Landscaping With Hydrangeas

Line a garden path, tame an eroding slope, or tuck them into fairy gardens—hydrangeas are versatile and easy to grow in your landscape. 

Photo By: Courtesy of Proven Winners

Photo By: Image courtesy of Julie Taylor Fitzgerald, American Hydrangea Society

Photo By: Courtesy of Proven Winners

Photo By: Image courtesy of HGTV RMS user Barry Block

Photo By: Image courtesy of Julie Taylor Fitzgerald, American Hydrangea Society

Photo By: Image courtesy of Julie Taylor Fitzgerald, American Hydrangea Society

Photo By: Image courtesy of Julie Taylor Fitzgerald, American Hydrangea Society

Photo By: Image courtesy of Julie Taylor Fitzpatrick, American Hydrangea Society

Photo By: Image courtesy of Julie Taylor Fitzgerald, American Hydrangea Society

Photo By: Courtesy of Proven Winners

Photo By: Image courtesy of Julie Taylor Fitzgerald, American Hydrangea Society

Photo By: Image by Julie Taylor Fitzgerald, American Hydrangea Society

Photo By: Image courtesy of Julie Taylor Fitzgerald, American Hydrangea Society

Hydrangeas in Fairy Gardens

At just 30 to 36 inches tall, dwarf hydrangeas like 'Bobo' are a great choice for fairy gardens. Grow them in a secluded nook, so visitors will feel as if they've discovered an enchanted spot. Add low-growing plants and ground covers, or let moss make a natural carpet in a wooded garden.

Hydrangeas as a Hedge

For privacy, plant a hedge of hydrangeas like these blue mopheads. But remember: These deciduous shrubs lose their leaves in fall, so you may want to grow them with boxwoods or other evergreens. Hydrangea macrophylla grows about 4 to 6 feet tall, paniculatas reach 10 to 15 feet and quercifolias max out at 8 to 9 feet.

Hydrangeas in Perennial Beds

Perk up perennial beds and borders in your landscape with hydrangeas that keep the blooms coming. 'Quick Fire' flowers up to a month before other hydrangeas; the white blooms gradually turn pink and become dark rose-pink by fall.

Hydrangea Path

To create a path, plant hydrangeas close together and let them led visitors to a garden gate, porch, deck or other area. These 'Tardiva' and 'Annabelle' hydrangeas can be pruned to keep them from blocking the view from the home's windows.

Hydrangeas In Dry Areas

Use hydrangeas with vivid colors to brighten up dry or drab areas in your landscape. They need more water than most shrubs, so you may want to add an irrigation system to keep them happy—however, they don't like soggy soil and need good drainage. These hydrangeas are sited just above a dry stream bed, so they won't drown when it rains.

Hydrangeas as Foundation Plants

Low-maintenance hydrangeas make good foundation plants, with showy flowers that are easily seen even from a distance. But you may want to mix them with other shrubs if you don't like their bare fall and winter branches. Choose hydrangeas that won't outgrow your space and consider the exposure before you plant. Most hydrangeas like morning sun and afternoon shade in hot climates.

Hydrangeas as a Focal Point

Create a focal point in your landscape with a colorful hydrangea in a special urn or other container. Place it against a garden wall, at the end of a path or in front of a backdrop of greenery.

Hydrangeas On Slopes

If you've got a slope that's difficult to mow or one that erodes when it rains, let hydrangeas help. Unless you simply want to control their size, most seldom need pruning. Their huge flowers also soften brick or stone retaining walls and help set off their architectural beauty.

Hydrangeas in Formal Beds

While hydrangeas are ideal for cottage-style or woodland gardens, they also work well with the neat, geometric lines of formal beds. The color palette in this garden—silvery, white, and shades of green—helps it feel subdued and controlled.

Hydrangeas as Specimen Plants

Grown by themselves in a lawn or garden, hydrangeas make spectacular specimen plants. Just make sure you choose hydrangeas that can handle the sun if shade is lacking, and keep them watered and mulched. Panicle hydrangeas (Hydranga paniculata), like 'Limelight' (pictured) are the most sun-tolerant of the species.

Hydrangeas with Garden Structures

Flowering hydrangeas make a pretty "skirt" around the legs of gazebos and other garden structures. If they're placed at the edge of lawns, they can also help ease the transition from the manicured grass to a woodland or more naturalized setting. Climbing hydrangeas are perfect for adding shade to an arbor or pergola.

Hydrangeas as Garden Rooms

Use hydrangeas to help define outdoor living spaces. These small shrubs add color to an intimate dining nook. Larger hydrangeas can enclose much bigger garden rooms.

Hydrangeas in Woodland Settings

Shade-loving hydrangeas thrive in woodland settings, but avoid planting them too close to trees so they don't have to compete for water. Landscape around them with hostas, native plants or spring-flowering bulbs that emerge before the trees leaf out.