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Mailbox Beautification: Landscaping to the Letter

Does your mailbox stick out like a sore thumb? Landscaping around the mailbox can transform that corrugated tin-container-on -a-stake into an attractive anchor for flowers, ornamental grass, or evergreens, according to The Washington Post.

One way to start is to simply surround your mailbox with flowers. Just keep a few things in mind. First, you need tall, upright varieties that won't get dwarfed by the mailbox. But don't get so carried away that you block your letter carrier's access. Black-eyed Susans, threadleaf coreopsis, purple cornflowers and other daisy family members will form a colorful cluster. Additional distinctive alternatives would be dwarf or medium hybrid sunflowers, hollyhocks, or hardy hibiscus. Decide whether you want your flower bed to stick out or blend in with the surroundings. To make it more prominent, mulch heavily and install a border of metal edging, stones, or tiles.

Traditional climbing varieties can make a very successful mailbox mask but will need a better foothold than the standard four-foot post. Install a trellis behind the post firmly supported by metal stakes, and train your climatis or wisteria around the post and trellis.

Ornamental grass can be planted into the late summer or fall for an exotic visual touch. You'll need to maintain your grassy oasis to keep it from becoming a thicket--ornamental grasses grow slowly but steadily. Some showy varieties include Flame grass, which turns blazing orange-red or purple in the fall, and the giant varieties such as the 12-foot ravenna grass with its two- foot-long flower stalks.

For a dense mass of green, there are the classic evergreen bushes--yew, for example. Take it to the extreme if you want, sculpting the bush as it grows around the mailbox until only the door peeks out.