01 of 10
Where in the Hellstrip?
Are you tired of maintaining that odd, rectangular-shaped piece of lawn between your sidewalk and street? This unwelcome patch of lawn, sometimes called a “hell strip,” can become the site of a jaw-dropping flower garden, if you embrace the trend of parking strip gardening.
Maintaining a parking strip garden isn’t for the faint of heart. With such a conspicuous garden comes vulnerability. Unthinking children may pluck bouquets for their mothers. Disrespectful passers-by may flick cigarettes into... your shrubbery. Car fumes and ice melting chemicals threaten the health of any delicate specimens you struggle to grow in this no-man’s land. And dogs will do what dogs doo (ahem). If these thoughts make you clench your trowel a little bit tighter with determination, you’re ready to tackle your hell strip!Continue to 2 of 10 below.
02 of 10
A Riotous Floral Display
I don’t know about you, but this brilliant display makes me want to garden just a little bit harder. If this gardener can create such a paradise in a hell strip garden, then there’s hope for all of our landscape problem areas. Dahlias, cannas, and coneflowers shine on the left side of the photo, and black-eyed Susans light up the street side. What a treat for the neighbors!Continue to 3 of 10 below.
03 of 10
Preparing Your Sidewalk Garden
The first step in planning a parking strip garden is to remove every particle of sod. Although there are several ways to do this in the landscape, including solarization and herbicide use, the best way to get your sidewalk garden ready is to dig the sod out. This creates room to add soil amendment, which is key to the success of the hell strip planting. In this harsh growing zone, your flowers will need ample amounts of compost, leaf mold, and/or well-aged manure to thrive.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
04 of 10
Plant for All Seasons
When you’re designing your sidewalk garden, it’s easy to get carried away with herbaceous perennials and hot weather annuals. However, you should include some early spring flowering bulbs to extend the garden’s season. Stick with one or two bulb varieties in this small space to maintain a unified appearance. Or, if you want to plant several bulb types, limit your color palette. Don’t forget to include some mums or asters for fall interest as well.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Sidewalk Flower Garden Design
It’s clear to all that pass by this well designed flowerbed that a gardener lives here. Installing plants in groups of three to five, including a variety of foliage shapes and colors, planning a progression of blooms, and placing the tallest plants at the back or center of the flowerbed are strategies this gardener did right.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
06 of 10
Success With Raised Beds
A sidewalk garden may seem like an awkward site for raised flowerbeds. However, the beds allow you to grow flowers that are fussy about soil, and to bring low-growing plants closer to eye level for sniffing and admiring. Raised beds are also a handy way to discourage pedestrians from taking a shortcut through your garden.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
07 of 10
Tough Plants for a Tough Environment
Lamb’s ears, New Zealand flax, lavender, and kniphofia all have spiky, interesting foliage that makes them attractive plants in or out of bloom. These plants are also low maintenance, requiring little more than an annual deadheading to keep them looking neat.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
08 of 10
Flower devotees who want a high blossom count in their sidewalk gardens should mix annual and perennial flowers for a long succession of blooms. This intensive cottage garden planting will require regular fertilizing, weekly weeding, and pruning or deadheading to achieve maximum performance. And, unless you feel that a flowerbed must have a grass foil, you can do without the micro strip of lawn!Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
One of These Things Is Not Like the OtherSome gardeners live in neighborhoods where the hellstrip gardening phenomenon hasn’t caught on yet. If you’ve chosen to maintain a flowering landscape different from the community norm, be sure to stand out in a positive way by keeping your flowerbed weeded, and by keeping thuggish plants from denying passers-by the right of way on the sidewalk.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
10 of 10
Gardeners who live in frost free zones with cool summers, like this Seattle setting, can try growing artichokes in their parking strip gardens. Sure, you can eat them, but even if you don’t enjoy eating the buds of these three-foot thistles, the silvery foliage and purple flowers will shine in your garden.