Tips on choosing the right landscaping plants

Tips on choosing the right landscaping plants

Landscaping as a whole, largely revolves around planning the layout for your plantings and picking the right plants for the task. Wrongly chosen plants can ruin the aesthetics of your yard, so make sure you make the right choices! That aside, remember that the best thing about landscaping is that you can experiment with different plant combinations and mix-and-match them to create different visuals.

Before you start your search for the right landscape plants, consider how the plants would fit into the overall design of the landscape itself. A good way to pre-plan your landscape gardening is to get hold of some free landscape design software, such as SmartDraw. You could also purchase 3D garden landscape software that will help in visualizing your landscaping plans before you even begin, saving you costs, time, and mistakes. These software always include the central element – the landscaping plants.

Four considerations when choosing landscaping plants are:

  1. Aesthetic purposes
  2. Privacy purposes
  3. Suitability in creating mini habitats for garden wildlife; ecological purposes
  4. Ability to grow in your climate

Landscaping plants come in a variety of species and types, you would never imagine that some of the best landscaping plants are in fact, the normal unassuming types which you would never have guessed. For aesthetic purposes, did you know the sage is good for that? The common garden sage is great for borders and herb gardens; if you don’t believe it, try planting them as a border around your herb bed. You’ll find their lavender colored flowers do well in creating a well balanced frame that is neither visually too strong, nor too weak.

For climate suitability, remember there are annuals and perennials, subtropicals, and full fledged tropicals. An annual landscaping plant will need to be bought and purchased anew each year whereas perennials grow back each year by themselves. Tulips, which are perennials, will double in number, annually, if left by themselves.

cycad with brick edging
Tropical/subtropical cycad with brick edging.

When you are looking for a landscaping plant, remember what time of the year it is. If your climate is seasonal, then you’ll need to modify your shopping according to the season. You cannot usually go into a gardening store looking for a landscaping plant in the middle of winter and find a summer bloom.

ivy-cloaking-an-arch.jpgFor privacy, consider the ivy plants; although there are a few negative opinions about ivy because of their smothering habit, they are almost synonymous with English gardens, and are splendid for cloaking gazebos, walls, fences, and arches. The ivy is hardy, and thrives in climates with milder winters, requiring only a supporting structure to climb up.

The only drawback of growing ivy, is that they grow all by themselves. Vigorously. Ivy plants can grow several inches longer overnight! So, as mentioned earlier they tend to smother an entire structure, wall, or tree, on which they are growing.

Flowers as landscaping plants

You can use flowers as landscaping plants, but the only suitable kinds for seasonal temperate climes are hardy flowering kinds like Impatiens or Chrysanthemums. Tropical flowers are beautiful no doubt, but are meant for indoors mostly. Remember that tropical flowers sold in garden stores can only be placed outdoors provided your climate is only mildly seasonal all year round.

If you’re really short of time and money, you could try searching for the right landscape plant online, although there aren’t really many databases freely available. There is a landscape plant guide at the University of Massachusetts Amherst site which provides descriptions of many kinds of landscape-suitable plants. Happy hunting!

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