Sturdy Plants for Yards and Gardens

Yards and gardens that are home to energetic children need plants that can put up with a bit of abuse. No use planting delicate flowers if you are going to get upset every time they get hit by a football!

Dramatic Draping of Cotoneaster Horizontalis

Dramatic Draping of Cotoneaster Horizontalis

Cotoneaster horizontalis  are incredibly tough. The fall foliage of its shiny leaves ranges from reddish orange to burgundy. Light pink blooms of late spring yield to equally shiny red berries.

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Cotoneaster horizontalis  are incredibly tough. The fall foliage of its shiny leaves ranges from reddish orange to burgundy. Light pink blooms of late spring yield to equally shiny red berries.

Tough and Pliable 

It is possible to fill your yard only with plants that have strong growth and pliable stems, that will bend when hit, rather than snap, or that recover from breakages quickly. Such plants may not be the most exciting of choices, but they will at least clothe your yard in greenery for the relatively short period when they are under attack. Later on they can be swapped for more exciting plants. 

Border Edgings 

If you are determined to hang on to your flower border, you can use plants to shield it from straying children. A hedge of short-growing plants will deflect the worst, but you will nevertheless have to resign yourself to occasional casualties. Many plants recover quickly from blows, but you will have to prune out dead growth to ensure that they continue to thrive. 

Choice of Plant 

Here is a selection of sturdy plants, some of which make good border edgings. Those such as Cotoneaster horizontalis are incredibly tough and you would have to try pretty hard to make much impact on them. Cordylines form strong, treelike trunks and grasses, such as Carex flagelliera, have such light, pliable leaves that they spring back into shape after being stepped on or hit—just what is needed for the family garden. 

  • Artemisia schmidtiana “Nana” 
  • Bergenia 
  • Buxus sempervirens 
  • Carex flagellifera 
  • Cordyline australis 
  • Cotoneaster horizontalis 
  • Hakonechloa macra “Aureola” 
  • Hebe “Red Edge” 
  • Liriope muscari 
  • Mahonia x media “Charity” 
  • Miscanthus sinensis “Gracillimus” 
  • Nandina domestica 
  • Phyllostachys nigra 
  • Sarcococca confusa 
  • Stipa tenuissima 
  • Trachycarpus fortunei Cordyline australis
Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Plant an Herb Container Garden

Herbs have been grown all over the world for centuries for their flavor and healthful benefits. Learn how to plant an herb container garden.

How to Plant Sunflowers in Decorative Pots

Make sunflowers even more cheery with this step-by-step guide to designing fun pots to plant them in.

How to Grow Plants to Make a Pizza

Growing a pizza takes a bit longer than ordering in, but the results are much yummier and much healthier. Learn how to grow all of the plants you will need to make a homemade pizza with this step-by-step guide.

How to Plant a Cactus Container Garden

Yee-haw! Turn a container into a desert landscape by filling it with prickly cacti and other succulent plants. 

Family Planting: The Giant Garden

Large plants that dwarf little people can be a wonderful addition to a children’s garden.

How to Grow a Watercress Container Garden

Garnish your food with tasty, shiny watercress leaves — or make a yummy salad with watercress as the main attraction.

How to Plant a Poppy Container Garden

Learn how to plant a container garden for various types of poppies with this step-by-step gardening guide.

Family Planting: Tropical Garden

A tropical border is one of the most exciting plantings, filled with bold, colorful plants and reminiscent of a child’s fantasy jungle.

English Garden Plants

Welcome English garden plants to your yard. Use these plants to fill a yard with colorful chaos or formal finery.

How to Make Fun Garden Shapes With Marigolds

Learn how to grow marigold plants in fun shapes with this step-by-step gardening guide.


Mexico Life

6:30am | 5:30c

Mexico Life

7am | 6c

Mexico Life

7:30am | 6:30c

Desert Flippers

8:30am | 7:30c

Desert Flippers

9:30am | 8:30c

Desert Flippers

10:30am | 9:30c

Desert Flippers

11:30am | 10:30c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Caribbean Life

1:30pm | 12:30c

Caribbean Life

2:30pm | 1:30c

Caribbean Life

3:30pm | 2:30c

Caribbean Life

4:30pm | 3:30c

Bahamas Life

5:30pm | 4:30c

Bahamas Life

6:30pm | 5:30c

Bahamas Life

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

My Lottery Dream Home

8pm | 7c

House Hunters

10:30pm | 9:30c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

My Lottery Dream Home

12:30am | 11:30c

House Hunters

1:30am | 12:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.