Sometimes there's just too much stuff: little pots, knick-knacks, plant tags, whirligigs and hoses. Introduce a little spare Shaker style in the garden. Follow the edict of British designer William Morris to keep only what's useful and beautiful, then edit out what isn't. Simplicity is powerful and restful.
Vines in bed
Luckily, I had put some pots of mandevilla in my perennial beds earlier in the season. The vine snaked through some of the sturdier plants and blasted the scene awake with its hot pink, tropical-looking flowers. Thank goodness.
I stocked up on low-priced tropical houseplants and wove them through my containers. You can often get 10-centimetre pots of tropicals at garden centres for less than $3. They added a layered texture to the pots and were amazingly durable.
If you're vigilant, you can pick up sweet bargains at big-box stores to hide problems in the garden. I look for indoor plants to go on sale, such as areca palms. Sometimes, a large specimen can be bought for as little as $9. I grouped three of these together to screen out an ugly corner.