Want to learn how to choose plants for your landscaping? If so, landscape designer Doug Scott’s here to help! He’ll show you how to select plant materials that not only beautify your outdoor living area, but also reflect who you are and how you’d like to live outside.
How to Choose Plants
- Choose plants that are best suited for the specific growing conditions where you’ll be landscaping. Be mindful that these conditions change as you move around your yard—particularly, the sun exposure.
- Be sure and choose the right size plants for the space you’re working with. This can be tricky, since those you’re planting today are much smaller than they’ll be once they’ve matured.
- Know your growing zone. Always read your plants’ care labels to better understand their optimal growing conditions and size at maturity. This information plays a critical role in ensuring you’re choosing the right plant for the right space.
- From a design perspective, think in terms of texture, layers and drifts.
- When addressing the overall texture of your planting beds, try to choose plants that vary in form, size, color and leaf structure. This will create greater interest, and a space that’s more visually appealing and enjoyable to hang out in.
- Much like painting, incorporate background, middle ground, and foreground ‘layers’ into your landscape plantings. Your background layer should consist of taller evergreen shrubs to provide something alive and green to look at, no matter what’s in front of them. Your middle ground layer—a contrasting evergreen shrub or colorful perennial plant—should be lower than the background layer to create greater interest. Finally, your foreground layer should help transition the planting beds to your lawn space. You can accomplish this with smaller perennials, evergreens, annuals or creeping ground covers.
- When addressing drifts, be sure to place and space your plants to grow together—not simply grow in as individual plants—as they mature.
Plant Installation Steps
- Dig a hole that’s about two times the diameter, and depth, of the pot your plant’s being transplanted from.
- Mend in either compost or soil conditioner to give your plant the organic material it needs to thrive.
- Add slow-release fertilizer, and mix well.
- Place your plant in the hole, making sure that it sits at, or just above, the level it did in the pot.
- Backfill with soil, stopping to add water when the hole is about halfway full.
- Fill the rest of the hole with soil, then firmly press it all down.
- Soak your plant with more water.
- Finish by adding mulch, making sure it’s pulled away from the base of your plant.