Design An Evening Garden

Between busy work schedules and hot days, the evening garden offers an escape.

This is especially appealing in the South, with our long growing season and mild winters, both which afford us more time to spend in our gardens.   

When you design your evening garden, whether you start with a blank canvas or refurbish part of your existing garden, here are a few points to consider:

1. Make sure that you have easy access to enjoy your plants.

If you have to trudge out to the back forty across the lawn, just to experience your evening landscape, you’re less likely to take advantage of it.  Instead, if you walk out the back door to a small patio or terrace, that is at least partially enclosed, it will fast become your favorite escape.   

For a fragrant evergreen hedge, Jubilation Gardenia is the perfect choice, or, you can create a screen by grouping several large pots of gardenias. Other white flowering shrubs for screening that will glow in the evening light include: Diana Camellia, and for a low hedge, Emerald Snow loropetalum. 

2. A well lit walkway that is comfortable to walk on is also key. Solar lights are an option too. 

3. Level paths and even surfaces are best for strolling.  

For gardens that are more formal, I like flagstone, preferably wide stones with room for two people to walk comfortably side-by-side.

If your garden is informal, mulch is also an option. Which ever type of material you choose, the path should  invite you into the garden to  discover what lies around the corner. 

If you use pea gravel or slate chips, smaller sizes are typically more comfortable to walk on. 

4. Include an area to sit and enjoy your garden.

The type of seating you use should relate to the style of your home, creating a harmonious feel, helping to tie the two together. 

5. An outdoor dining area with lighting or an arbor with a ceiling fan are other options to help you get the most out of your garden.

6. If space is limited, a group of plants, whether in the ground, or in containers, will make more of an impact than a few plants dotted here and there. 

7. Adding a water garden with recirculating water, even a small self-contained one in a decorative pot, will add the welcome element of sound and the illusion of cooling, even on the hottest of nights. 

Additional plants that will stand out in your  evening garden:

Trees like the Empress of China® dogwood, shrubs like Mountain Snow™ pieris and the variegated Mojo® pittosporum.  Fragrant bulbs like Grand Primo Narcissus and the whiteHeirloom Snowflake will delight you in spring, and the tough and reliable White Crinum Lily will glisten in the summer garden.