Gardening with Color and Texture



This Spanish-style beauty uses color and texture to connect the home and garden, creating a front yard that is true to the architecture of the home. And it’s drought tolerant and low maintenance to boot. The Euphorbia tirucalli or fire sticks create a welcoming path that directs your eyes up the tiled staircase, through the yard, and to the front door. With brightly colored stems that change from shades of yellow in the summer to a deeper red in the winter, it provides year-round interest. The fire sticks are planted in a bed of low-growing Senecio serpens or blue chalksticks — both of these succulents complement the colorful details of the home. The giant bird of paradise to the right of the staircase anchors the front yard, while the magenta bougainvillea outside the picture window draws your attention up.

This kind of connection between your home and garden takes some thoughtful planning and can be easy to achieve. Spend time creating your color story before heading to the nursery, where you can find a rainbow of succulents to add depth and interest to your landscape design. Invest your budget in larger pieces that anchor your yard, and consider buying smaller succulents, like younger fire sticks and blue chalksticks, to save money. Succulents can be slow growing, but with a little patience, you can end up with a similar lush and full look that thrives without a lot of work or water.

Some tips for the home gardener

  • Make sure to research your gardening zone and pick the right plants for your area to maximize their success. 
  • At a neighborhood nursery or garden center, you can easily find dedicated spaces and staff knowledgeable about succulents, cacti, and drought-tolerant plants. 
  • Select your showpiece and make it center stage, surrounding it with low-growing plants in a variety of shades to provide depth and interest.

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Laura McLean
Laura McLean
Laura McLean is a native San Diegan who is the plant expert co-owner of Sweet Seedlings, and has spent over 20 years working for a nonprofit and as a marriage and family therapist. She has transformed her yard into an urban vegetable and pollinator garden, and strives to connect mental health, self-care, and a commitment to our earth with every seed she sows.
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