Those hubs of activity in your outdoor living areas -- like swimming pools, spas, patios, decks, porches, and outdoor dining areas -- are ideal places to add some scents to your garden. Forget the candles and citronella, we're talking about fragrant plants that remind you and your guests why it's so enjoyable to be outdoors instead of indoors.
Many plants' scents are intensified at night -- all the more reason to relax outdoors under the stars. Enjoy the aromas.
JasmineSome jasmines are unscented. If you're looking for the fragrant ones, try Jasminum floridum, J. humile (Italian Jasmine), J. laurifolium nitidum (Shining and Angelwing Jasmine), J. officinale (Common White and Poet's Jasmine), and J. sambac (Arabian Jasmine and Pikake). The popular Star Jasmine is not a true jasmine, but wonderfully fragrant. Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) comes from China and grow to a twining 20-30-foot vine with support.
PlumeriaPlumeria (Frangipani, Pua Melia) are flowering plants or small trees often associated with Hawaii and other tropical islands. Sweetly scented varieties are Plumeria rubra 'Kauka Wilder' and 'Smith's Candystripe.' Plumeria is an excellent pool or spa-side plant and grows well in containers.
Jewel Mint of CorsicaJust the name alone makes you want to add this to your garden. Mentha requienii is a Mediterranean native and a spreading, low-growing mint groundcover that has a nice minty aroma when touched or lightly bruised. Try it as a fragrant filler between pavers or stepping stones.
Flowering TobaccoEspecially for nonsmokers, the thought of anything with the name "tobacco" added to this list might raise eyebrows. Flowering Tobacco is an upright plant with slightly sticky flowers that sometimes open just at night or on cloudy days. The sweetest-smelling varieties are Nicotiana alata 'Grandiflora,' and N. sylvestris.
RosesOf course these have to be mentioned, even if everyone knows about their legendary scents. If planting rose bushes near a pool or spa, make sure they are several feet away from high-traffic areas. You know -- the thorn issue.