Perennial Container Combinations for Shade

Container plantings are a nice way to add color and interest to a porch, patio, or landscape. People tend to plant annuals in their containers, which can be expensive and high maintenance over time. I prefer to use perennials for containers that will last for multiple seasons. Read on to learn some examples of perennial container combinations for shade.

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Building a Backyard Teepee

If you’ve been to Duke Gardens recently you’ve probably seen the amazing twig sculptures on the South Lawn. Designed and created by North Carolina artist Patrick Dougherty ( the sculptures are both fantastically beautiful and a great space for kids to explore.
Duke Gardens- The Inspiration

The Inspiration – Duke Gardens
As I was watching the sculptures be constructed, I realized that I had an abundance of saplings popping up in my yard (Redbud and Winged Elm), and that they weren’t all that much different from the twigs being used for the Duke Gardens sculptures.

While I knew that I couldn’t make anything as impressive as the sculptures above, I decided to try a simple garden teepee. Using about a dozen 8-10 foot long saplings spaced 6 inches apart I made a circle with a 3 foot opening, which I tied together at the top. I chose a location nestled under a Black Gum and behind an azalea, so the entrance is tucked away and feels hidden. Including planting vines on the teepee the entire project took an afternoon.
The Teepee- My HouseThe Teepee (My House)
I’m hopeful that the teepee will be covered in honeysuckle vine flowers and hummingbirds next summer, and will be a fun place for my kids to play. Have a garden inspiration you want to make a reality? Contact Bright Leaf Landscaping at 919-619-4460 or fill out our online contact form. Design and installation are our expertise, and we are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential projects!

Plants I Like to Incorporate into a Woodland Setting

One of my favorite types of designs to work on are woodland gardens. Clients with a wooded landscape may have concerns about deer and shade. Fortunately, there are numerous plant options with deer resistance and shade tolerance. Read on to learn about a few plants that I like to incorporate into a woodland setting.

Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Radiance’)

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Adding Statuary to a Garden

Like a lot of design elements, statuary in a garden can be dramatic and interesting or just seem misplaced and odd depending on how it is incorporated into the overall design of the space.  One lesson that I learned in design school is that any statuary elements, including fountains, potted plants, etc. should add to a space that already has a strong planting composition, rather than be the element that makes the composition work.  In other words, these elements can be the icing on the cake, but the cake had better be pretty good on its own.  Read on to learn more about adding statuary to a garden.

My baby giraffe

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Putting the Right Plant in the Right Place

Whether you do it yourself or hire a company like ours, landscaping design and installation is an investment of your time and money into your property. Done well it can be a wise investment – with the payout being increased beauty and higher property values. Read on to learn about common landscaping mistakes and how to avoid them.

Put the Right Plant…

Landscaping Advice

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Checking in on the 3 New Cultivars I Added to my Garden in 2017

Last summer some large Leyland Cypress trees came down on my neighbor’s property resulting in a lot more light in my front yard, as well as some additional space to fill with plants! As 2017 comes to a close, I’m revisiting some of the plants I decided to add to this space – Teddy Bear Magnolia, Magic Carpet Spirea, and Ruby Slippers Hydrangea.

The Teddy Bear Magnolia was the definite winner for me. This is a plant that I’ve been aware of for several years but for some reason had never used. Little Gem is another dwarf Magnolia cultivar, and for whatever reason it seems to be more readily available in the nursery trade. In any case, I’m now a Teddy Bear fan! In addition to large glossy leaves with velvety undersides this dwarf tree surprised me with its relatively quick growth rate. Typically when you pick a dwarf cultivar for smaller size, you also get a very slow growth rate, so I was pleasantly surprised when this tree put on over a 1.5 feet of growth in 1 year.

Magnolia grandiflora ‘Teddy Bear’ – Teddy Bear Magnolia in my yard

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