I’ve finally tackled a troublesome little area of my yard, it is a quarter circle area at the top of my driveway. It has no irrigation, full sun, and is the dumping ground for piles of snow in the winter. I’ve been to many properties and most of them have an area just like this; either along a driveway or perhaps the “hell strip” between a sidewalk and the street. These are tough areas that require tough plants. When I set out to replant this area, I looked for plants that were:
- Drought tolerant (once established)
- Snow tolerant (plants that will die back in winter so I don’t worry about them being crushed by snow. Woody shrubs always suffer breakage under snow)
- Salt tolerant (since this is along the driveway, salt tolerance is great)
- Layered heights
Here is a trio of easy to find plants that met this criteria:
Panicum virgatum ‘Prairie Sky’ is a great choice for the back row, it is a native ornamental grass that gets 3′ wide and up to 4′ tall (taller when it blooms). There are a number of varieties of Panicum virgatum that all work well (‘Shenandoah’ is another favorite of mine.)
Achillea ‘Belvin Red’ is a beautiful bright Yarrow. Yarrows come in almost any color and they are great choices for drought tolerant plant combinations. I particularly liked this color against the blue foliage of the Panicum.
Sedum ‘Pizzaz’ is a fall perennial for the front row, it will bloom after the Achillea is done for the season . Any Sedum works well in hot dry spots, and it is salt tolerant which makes it a great choice along driveways.
If you have a tough spot like this in your yard, any combination of Panicum, Achillea and Sedum (pick your favorite varieties) will work well!