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Fun with ferns: Design options your customers will enjoy
Beth Hyatt | July 3, 2017
large backyard fern

Photo: Megan Hansen/

When working on a garden project, your customer’s natural tendency may be to ask your recommendation on which flowers should go in their yard, but the prettiest plants aren’t always flowers.

While they may seem like plants that require a lot of attention and care, ferns are one of the easiest and most versatile plants to use in your customer’s landscape.

Ferns can go indoors, outdoors and in a multitude of different planter types, so they are excellent to use when your customers want to add some greenery and pizazz to their yard.

Ferns tend to grow mainly in moist environments, so hydration is key when planning where a fern will go. They do favor areas that are shaded, as they do not grow very well when placed in direct sunlight.

Design options

Flower beds: First and foremost, ferns can be used in your customer’s flower beds to add a good amount of greenery with not a lot of time and attention needed. Since ferns can come in a wide variety of looks, textures and sizes, this makes them the perfect plant to use in any size flower bed.

Planters, pots and hanging baskets: Whether your customers have horizontal or vertical planters, hanging baskets or potted plants, ferns can fit in while still standing out. Ferns mix well with a variety of beautiful and bright flowers, and a planter, potted fern or hanging basket can be a great focal point on any patio or backyard seating area.

Groundcovers: Often groundcovers are thought of low-growing plants, but certain ferns can be used to add height and filler for spaces where other plants cannot thrive. Ostrich ferns are good option for when filling in large shady spaces between trees.

Shade gardens: Because they are shade-loving plants, ferns are an essential addition to a customer’s shade garden. Holly fern, autumn fern, and Japanese painted fern are all beautiful options that offer both texture and color to compliment other shady plants like hostas.

Adding potted ferns or carefully arranged flower bed ferns around your customer’s landscape can help bring a bit of an exotic and oasis-like feel to the scene if they desire that look, or they can be used in formal pots and planters for a more prim and proper look. At the same time, having ferns planted sporadically around the yard can help give that jungle-like, unkempt look clients may crave if they are more into the free and natural look.

Whatever design your customer desires, it’s hard to go wrong when utilizing ferns. And for customers who may be looking for ways to add some flare to the entrance of their driveway, front porch or secret backyard garden, ferns can act as the perfect segue plant. They add the perfect balance of formal and casual to any scene, and all it takes is trying them out to unlock their potential.

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