What To Consider
When Selecting Plants
When planning-plants for a landscape there should be some carefully thought put into the plan. Based on the list of the things plants offer us, here is a list of things that should go into planning-plants. You need to think about what you want to accomplish and plan how to do it.
How much maintenance do you want to do? If you want low maintenance this limits the quantity and types of plants you can use. The more you have, the more there is to maintain. However, there are many shrubs today that are dwarf varieties that need very little, if any pruning, that will save a lot of time. If you enjoy spending time outdoors, caring for your landscape, then you can have a more complete landscape with a more varieties of plantings.
How much shade do you already have and how much do you want? If you already have a lot of shade, you will be limited as to the variety of plants you can grow. There are plants that grow well in the shade, but it is limited. If you have lots of sun, then do you want to plant trees that will eventually provide you with shade on those hot summer days? Moreover, where do you plant those trees to shade what you want shaded?
Do you enjoy wildlife, butterflies, birds, etc.? No, then how do you keep them away. Yes, then how do you attract them? Sometimes wildlife such as rabbits and deer can be a real problem for landscaping plants. Both deer and rabbits will eat a lot of your landscaping plants unless you find plants they do not like or have a way to protect them from the wildlife. Most flowering plants attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other nectar loving insects and birds. Shrubs with berries attract certain types of birds. The right selection of plants can help attract the things you want or discourage the things you don’t.
What colors do you like? Most landscapes should offer a variety of colors, but maybe there are some colors you do not like. Flowering plants offer the best variety of colors but you can get color through leaves, stems, bark, etc. Like painting a room, you want to use colors that complement other colors you choose and that complement the surroundings.
Do you need to screen off the neighbors? If you want a more private area, you may want to plant larger trees and shrubs or even a hedge to block the view into your yard or from your yard into theirs.
Would you like a vegetable or herb garden? A mixed garden area with both flowering plants and edible plants takes some work but may be worth the effort if you enjoy gardening and having fresh produce.
Do you have areas you don’t really want to care for or mow? Then a ground cover that needs no maintenance and helps prevent erosion. Maybe you would like a wildflower garden that needs no maintenance.
Is watering an issue? Will your irrigation cover your landscaping plants or will you have to water them. There are plants that are very drought tolerance and need little water.
Maybe you have a wet area. If you have an area that is wet all or part of the time, think about putting in a rain garden with plants that will thrive in the wet spot. Alternatively, maybe you need to add drainage to take the water away.
These are a few of the things you may want to think about when planning-plants. The next step is developing a formal planting plan. I will take you through the process of developing a typical softscape for landscape project.
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