Whether you're starting from scratch or renovating an existing landscape, take comfort in knowing that every site has its challenges—and this one was no exception. Weather in Zone 7B
ranges from ice storms and 10-degree lows to intense heat and humidity and 110-degree highs. The Cottage at Cloudland Station was new construction, so very little native topsoil remained after grading. The sloped terrain funneled rivers of rainwater into the front yard. And where there wasn't deep shade, there was searing sun. Against all that, I aimed to create a landscape that's colorful and interesting in four seasons, yet easy-care and fuss-free. And you can, too. Here are a few tips—and some of my favorite plants—to get you going!