Would You Use Fake Plants Mixed In With Real Plants In Front Yard Flower Beds?

There’s a house that was recently completed about two miles from our house, and I absolutely love this house. To be honest, I can’t even remember what was there before. Is this a brand new house? Was the house there before, and they just completely remodeled it?

I have no idea. But this new (or newly remodeled) house is really pretty. What I notice first and foremost every single time I drive by are the two pretty spiral cedar topiaries they have in their front flower gardens.

I absolutely love spiral topiaries, and I’d love to have some in my front flower beds as well. But I’ve had spiral topiaries before, and just couldn’t (or didn’t want to) keep up with them. You have to keep them trimmed to keep their shape, which I didn’t enjoy doing. But what bothered me the most about them was that one grew more than the other. So while they started off looking identical as they flanked my front door, they eventually lost that pretty, symmetrical look. And then I killed them. (Not intentionally, I promise!)

And what happens if you have two topiaries flanking your front door, and the one of them dies? There’s no way to find another one that will look identical after the original has been planted and growing for a while. It seems like you’d have to replace both of them if you want to keep that symmetrical look.

I’m not one of those people who gets really annoyed by fake plants. I use a combination of fake and real plants inside our home. Heck, I even use a combination of real and fake outside of our home on/around our front porch.

The two tall-ish cedars on either side of the front steps are fake. I think they’re fantastic quality, and once you fluff and manipulate the branches a little, they look pretty real to me. (And they’re on sale for $38 right now!)

But I’ve always drawn the line with fake plants at keeping them in pots. As long as they’re potted, it seems fine to me. But actually planting them in the ground? Outside? In the front yard? I know other people do it. I’ve seen their pictures in the customer review section of Amazon listings. And you know what? They look great!

In the past, I’ve contemplated whether or not I could do artificial grass in our front yard. I finally decided that I don’t want to be that person in central Texas who has the perfectly green yard in the middle of winter while everyone else’s grass is dormant and looks dead and brown. Nothing could make it more obvious that the grass is fake.

I’ve also contemplated whether or not I could use fake plants in the flower boxes I eventually plan to build (yes, I do still plan to build them) for the front windows of our house. I envision the studio looking something like this eventually, except that the steps to the studio door will be white and stained wood like the front steps rather than red brick…

Honestly, I wouldn’t have any problem doing fake greenery mixed with real flowers if I needed to. But there are some great, easy-to-grow green plants (like potato vines) that are available that may eliminate any need for fake greenery for me. Even if I did use fake greenery in those, there’s not much of a hurdle from using fake plants in a pot and fake plants in a window box. That’s basically the same thing.

But actually planting fake plants in the ground in a flower bed? I’m just not sure about it. What I do know is that if I’m going to have topiaries of any kind, they will have to be fake. And since I drive by that house just about every single day, and see their beautiful topiaries, I really want my own topiaries! I think the fake ones might work if they’re mixed in with real plants and colorful annuals.

I haven’t found any spiral topiaries that I think look real, but I did find these ball topiaries that I’m tempted to buy. They have great ratings, and while the product photos wouldn’t have convinced me (they all seem very photoshopped and way too perfect to be real), the customer pictures look really good. None of them show the topiaries planted in the ground, though.

I think I might go for it. If they don’t work out in the front flower beds, I can always put them in planters and move them to the back when we eventually have a deck in the back.

Would you ever try fake topiaries (or other “evergreen” plants) in the front flower bed? Have you ever tried it? These particular topiaries are labeled for for indoor or outdoor use, and the listing says they can be put in the ground. And while they’re plastic, I can’t imagine that they’d last forever, especially in the Texas sun and heat. So while they may last a long time, I would expect that they’d eventually fade and have to be replaced. If you’ve done it, I’m curious to know how long they lasted.



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  1. I don’t have fake plants in my yard but I do have fake flowers in our second story window box for our inlaw apartment. They look so real I actually saw hummingbirds checking them out. Some of the faux plants are so realistic now that you actually have to touch them to see if they’re real. Just make sure you get UV resistant ones, which I’m sure you know already. A benefit is they’re drought tolerant if that is an issue for you. Plus you don’t need to worry if they’re getting enough sun or too much sun. I know it will look awesome with your creative talent.

  2. I have seen some used in vacation rental homes. Real ones would not be watered on a regular basis. They look good in the beginning, but then they turn blue. Not good! If you find some that stay green, I say, go for it!

  3. Being so hot in Texas I think fake would be a great idea. However, I feel like they would fade overtime even with some sort of UV protection. You could always spray paint them if that happens. I say go for it, try it out.

    1. This just makes me yearn to grow Texas Bluebells in a window box. I don’t know if it would work, but I’d have to put it to the test. Probably not helpful at all; I am one of those people who wouldn’t because I enjoy gardening so much. But that’s only my brain, other people do it all the time.

      1. I’m sorry, Jennie, I did not mean to post in response to yours. I can’t seem to hit my @$$ with both hands today.

  4. I have had fake topiaries in pots on my front porch for several years. When they get dusty I hose them off. I have noticed that they are beginning to fade; so, I’ll have to replace them in another year or two. I have three window boxes. I have used fake plants in them during the winter but never during other seasons. I will never plant fakes in my flower beds…just can’t do that.

    1. Craft stores sell floral spray paint if you’d care to try that before buying new plants! As long as you go lightly when spraying, and doing several coats if needed, it does the trick!

  5. I am a huge plant lover, but there are areas in our Gulf Coast Texas area yard where plants just seem to struggle no matter what I do. I am now looking at including some fake plants in my landscape beds. Some people are strongly opposed to using fake plants inside or outside. I don’t understand their objections and I ignore them. However, I will say that I strongly oppose artificial turf. It is terrible for the soil and for beneficial insects and worms. I would rather plant a clover yard than have artificial turf. I say give the topiaries a try. I’m going to try them to see how they stand up in our Zone 9 scorching Gulf Coast summer.

    1. There are so many reasonable objections to artificial grass. Personally, I would really miss seeing the birds and squirrels in my yard. I’ve realized over the last couple of years just how much I love sitting at the desk in the bedroom, looking out the front window right at our big oak tree in the front yard, and watching all of the activity that goes on. There’s continual, non-stop activity of bird and squirrels searching for food all over our front yard, playing in the tree, etc. With artificial grass, I’d miss out on all of that.

  6. I have had fake topiaries on my porch and now have mini cypress trees. They last for years before needing replacing, they don’t need water or any attention. You hose off the dust and done. Artificial plants, trees, and flowers have come such a long way!

  7. I would never do faux plants in a sunny location. No matter if they are intended for the outdoors they’re gonna fade really quick. Nothing bleaches like the sun. If they’re in a shady location or on your porch then I’d say go for it. If you don’t like it then you have another way to use them so it’s not wasted money.

    1. Why not use perennials (native or not) adapted for full sun and the type of soil there? Living plants that don’t fade!

  8. My son and I are lobbying for a clover yard here in Indiana. It’s so much softer and low maintenance. We don’t water our grass and it’s looking pretty crummy after a month of no rain. The clover patches look good though! We’ve just got to get the hubby on board. 😉

    1. When I saw a lot of horticultural websites were recommending happy-go-lucky ground-covers instead of persnickety grass, I dead-headed the white clover that had seeded it’s self and walked around the yard breaking up the heads and dropping them on the sparse areas. The next year I had clover spots everywhere. Then the ground covers in the garden spread (by the birds) to the other bare/sparse spots. I have a great lawn that is never watered, never fertilized, rarely mowed, and some of the ground cover is wild strawberry… yummmm. We in NH have plantain (looks like baby hosta), it is sweet, and is medicinal and makes great salad. Just Google “lawn alternative” or “ground cover”. Just don’t use a “weed & feed”, the weed part kills everything that is not grass. Ground covers don’t need anything, they are naturally self surviving, and self sufficient.

      1. Big advocate of that! I’ve reseeded with clover in different areas and there are groundcover seed mixes that work for warmer areas too.

  9. I used fake plants outside before…not in an actual flower bed…but I got really nice fake hanging ferns for the 4 spots in my gazebo. I had tried real flowers….they died halfway through the summer. Two were in the full sun and 2 were in the shade. It’s in my backyard, but very visable from the street. Even my next door neighbor had to ask and he can bring flowers back from the dead! I also got hanging fushia pots for my front porch..2 of them. I got all of them at A C Moore when they had a big sale in the spring…pricey for all, but they lasted me a good many years. I agree with the topiary trees…..go for it!

  10. Did plant them in larger footed planters and sat on each side of our garage. I washed them off with car wash soap and sprayed them. They looked real. Got stolen.

  11. I am done fighting (and the obscene expense) with keeping a lawn. I now follow millions of others and plant spreading ground covers that deliver greens, flowers, and even edible fruit. I live in central N. H., a zone of 6a, and get lots of comments like “I’m gonna do that, from now on.

  12. As far as faux foliage and flower… ABSOLUTELLY!!! I have birds, bugs, and people reaching out to touch the incredibly real-looking faux, that gets peppered in to replace the fatigued live and dying. It’s your house and your expense; do what pleases YOU.

  13. I’m a real flower/plant person, but I’m retired, and have time to water. Even so, I am not adverse to anyone using fake plantings as long as they look real. The cheap stuff at Walmart just won’t make the grade, and will fade in days! That’s what I hate seeing! And seeing fake flowers in boxes or pots when it’s snowing makes me crazy. I say if you can avoid fake, then do so, or replace your fakes when they look fake! As for artificial grass, I say fine for parts of the back yard (for a dog run or around the patio areas) because there are some superior fake turfs now, that even let the soil breathe. But not in the front yard. I’d rather see clover or even a professional rock garden yard, with hardy shrubs in beds, like in Arizona and New Mexico.

  14. I totally would use artificial topiaries, if they are good quality. The cedars on/around your front porch look great. You could use heat tolerant bedding plants around the topiaries, and the combination would be very attractive.

    We live in Texas, and our part of town has such high quality clay that our house is actually built with arroyo bricks. So I know what it’s like to find plants that will survive, much less thrive.

    If it looks good and it makes your eyes happy, do it!!

  15. I love Nearly Natural! (https://www.nearlynatural.com/)
    They can be pricey, but every now and then you can catch a sale at an online retailer. Plus they won’t die…so that’s money saved if you have a finicky growing zone. I really love a couple of the spirals they have, but I’ve never had a spot for them.

  16. Maybe don’t plant plant them in the ground so you can move them inside or on the porch over the winter. Bury a terracotta pot in the ground and then drop them in with their containers intact. When it’s winter you just put a saucer on top to keep dirt and stuff out. The added benefit here is that they will last longer out of the sun half the year.

  17. Absolutely! I have a black thumb and bought fake little bushes and some flowers from dollar tree and collections etc. A neighbor asked my daughter about what type of bush it was because she wants to plant one. My daughter being 16 giggled and said they’re fake. The lady couldn’t believe it. I came out because I had only heard part of the conversation. And the lady laughed and wanted to confirm that this little bush is fake? I said yep! And pointed to that one and that one and this over here. Recommended her to check collections etc! I pull them in during the winter so no one sees them now.

  18. Not sure but 9B in Florida- things if full sun will definitely fade quickly. Also remember what looks large in a pot may look tiny in the ground. The plants in your example photo should all be easy to grow- and are informal. Possibly keep the more formal topiaries in the urns near the porch.

  19. I’ve used fake lavender plants in a small shady garden. They maintained their color really well for 3 years, looked rather sad last year, and I need new ones this year. They look beautiful all summer and zero maintenance is my speed. If they were in a sunnier area they wouldn’t have lasted more than 1year, but buying annual plants would cost more, plus the fertilizer and soil I’d need. ( I live in the woods and the only thing that grows here is moss!) Wish I had thought of doing it years ago!

  20. I have a mix of both real and fake but all in pots. We live on the Outer Banks in NC so mine need to stand up to the sun and the wind we get off the ocean. I find that fake work well on the porch because they are more protected from the hot sun.On the full sun, and I have a few, tbey will last a few years before fading too bad. There is a spray you can buy for uv protection but I have never tried it. As for the topiary plant by the door I agree that fake would look better and last a long time under the porch roof.
    My neighbors and I always laugh a a home around the corner that has had the same fake ferns hanging on porch for years and they are so faded they look blue…big no no.
    I know whatever you come up with it will look beautiful! Have fun!!

  21. Sure would use fake plants – judiciously!! Some here there! I tend to think that picking the right plant and colour especially is important Some colours are too garish and a quick look can tell you they are not right. White is a good shade to choose depending on what you want to achieve. Why not buy faux topiary – if they are slightly in the shade in front of your door who’s being picky peeking over your fence!! Have a go – just be seasonal – my sister’s view as she occasionally pops a rose in the garden if her real ones are not doing so well. Then whips them out when the real roses fade. Good luck with your project.

  22. I live in Southern California so lots of sunshine and a drought. We have artificial grass and love it, no lack of animals or birds in our yard. I personally would not use artificial plants, our neighbor has them and they turn the fakest funny blue green color in no time. But, the joy of owning your own home is you get to do what you want.

  23. It’s so funny to me that you posted this today. Two days ago, I went to a store and got several fake summer flowers and put them in the pots I have in the front driveway.
    For several years, I have tried many different flowers that do well in sun, yet every single one dies…no matter that I water them, feed and keep an eye on rain. So, I am wasting no more on plants…I have a green one there already, and they both now have some colorful summer flowers. If they fade, they will just be replaced. Florida sun is evidently too much for sun-loving plants. So, I am definitely for supplementing with fake when it makes sense!

    1. Have you tried perennials native to your area/state? Those are adapted to live in your climate, and probably really beautiful, too!

  24. Yes I think you can do it. Go for it! I planted in the dirt faux flowers and green plants for the second spring/summer. They are all in pots but the pots are filled with dirt as I used to plant flowers in the past, I switch them out for mums in the fall.

  25. I did use them in the ground here in Louisiana. They were in flower beds by the front porch. Even decorated them with lights at Christmas. They were in the shade at all times so didnt fade in the 3 years i had them there. Sold the house with them still there 2 years ago so i dont know what the new owner did. These were cheap ones from Big Lots. Everyone thought they were real. I say go for it!

  26. I hate seeing faded fakes in window boxes or the ground. So if you can keep up with that, go for it! They almost always look great in the beginning. The problem is, the good ones that fade slowly and aren’t too perfectly trimmed are pricey. I wouldn’t do it, but I live where things grow easily and stay lush two-thirds of the year.

  27. Growing up there were two things I swore I would never do. Talk to our pet as “Mama” and “Daddy”, and use fake flowers. Well, as I age, we talk to our dog referring to ourselves as Mama and Daddy. Plus I have fake flowers. I have two large pots on my entryway full of every kind of fake blooming flowers. Looks very nice, I think. I did this last fall and they looked great all fall and winter. At Springtime, I ordered $100.00 worth, two of a kind from Joann’s. They were shipped directly to my house where I sorted them and filled the pots. They will stay there until fall when I do the same thing again. However I have never planted any just because I never thought on that. I might try that next year.

  28. The more and more I fight to keep my topiaries alive the more I am thinking this is the ONLY way to go!! And spray paint them when they fade.

  29. Me personally? No, I don’t prefer the look of fake/artificial plants, though I don’t mind how you’ve done it. Like a topiary, because who wants to maintain it? When it’s done right, it looks nice. But all artificial? Shudder! 😜

    I would more be an advocate of “Right Plant, Right Place” and the planting native plants as they’re adapted to their location, lower maintenance, and attract and benefit insects and wildlife…and they’re pretty! Nor do native plants need be planted in “wild” areas…where I am in the Midwest, Purple Coneflower, black-eyed Susans, bee-balm, Columbine, Ostrich Fern, and shrubs like Pontinella and Dogwood are common natives used in traditional style gardens, and are thriving with very little maintenance.

    People seem to get in a rut about planting only annuals, or little boxwoods and evergreens with a lawn (at least in the Midwest) because it’s what people are used to, but people are becoming more aware of native plants and their benefits (plant Milkweed, help Monarchs) and YouTube and books make it easy to learn what’s native to your area and how to grow it. And I’ve seen beautiful gardens mixed with native plants mixed with species from Europe and Asia. Plus there are cultivars of native species more available at garden centers, along with the species perennials.

    Plant fake plants in a mixed border? Ok, but throw in some native plants to benefit your animal and insect friends!