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Ideas for planting along a driveway

Updated July 18, 2017

When planting along a driveway, gardeners look for privacy, an attractive blooming border or landscape distinction to call attention to the property. Consider three things when planning driveway landscaping--the home's design, plants suitable for the site and the driver's need for a clear view and maneuverability.

Privacy in a Driveway

If houses are built close together, landscaping between driveways is a good way to create privacy. To separate one driveway from another consider planting evergreen trees. They will stay green in the winter and provide a screen. Evergreen trees will grow slowly but will be low maintenance. Hedges also are a good choice. They should be dense and compact to provide privacy, but they do need maintenance and trimming. Choices to consider are: brush cherry (Syzygium paniculatum), sweet olive (Osmanthus fragrans) and Rhaphiolepis "Majestic Beauty." Climbing vines such as bougainvillea, wisteria and honeysuckle can also provide seclusion, but such vines need to be anchored to hard-scape such as wood, stone or stucco.

Colourful Blooming Border

If the purpose for driveway planting is for colour, consider annual or continuously blooming plants in colours that complement the home. Different types of lavender and sage in hues of violet, lilac and blue harmonise well with a Mediterranean or southwest-style home. A border of zinnias or marigolds offer jolts of colour and are low maintenance. A plant from the daisy family will do quite well for a colourful driveway addition. Osteospermum fruticosum is referred to in California as "the freeway daisy," because of its hardiness and ability to grow on the side of highways.

Distinction Along the Drive

Try a sprinkling of coloured gravel, anchored with larger rocks and planted with succulents and cacti, for a low-maintenance driveway planting. Ground cover or creeping succulents will fill in the spaces and add colour and texture. Elijah blue fescue (Festuca glauca), a small-mounding grass, will look at home in this type of landscape. It is slow growing and does not require cutting. Ornamental grasses are also a good choice for distinction alongside the drive. Consider giant burgundy fountain grass (Pennisetum sp.) that produces a grass with a deep burgundy blades and burgundy plumes. Deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) also adds drama to the drive with its changing colours. In spring, the stem is green but over the summer it dries to a pale yellow, then in autumn a light burgundy plume appears. This grass reaches a height of about 5 feet and provides movement and texture to the driveway landscape.

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About the Author

Nellene Teubner Plouffe is a writer who started her journalism career as a reporter and columnist for the "Orange County Register" newspaper in 1992. In 1995, Teubner Plouffe received a first-place award in column writing from the California Newspaper Publishers’ Association. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.