Landscaping Ideas – Selecting Plants

Choose plants appropriate for your area. Check the hardiness zone for cold tolerance, select long-lived plants that thrive in your soil conditions, note insect problems and susceptibility to disease, and consider sturdiness and wind resistance. Pay attention to plants that work well and repeat them in areas with similar conditions.

Base plant choices more on interesting foliage than flowers. Flowers often require time for deadheading, regular maintenance, and replacement. Look for large foliage with color and interesting shapes and textures.

Use large plants with a wide spread, such as arching, cascading, or vase shapes and low-growing plants with mounding or irregular shapes to cover large plant beds. Large plants allow for the use of fewer plants, and fewer plants require less maintenance. Substitute small shrubs for perennials; once they grow to their mature height and width, they need little maintenance other than an annual pruning. Low-growing, sprawling groundcovers cover larger areas and reduce the need for many small bedding plants.

Choose evergreen plants to provide color and foliage all year. Many evergreens, including junipers and small shrubs, have a neat growth habit that requires little trimming. The needlelike foliage of some evergreens typically sheds very little, and the small needle litter can be left for mulch.

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