It would be a shame not to enjoy the visual effect provided by ornamental flowers on staircases. Indeed, staircases allow you to create a geometric effect and a strict alignment with simple flower pots. Choose not only beautiful decorative species but also varieties that give off a sweet scent to fill your stairs with their fragrance. Here is how to lay out different flower species on staircases.

Draw a sketch of your staircase on a sheet of paper, and sketch your desired landscape. Let your imagination flow freely when arranging your flowers, but remember to follow some basic principles: the steps’ surroundings should not be overloaded so as not to impede the passage and the steps should be of sufficient width to accommodate the plants. However, remember to be realistic about the containers’ sizes, and anticipate the plants’ future development.  You do not have to set up a pot on each step; the final ensemble should be colourful without being overloaded.

Ornamental plants in the foreground

Shrubs can be placed at the foot of the stairs, on either side, like miniature plant pillars. These species, which are a little more impressive than the usual ornamental flowers, will give structure to the setting. Otherwise, you can also choose bushy perennials. A rose bush or dwarf palm tree will produce a better effect. It is true that in the spring, the ideal period for planting shrubs is over. But there are plants in containers that adapt well to planting during that season. Be careful to always check for the shrub’s final size. Remember to choose your shrub by examining its roots upon purchase: they should not be coming out of the drainage holes or be entangled. The seedling must have several branches at its base. Regarding shrubs, an additional benefit is that they enjoy being close to a solid element, such as a wall for example. Among the most decorative species, we recommend heath, dwarf honeysuckle, flowering almond, red-flowering currant, the tree peony, or rose bushes.

The steps’ surroundings can be filled with grass. Prepare your soil ahead of time by removing gravel and stones and bringing in garden earth and potting soil. Afterwards, set up perennial plants around the shrubs. Forget annual or biennial plants right away, unless you are ready to question and redesign your staircase’s floral architecture after each bloom. Indeed, perennial plants have the distinctive trait of being able to bloom for several consecutive years. These plants need to give the impression that they form a nest from which the staircase rises. This is where the colour scheme is of major importance. Compile a ground cover from a combination of lavender, artemisia, tickseed sunflowers, perennial geraniums, coreopsis, chamomile, or Christmas rose. In this case, you have to play on the scents, colours and shapes as well. Aromatic herbs and spring bulbs allow you to enjoy their pleasant scents.

We recommend that you space out the clumps with different species of white flowers. The white will make a nice transition between the different colours while harmonizing the whole. Furthermore, also plan for species with evergreen foliage in winter. Privet, skimmia or laurel are good examples. Consequently, your staircase will not be bare between flowering periods and seasons. The flowers placed in the foreground should have a height between 6 and 40 inches (15 cm and 1 m).

Your staircase’s background

The background will receive the slightly more imposing plants and, in certain cases, other shrubs. Moreover, this background should also include several varieties of perennials, as well as evergreen species, to provide a backdrop of greenery. Choose flowering or fruit shrubs so as to have a staggered flowering throughout the year. Also play on the seasonal effects of deciduous foliages and berries. These shrubs can be purchased with their roots bare or as compressed clods in containers.

Stairs and the staircases’ undersides

There is only one rule for the stairs: do not overload them with heavy pots or large bush-like species. Moreover, it is essential to regularly clean concrete or stone stairs with a fungicide or bleach. In fact, moulds are likely to make them slippery. Tall floral species can produce a railing effect, but remember to trim them to prevent the stem from thinning out at the bottom.

The stairs’ underside constitutes an empty, non-functinal space. Thus, make the best use of it by installing shelves that can be used to display pretty pottery (of different shapes and sizes). And this time, artificial flowers are recommended for a better, enduring decorative effect. Remember to select models of the same colour tone, for example a range of red shades, to give an impression of unity in the composition.

Related posts:

  1. Flowering shrubs
  2. Growing and maintaining evergreen shrubs
  3. Choosing, maintaining, and planting ornamental shrubs
  4. Flowering shrubs
  5. Creating a flower garden

Published in Home by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011