landscape design for space in front of deck

Sterling Heights, MI(Zone 5b)

I have a large deck behind my house, with Western sun exposure. All there is right now is grass. I am trying to decide what to plant in all this space. The color that would set of the house best is dark purple. I have already decided on a couple black elderberries. I thought I would start with some foundation shurbs, some of them with dark purple, pink, or white folliage, and then later plant some perenials in between or in front of them. The first thing I want to do is plant something that will cover the ugly lattice work on the bottom of the deck. It does not need to be very tall. Any suggestions or information would be much appreciated.

Gibsonia, PA

Well, depending on how tall it really is, I would suggest some clematis vines to climb the lattice. There are a lot of purple varieties that are among the shorter clematises (something like 8 feet). And some of them are very popular and easy to find, like the jackmanii.

Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

I have some Chinese fringe flower shrubs (loropetalum {sp?}), that is purple mixed with some green during the summer months. The named variety is Plum Delight. It has a fountain style growth habit and gets to be about 4 to 5 feet tall. I love the fountain habit because it's pretty and doesn't need to be pruned. It blooms beautiful bright pink fringe flowers (hence the name) profusely in the spring and another lesser round in late summer. They are gorgeous. The nice thing too is the fact that they are evergreen. They turn deeper purple in the winter and are such a pretty contrast to the dormant grass in the yard. There is another variety (don't know the growth habit) that is a deeper purple called Purple Diamond. You do have to be careful in selecting a variety of these shrubs though because some are more green.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Loropetalums are gorgeous, but unfortunately they're only hardy to about zone 7 and melisma is in zone 5 so I don't think they'll make it.

There are several purple/burgundy cultivars of Cotinus coggygria which would be hardy, but they get rather large, not sure if that's OK or not.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

If it's purple you want and you have the right soil, go for Rhododendrons, Azalias, Camelias etc, these need an acidic soil so you would require a test kit to establish what kind of soil you have, or add thinss to it to help with the acidity, you wont be stuck for perennials as there are too many purple flowers to mention, go along to your librery/book shop for plants with deep foliage foliage and purple flowers that will grow in your area, they will give you loads of ideas to really get you enjoying your new garden area, good luck, WeeNel.

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