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Q: We'd like to plant a flowerbed—one that will look good year-round and be easy to maintain. Any tips?

Tamara says...
Before you get down and dirty, start with a clear vision of your desired outcome. Then choose the staple plants that you can build around, taking into consideration shade/sun levels in that area. Select an off-centre spot to plant your tallest shrub or tree, and balance it out with a medium-height plant on the opposite side. Add a variety of plant sizes and heights, finishing with the lowest plants closest to the perimeter. Evergreen shrubs offer foliage in any season, and well-placed rocks and lights create drama on the most dreary of days. For fall, add some perennials, such as sedums (thick, rubbery green leaves with rusty blooms), turtle head (white/pink flowers), fall-blooming anemone or black-eyed Susans.

Tamara Chiarello's interior design company, In Vision, does both residential and commercial work. Send her your decorating questions here.