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Gardening How-to Articles

Front Yard Fashion—Reinventing the American Garden

C. Colston Burrell is an avid plantsman, garden designer, and award-winning author. His books include Hellebores: A Comprehensive Guide (Timber Press, 2007), winner of the AHS Book Award; Perennial Combinations (Rodale, 1999), a Garden Book Club Best Seller; and A Gardener's Encyclopedia of Wildflowers (Rodale, 1997). He is the editor of several BBG handbooks, most recently Native Alternative to Invasive Plants (2006) and Intimate Gardens (2005). He gardens on ten acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Learn more at


  • DB September 12, 2010

    I agree!  That’s how I found this article and this site!  I’m searching for help in changing my front yard into something different!  I don’t know a lot about trees and plants though so I’m trying to figure out how and what to put in my front yard to make it interesting and “correct” for my house and environment.  I’d appreciate any advice, more concrete help or a site that could help me.

    Thank you

  • Cal July 15, 2010

    Agreed on all accounts. I have always thought front lawns were useless, even since I was little. No-one ever uses them for anything, and everyone has EXACTLY the same thing. Grass, with a couple of plants to hide your foundation. How boring.

    I’ve realized that I don’t have to do that with my own house. So say goodbye to all that non-native grass—and hello to a lawn of clover, ornamental grass, and xeriscape plants.

    Being different than your neighbors is hardly a bad thing! Clover doesn’t need to be fertilized or mowed, and xeriscape plants minimize your water bills (while looking a billion times more interesting than a typical, half dead lawn).

    Set your own trends.

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