Garden Photo of the Day

Amy’s Stylish Garden Solution

A common garden problem at the end of a driveway gets a simple but beautiful solution

small garden bed with bench

Hey GPODers!

While it’s always exciting to see the array of garden beds and plantings scattered throughout someone’s space, sometimes the best inspiration can come from a detailed look at one specific planting that was particularly successful or a perfect solution for a tricky spot. Today’s submission is a great example of the latter. Today we’re in Amy Palmer’s garden, looking at a small garden bed that is a simple but beautiful solution to a garden problem most of us northern gardeners face: snow piles.


This is Amy Palmer once again from Bridgehampton, Long Island, NY. Years ago you published a little something from my garden (Check out that post here: Highlights from a Long Island Garden). These pictures show the solution to a small problem that we had at the end of our gravel driveway. In years past the snow plow in the depths of winter would dump piles of snow where you now see the bench and planting. We did not create a planting for the area at the end of the driveway because we thought whatever we put there would be ruined by the weight of the huge snow pile that would be left there by the plow in the winter time.

Last year we decided to place in that area a curved planting that would disappear with the first hard frost or two, but then reappear each spring. The answer was nepeta and Royal Standard hostas (Hosta ‘Royal Standard’, Zones 3–9). We added a bench and two small lightweight planters. We curved the planting area since curves are always nicer than straight lines in the garden.

Thought you might like to see the solving of a problem area that has given us great pleasure. It always looked so lonely there with nothing at the end of the drive.

white garden bench in front of small garden bedWhat came first: the plants or the bench? Either way, Sarah found complete harmony with these hardy plants and an elegant bench with slats that don’t block the view of the purple nepeta flowers behind.

Nepeta with Royal Standard HostasFrom another angle you can really see the vigor of this planting, and it’s hard to imagine that this very spot in winter is a heaping pile of snow!

another angle of the small garden bed with Nepeta and Royal Standard HostasNot every garden bed needs to be an elaborate mix of varied plants. If an area of your garden is giving your grief, take a page out of Amy’s book and create something simple but absolutely effective.

Nepeta with Royal Standard Hostas at the end of a drivewayEven beautiful from behind!

small garden bed with benchThe edge of a driveway isn’t the first place I would think to sit back and relax, but who ever said our gardens can’t bend and break the rules a little? Make design choices that you like and your garden will always look good.

gravel driveway with small garden bed at endLastly, the view of the bed as you’re pulling into the driveway. What a wonderful welcome to the garden!

Thank you for this little garden update, Amy! Would love to see more updates from your garden soon. And to everyone reading, what garden solution are you most proud of? Let us know in the comments or send me the story to [email protected]!


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View Comments


  1. nwphilagardener 06/20/2024

    This formal planting does offer merits as outlined by the GPOD Editor. But is this a place you really want someone to sit? Should we place a bench if we DON'T want someone to sit there? Wouldn't the plant grouping look as satisfying if the bench were replaced with a white flowering annual or perennial? How about a sculpture? I'll bet there might be some other place in this garden to sit where it is safe and pleasant. For me, that's why you place a bench in the garden.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/20/2024

    Beautiful bench.

  3. User avater
    simplesue 06/20/2024

    I love it! It is so European looking to me with the gravel. Your little composition of garden planters, bench and plant choices is perfection! And yes, I would enjoy sitting on the bench (unlike a comment above) as the view is so peaceful with the curved drive leading your eye to a part of the garden you can't see giving it mystery.
    Very impressive!

  4. shegardens 06/20/2024

    I think this was an attractive and easy fix to a common problem--for some of us)--to those snow piles. And if the snow plow makes a damaging turn, there's not a lot lost in expense, as opposed to other garden art or a sculpture (although that airy back to the bench might be hard to place).
    A lot of garden benches probably get little physical use, but they still serve a purpose.
    Thanks for the inspiration, Amy!

  5. btucker9675 06/20/2024

    Lovely! Hopefully the snow plow drivers are careful when they see the bench! When I lived in northern NJ, I used to believe that they took great joy in waiting until I had cleared my long driveway, then come through and push the snow right back in...

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