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Love the checkerboard paving - if you were careful about the 'grass' you planted, you wouldn't need to mow (e.g. microlaena, chamomile, thyme, creeping mint, even violas...) I've always loved this idea, but having to continually maintain it put me off. Love the idea of a ground cover that wouldn't need to be mown
Front Yard Sidewalk-Garden Ideas: Add Easy Elegance- filling beds with low maintenance, easy-care plants, such as these ornamental grasses, including fountain grass (Pennisetum) and blue oat grass (Helictotrichon). Here's a tip: Check your city's rules about planting in this space; some places have restrictions on how tall plants can grow.
Repeat Effectively Repetition is a trick used by garden designers to create balance and cohesivess. Make your front yard stand out from the crowd by repeating pockets of color to draw your eye down a walkway or along the front of your house. Here, beautiful blue lobelia is joined by a riot of other early-blooming plants.