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Create Your Own Mailbox Garden

What do you see when you go out to collect the mail each day? A patch of worn earth or a vibrant, blooming garden? Creating a garden that will deliver smiles daily is an easy task when you consider these valuable tips.

Credit: Jitze Couperus (Flickr)

Contributors: Susan Martin

Let’s face it—we all lead busy lives that leave little time to actually stop and smell the roses. Though we may not have time to walk through and enjoy our gardens often enough, one thing you probably do every single day is go out to the mailbox to collect the daily mail.

What does the area around your mailbox look like? Is it a mishmash of street grit and stones accented by the occasional dandelion or is it a flourishing space filled with vibrant, fragrant flowers ready to greet you?

A mailbox garden is a prime opportunity to deliver a daily dose of smiles to you and your neighbors while ramping up your home’s curb appeal. Create a simple raised bed using railroad ties, paver blocks or any other material you like, fill it with good soil and beautiful flowers and you’re good to go.

Here are some valuable tips to consider when creating an inviting mailbox garden:

Credit: Maggie (Flickr)

Create a hospitable growing environment

If your mailbox is located right next to the roadway, chances are very good that the soil there contains residual road salt and is inhospitable to most plants except weeds. Building a raised bed around your mailbox that is 10-14” tall filled with good quality soil (think compost, manure, shredded leaves) topped with weed suppressing mulch may be necessary. In areas where roads are salted in winter, it is also important to choose salt tolerant plants for this garden that will thrive year after year.

Raised beds work well for mailbox gardens because it raises the plants out of the inhospitable soil found along the road.

Consider the culture

Is your mailbox in full sun or is it in shade part of the day? Do the sprinklers or hose reach that area? Mailbox gardens are often located in full sun and have drier soils because the moisture evaporates quickly due to the heat radiated from the pavement nearby. That’s one reason why drought tolerant plants are often planted there. Before you start to choose the right plants for your mailbox garden, you’ll need to assess these issues and make adjustments if necessary.

Mojave® Portulaca is great for mailbox gardens because it is low maintenance, drought and salt tolerant, and is colorful all season long.

Consider the design

All of the design tips (think color, contrast, texture) you’ve implemented in your other garden beds apply here too. It’s up to you how large of a garden you’d like to build around your mailbox. You could build a small bed for just a few plants or create a larger garden behind it, whatever your budget and time allow.

Veronica and daylilies are salt tolerant perennials that offer great contrasting colors and texture for your mailbox garden.

Delight the senses

What are your favorite flowers and colors? Plant those you love most where you will see them daily when you collect the mail to add bits of happiness into your day. Fragrant flowers like 'Orange Smoothie' daylilies and Fruit Punch® Dianthus are perfect for mailbox gardens, as are flowers with intricate color patterns that are best observed up close.

Pick a few sweetly fragrant Fruit Punch® flowers when you collect the mail at the end of a long day.

Add to your home’s curb appeal

For homes with mailboxes right out in front by the street, this is a perfect opportunity to boost your home’s curb appeal with a colorful garden that invites people in. Choose cheerful colors and use a variety of plants like Supertunia® petunias, Rainbow Rhythm® daylilies and Sprinter® boxwood that will hold year-round appeal. Be sure to keep this space neatly maintained or you’ll run the risk of giving the wrong first impression.

Pink is a popular, inviting color to add to your curb appeal, and Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum® has it in spades.

Be neighborly

Before you begin to build your new mailbox garden, consult your neighbor if you share that space with them. If you agree to perform the necessary maintenance, neighbors are often very accommodating of your gardening pursuits. Take care not to plant anything that would obstruct a motorist’s view of the road or the numbers on your mailbox. Consider planting flowers that do not attract bees since your mailman might be allergic, and keep thorny plants contained behind the mailbox. Lastly, leave enough room between the road and your mailbox garden to allow for the mail truck and snow removal.

Fragrant roses like At Last® will treat you with their delightful scent daily. Just be sure to keep their prickly branches away from the mailbox handle.

Ready to get started? Use our advanced search tool to find just the right plants for your mailbox garden and see our Pinterest board on salt tolerant plants.

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