How do I Choose the Best Plants for Landscaping?

Mary McMahon

There are a number of things to consider when selecting plants for landscaping, ranging from the climate in the area to aesthetic concerns. Sitting down ahead of time to plan out a landscaping scheme will result in a more even and pleasing appearance and can also cut down on problems like placing conflicting plants next to each other or accidentally establishing a plant that is not appropriate for the setting. While researching to prepare for landscaping, it is very helpful to have references available, whether online or in the form of gardening books.

Nursery workers and managers can recommend plants that are suitable for different landscaping needs.
Nursery workers and managers can recommend plants that are suitable for different landscaping needs.

The first consideration should be the space and the kind of look and feel people want the landscaped area to have. Landscaping should complement without overwhelming, and ideally should blend not just with the structures on the land, but also the surrounding environment. If a home is in a mountainous region, for example, the landscaping should echo the irregular skyline so it will have a more holistic and less jarring appearance.

When selecting plants for landscaping, people should walk around the property and get an idea of how the light is distributed over the course of the year, and what kinds of landmarks are most visible. It can help to take pictures or make sketches, and to create a chart breaking the garden up in terms of how much available light there is, what kinds of features are nearby, and whether the ground is high or low. Landscaping features, large shrubs and trees, should be mapped out first, and then filler can be added, keeping in mind that the plants will grow over time. Like plants should go with like; shade loving plants that need moisture, for example, should be clustered together.

Another consideration is the climate. Plants for landscaping will sicken and die if they are not climate-tolerant. Plant listings broken up by climate zone are available to give people an idea of their options and taking a stroll through the neighborhood can provide some information about which plants do best in the area. Some gardeners prefer to use native plants, as they tend to be perfectly adapted to the environment and they will use less water. Native plants come in myriad shapes, sizes, and colors, and so growing a native plant garden does not confine people to a limited range of options.

While choosing plants for landscaping, considerations like shape, color, and size also come into play. People usually like a mix of larger, mid range, and low to the ground plants for landscaping schemes, and they also try to think about how plants will interact with each other. An evergreen hedge can make a nice backing for a deciduous shrub, for example, or flowering plants in complementary tones can be planted near each other.

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