10 Tips for Landscaping with Plants

Muscari
Transform the swath of soil around your home into a lush landscape with our top 10 tips for landscaping with plants.

Plant rooms

Trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals are chief building materials in every yard. Add a border of colorful shrubs, such as hydrangeas or rhododendrons, to on side of your patio to enclose the space a bit and make it more intimate. You’ll be amazed at the sense of enclosure a simple shrub border will provide.

Ornamental trees have the same rich effect. Crabapples, crape myrtle, serviceberry, and pistachio have a bold presence in every season and create ever-changing living walls. Under plant trees with shade-loving shrubs, perennials, and annuals for a greater sense of privacy. 

Craft large planting beds

When landscaping with plants aim to create large, sweeping plantings. Plants dotted here and there across a front yard do little to unite the space and create a cohesive look. Instead bring plants together in large planting beds. For example, call on three wildlife-friendly shrubs to anchor a space along your property line. Add ornamental grasses and a host of perennials among the shrubs. Enclose the planting with a simple cut sod border and spread a 3-inch-thick layer of mulch over the entire space. Maintenance is simplified thanks to the mulch and consistent border and you've create an oasis for wildlife while defining your property line.

Know your Zone.

Unlike bricks, patio pavers, and garden art, plants are sensitive to location. Know your planting zone to ensure the plants you invest in have a long, healthy life in your landscape. 

Plant from the ground up

A lush landscape begins at soil level. Plant easy-care perennials and small shrubs at the feet of large shrubs and trees to create multiple layers of interest. By interplanting like this you are also cutting down on maintenance chores as the understory plants will shade soil and prevent weed seeds from sprouting. Further minimize maintenance by blanketing the soil with a 3-inch-thick layer of shredded bark or another organic mulch material.

Add edibles

A feast for the eyes as well as the table, edible plants are at home in landscape beds and containers. Add tomatoes to your mixed shrub border and plant a border of sweet lettuces. 

Search out fragrance

One of the greatest benefits of landscaping with plants is the diverse ways they engage the senses. Subtle and bold variations in color intrigue the eye. Differences in texture engage the sense of touch as well as the sense of hearing when wind move through the landscape. A garden filled with fragrance creates lasting memories. A host of trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals perfume the garden during the growing season. 

Don't overlook winter

It is easy to focus on the floral show of spring and summer and disregard the quite months of winter when designing a landscape. But taking this approach creates a lackluster landscape for 4 to 6 months a year. Instead landscape for the entire year by including a host of evergreen plants, which add valuable color and texture year-round. Look for hardy shrubs in your Zone that provide winter fruit for wildlife or have unique winter color or texture. 

Frame views

Employ landscape plants to direct your eye. Framing a view from inside of the house to the landscape are just as important as the view from the landscape to the house or adjoining landscapes. 

Consider size

Mature size is critical when selecting trees and shrubs for your landscape. These long-lived plants are often a respectable investment and thoughtful care should be taken to ensure that they will not quickly outgrow a space. Plant breeders are developing small cultivars of lofty trees and introducing them to the market every year. The same is true for shrubs. Visit with the staff at your local garden center to learn about great small varieties of woody plants for your landscape.

Maintenance is critical

The best landscape is virtually worthless if it regular maintenance is overwhelming. Check out our garden plans to find an easy-care garden that is right for you. 

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