clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

How to Anchor Hardscaping with Plants | This Old House: Live

Ask This Old House landscape contractor Jenn Nawada helps out a friend with some plantings that work well with a winding, brick walkway. 

Steps for Anchoring Hardscaping with Plants:

1. Start by selecting the plants for around the hardscape. In general, Jenn considers the following when selecting plants:

  • Be sure to select plants that will bloom in different seasons, so there’s always some color along the walkway.
  • Take note of how much sun the area receives and select plants that will thrive in those conditions accordingly.
  • Consider colors. At Mark’s house, Jenn picked a Japanese maple to bring out the red of the brick walkway, and she also picked a few varieties of evergreens, which is the complementary color of the red walkway.

2. Stage the plants in the bed. Keep taller plants towards the back and shorter plants towards the front.

3. Dig a hole twice as wide and just as deep as each plant.

4. Tease the roots of the plant with your fingers.

5. Place the plant in the hole.

6. Backfill the plant with soil. Jenn recommends adding a little starter fertilizer to help the roots get established.

7. Repeat this process for the rest of the plants.

8. Water the plants with a garden hose. Make sure the water gets to the base of the plants and not just on the tops of the foliage.

9. Add mulch to keep the weeds down and the soil moist.


Jenn selected a variety of plants for Mark’s side yard, including a Japanese maple tree, boxwoods, hostas, and a mascon. These can all be found at nurseries.

Shopping List: