Perfect Perennials for Indiana Landscapes

For a colorful springtime in Indiana, look to these lovely perennials that are perfect for for brightening up your landscape and flower beds.

If you’re looking for perfect perennials that can thrive in the Midwest – no matter what the weather brings – we’ve got some great suggestions. These gorgeous blooms can spice up any landscape, and best of all, they keep coming back year after year.

Ready to get your hands dirty? Here’s our list of awesome perennials to brighten up your springtime in Indiana.


Aster is native to dry upland prairies, and is particularly fragrant and showy when it full bloom. It prospers in dry, clay or rocky soil, and has a full display of flowers in the fall (make sure to pinch in early summer to prevent flopping).

Black-eyed Susans

These bright-gold flowers are often a staple in Hoosier gardens, as they stay in bloom for more than a month, beginning in August. The most popular varieties include Indian Summer and Goldstrum. These no-maintenance beauties love full sun, and can reach 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

Butterfly Weed

In spite of the name (it’s also called milkweed), this easy-to-grow plant produces clusters of orange, yellow, pink or vermillion. Appearing in mid- to late summer, they also attract hummingbirds and butterflies.


Midwest native coneflowers produce blooms all summer long, ranging in height from 16 inches to 4 feet, depending on the variety. Traditional colors are pink-purple and white, but you can also find them in a flashy red, yellow and other bright hues.

Hardy geraniums

Geranium x cantabrigiense are larger than other hardy geraniums, with scalloped leaves and pale-pink flowers. Known for its density and apple-scented, spicy perfume, these plants begin flowering in June and grow about 6 inches high and 14 inches wide. They flourish in full sun and need little water. In the autumn, the foliage turns a dramatic burgundy.

Lenten Rose

This shade-lover is evergreen, and a hardy plant that frequently blooms while snow is still on the ground. They are great compliments to sidewalks or walkways, and grow a 12-18 inches tall. Flowers come in shades of red, white, purple, pink, green and near-black.


Sedums are popular because they are easy to grow, stingy with water, and rich in texture and shape. With its masses of flowers and light gray-green foliage it produces green broccoli-like buds by summer, which open into large pink flower heads that deepen to rusty red by fall. Other favorite sedums include Purple Emperor, Vera Jameson and Meteor.

Virginia Bluebells

Pink buds turn into pink-purple blooms in this spring flower that thrive in sun or shade. Virginia bluebells easily reseed, and each plant grows up to 2 feet high and wide (but be aware, its bloom time is brief).

If you’re looking for deer-resistant blooms, try these:

  • Salvia
  • Catmint
  • Sweet Woodruff (this groundcover releases its scent when walked on)
  • Coreopsis

If you want to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, consider:

  • Clematis (this is more of a vine, but is still a perennial)
  • Coreopsis
  • Daylily
  • Lavender
  • Bee Balm
  • Catmint

For fragrant foliage or flowers, try these:

  • Salvia
  • Lavender
  • Bee Balm
  • Clematis (Hosta)
  • Catmint

Not sure which flowers or plants will work best in your yard? We can help. If you’re ready to take your landscape up a notch, we can help with that too. Whether it’s a landscaping or flower bed makeover, a new hardscape feature, or a unique and tranquil water element, we can turn an ordinary yard into the outdoor living space you’ve always dreamed of. Call us now to schedule a consultation.



Seven Landscaping Tips for Curing the Winter Blues

winter yard - CopyFor plant and garden lovers, the cold winter months can bring on a bad case of the blues. With no lawn to manicure, and no warm, soft soil to spread or till, there’s nothing left to do but quietly stare out the window and count the days until spring, right?
Well, not exactly. Even though most of your outdoor plants are at rest and their cheery colors have gone into hiding, winter is a perfect time to plunge into landscape planning mode. So get excited and take out your notebook or sketch pad, because we haveour top winter landscaping tips for creating an outdoor environment you’re sure to love year-round.

Inspect your view. Property owners usually don’t pay that much attention to their landscape during the winter. That’s normal. But winter serves as a great opportunity to get a good look at what you have (or don’t have). So make notes of what you see, paying special attention to dead space or unremarkable shapes. Draw diagrams or a rough sketch of current beds, and what you’d like to see next winter (in terms of new colors, textures or shapes) in order to improve your off-season view.

Think berries. If you don’t have any berry-producing trees or shrubs, add them to your wish list. Berries add splashes of color during the fall and winter, and provide food for birds. Holly, in particular, provides texture and color that helps create a warm and festive atmosphere, and brightens up an otherwise lackluster area.

Consider evergreens. Sure, we know that evergreens provide color all year, but you might not know how varied those colors can be. Ranging from deep gold to calming blue, evergreens add texture and soothing pops of color while also serving as focal points year-round. Generally, each bed or landscaped section of your lawn could benefit from at least one evergreen.

What about bark? While at first glance, those deciduous trees that have lost their leaves might seem forlorn. But in wintertime, your branches and trunks can actually become an interesting focus. Ornamental trees with distinctive bark can be beautiful elements no matter the temperature or time of year. Some to consider include dogwoods and birch trees, both of which add nice texture and color.

Remember the hardscape. Don’t limit yourself to just plants as you assess your surroundings and future outdoor atmosphere. Hardscape additions, like a fire pit, trellis, bench, larger seating area or pergola could be the missing link to your ideal yard. Winter is the perfect time to identify these options and explore prices, styles and options.

 Fill up your containers. Traditional summer containers like window boxes, hanging baskets or large pots can be transformed into winter landscapes with little effort. Try filling them up with things like miniature dwarf Alberta spruce and broadleaf evergreens, holly or rhododendron, adding ribbons or other decorative touches for the holidays. You can also fill containers with evergreen boughs of different textures and colors, adding interesting twigs or natural elements for variety.

Stock up. Keep your eye on pre- and post-holiday sales, and stock up on all those non-plant items you need for spring. Bargain shop for anything garden related, and check out your local nurseries or big-box stores for specials on close-out items. It’s also a good time to research any plants you might want to add to your landscape, and start a file for pictures, descriptions and possible landscape or hardscape plans.

If you need help when it comes to your landscape or hardscape wishes for next year, give us a call at (317) 259-9222. We can help you create the kind of outdoor space you dream about.

 What do you think?

These are just seven of our top winter landscaping tips, but we know there’s plenty more. What kind of landscape-related things do you like to do during winter? Do you have any additional tips or helpful ideas? Please tell us about them, and leave your comments below.

Creative Ways to Use Landscaping Rocks

rock-border - CopyIt isn’t unusual for homeowners to look out at their lawn during the early days of fall and think, “What am I going to do with this space next year?”

By the end of summer, many feel weary and a little “over” landscaping maintenance – especially when wilting plants and faded mulch have replaced the perky, colorful flower beds of spring. The good news is that fall is the perfect time to make plans to reenergize your outdoor living space. And landscaping rocks can play a big part in giving new life to tired beds and boring or troublesome areas. But where do you begin?

Start with a Good Choice

Landscaping rocks vary in size and color, all of which can compliment your existing plants or lawn features and set a specific mood for your garden. For example, earth-toned beach pebbles can add warmth to a stark corner, while white marble chips can bring light to a shady patch. Black lava rocks or terracotta stones can add a tropical feel, but might look out-of-place next to a Cape Cod-inspired home. Because rock is durable and will last for years to come, it’s important to consider the type and color that will support your current and long-term landscaping vision.

Use Rock Instead of Mulch

Using rock for groundcover instead of mulch is an alternative for those who want low-maintenance landscaping. Although rocks are more expensive, they are durable and don’t have to be replaced every year. In fact, not only can they provide contrast, texture and dramatic color, they will last the lifetime of your garden. Rocks also discourage weed growth, especially when coupled with a weed barrier.

Create a Rock Garden

Installing a rock garden – especially near eyesores or awkwardly shaped areas – can bring artistic elements to any outdoor living area. Rock gardens work especially well in sunny spots. Start with two or three medium to large rocks, and layer with smaller rocks or pebbles. Add low-lying flowers or ground cover, filling in gaps and creating an inviting and beautiful attraction.

Make a Dramatic Statement

Instead of a rock garden, you can just go with one large boulder and create a dramatic focal point – a natural art sculpture. For optimum effect, choose an uniquely shaped or colored boulder, and use it as a centerpiece much like you would an ornamental shrub. These can be particularly useful along monotonous hedges, borders or fences.

Border a Pond or Water Element

Large or medium-sized rocks can enhance water elements and help camouflage pond liners or fountain gear. Remember that natural shapes and sizes (versus pavers) will blend in better with plants and surrounding features, maintaining an organic look and feel.

Create a Path or Walkway

If you have a shady or well-worn area that is challenging for plant or lawn growth, make a path or walkway by using a combination of flat stones and surrounding pebbles. This not only brings color and beauty to an otherwise bland section of your outdoor space, it can also increase accessibility and safety levels on treacherous or uneven ground.

Stones, rocks and pavers can create a beautiful, low-maintenance environment and give new life to your property. Whether it’s with small additions or big landscaping overhauls, we can help you transform your end-of-summer blues into an outdoor dream. Give us a call at (317) 259-9222 to find out more.

Top Outdoor Living Design Tips for Fall 2015

outdoor design - CopyMaybe you’ve spent hours gazing at design ideas for your outdoor living space and wistfully thinking, “If only.” Perhaps you’ve dreamed of cool evenings by an impressive fire, snuggling in a blanket and gazing up at the stars with friends. Or you might have perused countless Pinterest posts with gorgeous back yard settings just calling your name.

Fall is the perfect time to start making all those landscaping dreams a reality. Whether it’s a larger patio, more seating or a complete and dramatic transformation, you can bring new life right up to your very own back door. Here are our top outdoor living design tips for the season:

Landscape Design

There are so many easy and cost-effective ways to spruce up your landscaping and introduce a beautiful array of fall color to your porch, deck or flower beds. Start by freshening up your existing containers, or plant new ones with mums, cora bells, asters and other fall favorites. Consider adding evergreens in areas that typically become dull and bland during the winter months. Or add new beds in areas that border your property or are “trouble spots” – where grass doesn’t grow or eyesores distract your view.

Outdoor Living Spaces

Property owners often express frustration to us that they have wide expanses of blank yard only serving as wasted space – simply because there’s no seating and nothing appealing about it. By creating areas that are inviting, functional and comfortable, you will increase your available living space along with the value of your property. And you’ll instantly have a place where your family or friends can hang out and create long-lasting memories. The most popular elements that provide instant gratification include: fire pits; a pergola or arbor; walkways; defined patios or sitting areas; water features; and built-in kitchens.

Pavers & Patios

By using pavers to create patios, sitting areas and walkways, your back yard will transform into a bona fide living space providing hours of pleasure to friends and family. Paver colors and designs are as varied as your imagination. Some of the main types include:

  • Brick Pavers – Used on decks, driveways, walkways and patios, these are relatively lighter in weight but are strong and easy to install. They withstand the elements and look earthy and rich.
  • Concrete Pavers – While very versatile, these are often used for pathways and driveways or other open areas. Many are designed to interlock, and are placed on top of compacted sand. They are excellent for high traffic areas, in particular.
  • Natural Stone Pavers – There is so much color and versatility available in this organic type, and come in irregular or smooth finishes. Set in mortar or concrete, they are great options for around swimming pools or other water features. They can also be used for beautiful visual elements in landscaping and flower beds.
  • Tile Pavers– Tile pavers provide a different look, and are often preferred for cleaner, more modern lines. They are long-lasting, and can be smooth or textured. They are gorgeous on patios, decks or other outdoor elements, and can effectively compliment natural stones for contrasting designs. 

Retaining Walls

If your home is built on a hill or slope, or you need definition between different areas of your yard, retaining walls might be your answer. They can be both beautiful and highly functional, depending on your needs. Your design will need to accommodate a number of elements – including the slope of the ground – and a professional will need to determine the wall size, height, width, depth and ground pressure.

Fire Pits & Fire Boulders

Adding the element of fire to your outdoor living space can bring instant fun for your family or friends. Fire pits and fire boulders can be as simple or elaborate as you want. You’ll need to consider whether you want a portable or permanent installation, and whether you want a wood burning or gas fire pit. By using high-quality materials that are rust resistant and can tolerate flames and heat, your fire pit and surrounding boulders will be the center point of your outdoor gatherings for years to come.

Outdoor Landscape Lighting

By adding lighting to your landscape, you can enjoy your outdoor living space well after dark and show off your best features. Strategically placed lights can not only highlight seating areas or focal points, but also the architectural design of your home or other areas of interest on your property. Lighting schemes can be subtle, dramatic, or anything in between, and can truly transform your outdoor area into a magical retreat.

Ready to Get Started?

We’d love to help make your outdoor dream a reality. Give us a call for a free consultation today, at (317) 259-9222.