The only thing limiting planting along the side of the garage is your imagination. Frequently a place in the yard needing a serious makeover, plants draw the eye away from this structure’s blank exterior wall and places the focus on attractive greenery. The direction the wall faces is one of the most important considerations for plant selection. For example, east- and west-facing walls call for plants that thrive in partial sun.
Evergreen Foundation Shrubs
Adorn the side of the garage year-round with evergreen shrubs. For a south- or east-facing side, try Japanese pieris (Pieris japonica) which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8. It grows 9 to 12 feet tall by 6 to 8 feet wide and bears white flowers in spring amid glossy leaves. For a north- or west-facing side, try Canadian hemlock “Bennett” (Tsuga canadensis “Bennett”), which grows in USDA zones 3 through 7. This needled evergreen grows 3 to 5 feet tall by 4 to 6 feet wide and resists deer.
Long-Blooming Bushy Perennials
Make a mass planting of long-blooming bushy perennials to embellish the side of your garage. For a border or large containers in the hot and humid areas of USDA zones 9 through 11, try angelonia “Serena Mixture” (Angelonia angustifolia “Serena Mixture”) and enjoy flowers in pink, purple and white. Good for the sunny side of a garage with a low window, or other decorative feature, it grows 9 inches to 1 1/2 feet tall in full sun. The crimson-red blossoms on mountain fleece “Firetail” (Persicaria amplexicaulis “Firetail”) attracts butterflies and resists deer in USDA zones 4 through 7. Appropriate for spots with full sun to light shade, it prefers average to wet soil. Both bushy perennials flower from spring through fall.
Transform the side of your garage with a vine-covered trellis. Carolina yellow jessamine or jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens) grows 12 to 20 feet tall in USDA zones 7 through 10 and prefers full sun, but tolerates light shade. From February to April, expect this evergreen native to produce loads of scented yellow blossoms. Wild passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) grows 6 to 8 feet tall in USDA zones 6 through 9 and tolerates drought and prefers full sun to partial shade. From July to September, this native plant puts out intricate purple flowers, followed by edible fruit. Both vines have fragrant flowers and spread 3 to 6 feet wide.
Espalier Fruit Trees
You can grow espalier fruit trees along the side of your garage in USDA zones 7 through 10. “Gold Nugget” loquat (Eriobotrya japonica “Gold Nugget”) works well for coastal sites, or anywhere that has full sun to full shade and quickly grows 35 feet tall. Its fragrant, white blossoms appear in fall, followed by edible fruit in summer. The persimmon “Hachiya” (Diospyros kaki “Hachiya”) prefers full sun, and grows 35 feet tall at a rate of 24 inches each year. Its inconspicuous spring or summer flowers yield sizable orange fruit in fall.