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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


6 Best Plants for a Colorful Hellstrip Garden

Renee Valdes
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Create a hellstrip garden that can survive the elements ll The Home Depot Garden Club

You know the no-man’s-land between the sidewalk and the street? It’s the publicly owned space called the hellstrip, and it’s ripe for planting a garden.

People call this space the hellstrip. This often neglected space endures some of the most extreme conditions, such as weather, foot and paw traffic, heat from the pavement, accidental tire marks and road salt in winter in some parts of the country.


Best ways to plant a hellstrip garden

Hellstrip garden with roses, veronica and more

Before you jump in, be sure your neighborhood allows hellstrip gardens and that your city, town or municipality enforces no restrictions. Also make sure what you plant will work well in the environment near the sidewalk for the conditions described above. Check your plant tags to know if it’s a heat-loving perennial or annual.

While homeowners plant everything from trees and shrubs to shade-loving groundcover in hellstrips, there’s more you can do to create a colorful garden in this space.

Stick to heat-tolerant and drought-tolerant plants such as veronica and salvia (shown above) growing near the hellstrip. Consider growing plants less than 4 feet tall or keep them trimmed for safety reasons.  

Be sure to steer clear of utility pipes, lines and poles. 

6 drought-tolerant plants for a hellstrip garden


1. Coneflower

You can’t have enough heat-loving coneflower (echinacea) in a garden. Not only is it colorful, it also works perfectly in your curbside creation because it feeds off the heat and keeps blooming strong even when the weather cools.

Coneflower comes in a variety of colors, including pink, purple, red, orange and white.

Veronica Speedwell

2. Veronica

These purple spiked flowers add more dimension in your hellstrip garden. Veronica, also known as speedwell, can take part shade if your hellstrip is only partly sunny.

For contrast, carefully arrange landscape rocks around your plants to help keep weeds down.

Sunsplash coreopsis

3. Coreopsis

Also known as tickseed, sturdy coreopsis like to soak up the sun and can take dry spells. Try two-toned blooms for more color that lasts well into fall in your hellstrip garden.


4. Iris

Hardy iris is a perfect flowering plant for a hellstrip garden. They spread easily, so the curbside garden is a fitting container.

Place mulch or wood chips to help plants retain water during hot spells. If you need to thin out and divide your plants, give some to neighbors for their hellstrips.

Rosemary planted in hellstrip garden

5. Rosemary

Pungent rosemary can survive some of the harshest conditions and thrive in hellstrip gardens. Plant around a mailbox or in the middle of a strip. It can also grow into a shrub.

Couple your rosemary with blooms on this list and accent with other herbs such as creeping thyme, if desired.

Hellstrip garden

6. Black-eyed Susans

Of course you can plant annual sunflowers in your mega-sunny hellstrip garden for an unconventional hellstrip garden. But why not try black-eyed susans, a daisy-like perennial popular with bees and other pollinators that easily multiplies in your garden. These native perennials are easy to grow in full sun, performing well even in poor soil and dry conditions.

Plant these low-maintenance beauties in masses as a border. Pair with ornamental grasses and shrubs, such as loropetalum, for a filled out look.