You’ve heard of planting items en masse, but does that mean you select five petunias instead of two or one? Try out 50or even 550 petunias — frequently that’s what is needed for a good mass planting to earn a “river.” Obviously, all those plants can get pricey, so the ideal solution is to obtain a plant that is quickly growing and spreads easily. Creeping sedums, thyme, herbs and ground covers are great choices. Invite your crops to spread through seed or division and observe your river grow.
Before starting out, make sure that you prepare your garden soil. The trick to these plantings is developing a solid mass of color, unbroken by other crops. If you do not pull all the weeds at this time, you will be cursing your self as your river turns into a mess of thistle and clover. Once you have a blank slate, then you’re ready to begin.
Elemental Design Group
The classic river of plants consists of one variety and hue for a daring statement. This planting increases structure from well-placed evergreens and a clump of Russian sage, echoing the organic look of stones and boulders in a creek.
Lankford Associates Landscape Architects
This is another variation: a pond of purple with a single bridge across it, created by planting waves of purple on either side of the path. See that the grasses dotted giving structure. Without these beams, a mass planting only looks like a formal mass of crops as opposed to a more flowing and natural kind.
Kikuchi + Kankel Design Group
Grasses are an ideal selection for planting landscape rivers. Pick grasses which don’t grow up, including a Red Fescue or even Festuca rubra, seen here. These grasses wave at the end, almost looking like water as you walk through the path.
Pat Brodie Landscape Design
Another application for grasses is in a waterfall form of planting. Planting similar crops with a lot of movement cascading down a hill makes a beautiful effect.
Working with a level piece of land? Creating a pond of diminutive flowering ground cover is a great option. Again, remember to add small rock islands or outcroppings to get a sealike look.
Watch more ground cover ideas
Desire a more formal look? Consider combining spring bulbs to create riotous waves of color. The trick to this look is going with only 1 or 2 plants which are guaranteed to bloom at precisely the same moment. In this example, pink hyacinth and tulips combine to get a mass of pink.
Compared to much more naturalistic plantings, formal rivers of crops are planted with precise spacings between. Plant in straight lines but alternative spacing between lines for a lush look.
Here the river of gloomy ‘Pride of Madeira’ is really extended a landscaped coastline. The edge of multi-colored blossoms defines the lake’s curved line.
Whatever look you choose, don’t forget the advantages of your planting. Rivers of crops need definition and structure so that they do not just look like a planting gone amok. Stick with one or two plants and make certain that they’re easily propagated.
For a annual series, select perennials (which will come back year after year), or go for a grand impact using spring-blooming bulbs. Now go get planting!
More: Get Your Garden Away to a Glowing Start