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Go for Bold with 3 Mass Planting Ideas

By: Garden Gate staff
Make a big impact in your garden with these 3 mass planting techniques.

Mass planting of white tulips.

Do folks just walk past your front yard without giving it a second glance? Are you bored with your lawn and the tree or two planted there? Don’t despair. Let mass plantings change the way you — and others — see your gardens!

What is a mass planting?

A mass planting is just what it sounds like — a whole bunch of one kind of plant, growing all together. What’s so impressive about that? A mass can be six azaleas, 25 purple coneflowers, 150 tulips or 300 pansies — no matter the number of plants, a mass adds visual weight. It makes a serious impact, to say nothing of making maintenance easier. And it can be formal or informal, even a fun shape! Let’s explore three design possibilities.

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Mass planting of tulips and pansies along house foundation: The mass of tulips and pansies add impact in this formal garden.

Create a breathtaking entry

Draw attention to your entry with a linear mass planting in an eye-catching color. The monochromatic tulips and pansies in this formal garden separate the lawn from the extended foundation plantings while leading your eye to the center walkway. Even if your garden isn’t formal, you can mass bulbs in spring and annuals in summer to draw folks to your front entry. Experiment with color, too!

Design tip

Use upfacing or somewhat spiky flowers, rather than nodding ones, to get the most impact in a mass planting.

Globe amaranth planted in a mass for impact: This mass of globe amaranth has the feel of a meadow or wide open plain.

More is better

Many folks think that if one is good, a lot is even better. That may not be true for eating chocolates, but it sure can be for plants! Take the purple globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) above, for example. You could easily overlook a single plant in a mixed flower border. Yet when you have hundreds, they’ll wow you, especially when backed by a “wall” of feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora). Together, en masse, they give the feel of a meadow or wide open plains. You can easily scale this combo down to fit your yard. Or switch up the plants — don’t be afraid to use perennials and shrubs in your mass plantings — the key is choosing low-maintenance varieties.

Design tip

The area between the sidewalk and street is an ideal place if your town lets you plant there. It’s an often neglected space — a mass planting would add some excitement. Maybe you’ll inspire your neighbors to do the same!

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Garden border filled with coleus and lantana: This raised bed of lantana and coleus adds wow factor with only 2 types of plants.

Bold edging

Many famous formal gardens are filled with boxwood-edged mass plantings. But you don’t need a royal-sized garden or budget to go formal. Mass planting defines lines very clearly above. Landmark™ lantanas (Lantana hybrid) rein in a mass planting of ‘Redhead’ coleus (Solenostemon hybrid). The raised island bed is gorgeous, isn’t it? And practical — you only have two types of plants to care for.

Published: March 22, 2018

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