hellstrip Groundcover

Under street trees, replace resource-hogging plants with low-care groundcover plants, such as Geranium Macrorrhizum, or bigroot geranium, suggests Evelyn J. Hadden, author of Hellstrip Gardening.

Hellstrip Garden with Tomato Plant and Herbs

As vegetable gardening grows in popularity, the hellstrip may be the only space and a sunny spot for homeowners in urban areas to grow herbs and small plants, says Evelyn J. Hadden, author of Hellstrip Gardening.