When landscaping the side of your garage, your choices for plants might be limited by the soil: dry, wet, shallow, or nonexistent (in the case of concrete). However, you still have options when it comes to planting on either side of your garage.
For dry soil, plant juniper, lilac, or rosemary on the side of a garage. For wet soil, plant winterberry, primrose, or violet on the side of a garage. For shallow soil, plant basil, mint, or spinach on the side of a garage. If there is no soil, you can use containers to plant on the side of your garage.
Of course, the type of plants you use will depend on whether you want tall growth, thick foliage, or flowers.
In this article, we’ll look at some ideas for what to plant on the side of your garage. You should be able to find something you can use, no matter what type of soil you have (if any) next to your garage.
Let’s get started.
What To Plant On The Side Of Your Garage
The plants you choose for the side of your garage will depend on the type of soil you have. If the soil tends to stay dry (sandy soil), then you will want drought-tolerant plants.
Plants For Side of Garage With Dry Soil
The following plants will tolerate dry soil on the side of a garage, and many will survive drought:
- Gray Dogwood – true to its name, this shrub has gray bark, with white flowers and fruit that starts green and changes to white. Gray dogwood usually grows 4 to 10 feet tall, which is perfect for the side of a garage.
- Juniper – this coniferous evergreen shrub is a member of the cypress family. The height of juniper can vary, so choose a height that is appropriate for your garage. This shrub blooms in autumn, winter, or spring.
- Spirea – this shrub is also known as meadowsweets or steeplebushes. They are deciduous, so they will lose their leaves in the fall. Spirea produces many small flowers in dense clusters.
- Lilac – this shrub is a deciduous flowering plant that is native to the Balkan peninsula. Lilac is popular for its scented purple flowers, and its bark is gray or gray-brown. Growing 6 to 7 feet tall, it is perfect for the side of a garage.
- Bachelor’s Buttons – this common name is used for several species of flowering annuals. One of the most familiar is also known as cornflower. It is native to Europe and has blue flowers, growing 1.5 to 3 feet tall.
- Rosemary – this perennial herb is native to the Mediterranean region. Rosemary has fragrant leaves that are often used as seasoning. The flowers are white, pink, blue, or purple. Rosemary can live as long as 30 years, making it a good long-term choice for the side of your garage.
- Daylily – this flowering perennial is not really a lily. The flowers only last a day, and some of them bloom at night. The daylily is native to Asia, and tolerates both drought and frost.
- Lavender – this flowering perennial is a member of the mint family. The plant is used as an herb and for its essential oils. Lavender flowers are fragrant and can be blue, violet, or lilac.
- Agave – this perennial succulent produces strong, thick leaves. It can take several years (sometimes up to 60 years) to mature and produce flowers. When it does flower, it produces a tall stem from which the flowers grow. Some agave plants produce new plants through suckers.
- Aloe – this flowering succulent with many species, including Aloe vera (true aloe), which is used for medicinal purposes (treating minor cuts or burns). Like all succulents, Aloe produces thick leaves. The flowers are yellow, orange, red, or pink and grow in dense clusters.
- Echeveria – this flowering succulent can come in evergreen or deciduous varieties. Echeveria flowers grow on short stalks, and the plant has thick leaves with bright colors.
This list is not exhaustive – you can find many more drought tolerant plants on the Penn State University website.
Plants For Side of Garage With Wet Soil
The following plants will tolerate wet soil on the side of a garage:
- Winterberry – this deciduous shrub is a species of holly native to North America. The berries serve as food for birds such as robins. Winterberry grows 3 to 16 feet tall, so it could eventually grow well over the roof of a garage. The leaves are glossy green and the flowers are small and white.
- Laurel – this is a family of flowering plants. Some members of the family are deciduous, such as Sassafras. Others are evergreen, such as Bay leaf or true laurel. Bay leaves are aromatic and are often used in cooking. The flowers on Laurel are pale yellow-green and come in sets of two next to a leaf.
- Highbush Blueberry – this deciduous shrub grows 6 to 12 feet tall and wide, making it a good fit for the side of a garage. The leaves are dark green and glossy, but turn red, orange, yellow, or purple in fall. The flowers are long and bell-shaped, and come in white to light pink colors. The best part is that you get edible berries from this shrub! Remember that most blueberry species need hundreds of chilling hours, so you need a winter that is cold enough or you won’t get fruit.
- Blue Phlox – this flowering perennial grows 10 to 20 inches tall, making it a good ground cover for the side of a garage. The flowers of Blue Phlox are fragrant and come in blue, lavender, purple, pink, or white.
- Primrose – this flowering plant comes in many species (over 500). They bloom mostly in spring, and flowers can be purple, yellow, red, pink, blue, or white. Some primroses can survive in alpine climates.
- Violet – this genus contains over 500 species of flowering plants. Most are found in the Northern Hemisphere. Some of the species of violet are perennial, and some are annual.
This list is not exhaustive – you can find many more plants that tolerate wet soil on the Penn State University website.
If you want to avoid planting in wet soil, you can also use raised beds to improve drainage (the elevation means gravity helps to move water out of the top layer of soil).
If you struggle with wet soil, check out my article on some solutions to this problem.
Plants For Side of Garage With Shallow Soil
You might not have much soil on the sides of your garage, or perhaps the soil is rocky. No matter – the following plants have shallow roots and can grow well in shallow soil:
- Arugula – this annual is used as a leaf vegetable, and the flavor is somewhat bitter.
- Basil – this leafy herb is often used for seasoning. It goes well with tomatoes. Basil is sensitive to cold and frost.
- Celery – a marshland plant that has a long stalk that is often eaten whole or chopped up for use in soups.
- Kohlrabi – a member of the brassica family, you can eat both the stem and leaves of kohlrabi.
- Lettuce – an annual leaf vegetable that is a member of the daisy family.
- Mint – a family of flowering plants in the sage family. The leaves are aromatic and are used in cooking or for tea.
- Onions – a bulb in the Allium family that can be very sweet, but also very spicy, depending on the variety.
- Spinach – a leafy green flowering annual grown for its edible leaves.
In addition to improving the appearance of your garage, you will get some herbs and vegetables from these shallow-rooted plants.
Plants For Side of Garage With No Soil
You might have no soil at all on the side of your garage, due to a patio, brickwork, or concrete walkway. Even in this case, you can still grow plants on the side of your garage.
One way to do this is to put your plants in containers, and then arrange them however you like. You can use any of the following for container gardening:
- Clay pots – easy to shatter and heavier to move than plastic, but they give a nicer appearance.
- Plastic pots – lighter than clay but less permeable for air and water.
- Grow bags – these containers allow both air and water through. Air pruning of roots happens automatically to prevent root-bound plants.
- Raised garden boxes – these can be made of wood, plastic, metal, or any other material you can think of.
As long as the container itself is deep enough, you can grow anything you like, including:
- Dwarf fruit trees – just be sure to choose a variety that will tolerate the cold in your area (check the catalog for the USDA Hardiness Zones).
- Shrubs – a series of juniper, holly, or arbor vitae will form a nice row along the side of your garage. Planting in a container will limit their growth so they don’t become too tall, which makes maintenance easier.
- Flowers – you can use a container to grow any of the flowers mentioned earlier. Just remember that containers often dry out faster than soil in the ground.
- Herbs – you can grow most herbs in a small container outdoors and bring them in for the winter if necessary.
- Vegetables – you will have to replant most vegetable crops every year, since most of them are annual. However, the upside is that you get fresh, homegrown food for your effort.
- Vines – any flowering vines that can climb a trellis or arbor would do well on the side of a garage, including bougainvillea, clematis, ivy, and wisteria.
Now you have some ideas for what to grow on the side of your garage, depending on the soil situation.
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