Things to Keep in Mind While Selecting Yard Plants

With so many beautiful plants for landscaping available to choose for your yard, how do you actually decide on the right ones?

Which ones will make you smile, do what you want to them, and also…survive?

We thought it would be nice to give you a landscape plant guide to help you choose!

Factors such as height, color, texture, evergreen or deciduous all impact a landscape design. Check out some other things to consider before planting trees so that you do it best way first. 

An attractive landscape design incorporates many different kinds of plants for landscaping. It is important, however to select the right plant for the right location.

Yard Plants

Plants in your design

What are the basic plant materials you have to work with?


Trees usually have the biggest design impact, and may be in your garden for generations. Trees may need supplemental water. Group trees together to shade each other and raise humidity levels, thereby reducing water demand. Trees will also create a “microclimate” for under-story plants that prefer cooler temperatures and shade (azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons, for example).

• Evergreen trees provide strong textural statements and are often used for screens and backgrounds. Plant in northern exposures or away from structures.

• Deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter. Plant deciduous trees on east, south, and west-facing walls to provide summer shade and winter sun.

• Do not plant trees in an irrigated lawn. Lawns require more water than trees, and over-watering trees can adversely affect their health and lifespan.

Large Shrubs

Shrubs range in height from 1-foot to 15-feet or more with multiple stems. There is a wide variety of shrubs adapted to all kinds of climatic conditions (dry to moist, hot to cold) and therefore offer many choices for your garden. Shrubs are ideal for making hedges to screen views, create privacy and can be used as “living fences.” Many shrubs are fast growing and require little water once established. It is important to provide adequate space for the particular shrub variety selected so it can grow to its natural size and shape and not require excessive pruning or shearing.


Vines provide an inexpensive screen with color and interest. They are usually grown on fences, or on arbors and trellises to provide shade.

Low-Growing Shrubs, Vines, and Perennials

Arrange these plant types in groups of like species to create a mass effect. Place plants according to their mature width. If mixing varieties, they should have similar water needs.

Ground covers

Ground covers will tie the plant layout together and can often be used in place of lawn.

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Annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables

Annuals such as pansies and impatiens last only one year as their name implies and must be replanted. They are also often high water users. Annuals are usually used in smaller garden beds as a focal point of seasonal color. Perennials such as day lilies, iris and salvias come back year after year and are available in an almost infinite variety of flower colors and foliages. They can be very water efficient and are the best bet for a colorful low maintenance garden. Some herbs such as rosemary, lavender, and thyme are perennials and make excellent garden plants. If you want to grow vegetables, reserve area with full sun, rich cultivated soil and access to water.

Right plant for the right place

The key to a successful landscape project is choosing the right plant for the right place on your property. Selecting plants that are adapted to your local conditions should grow better, require less maintenance and use fewer inputs such as less water, fertilizers, and pesticides.

When selecting plants consider the following factors:

Climate – always select trees, shrubs and other plants that can withstand the temperature and other climatic extremes in your region.

• Microclimate – consider the microclimates of your yard, such as sun or wind exposure and choose the appropriate plants for the appropriate place in your plan.

• Water needs – group plants in your landscape design according to their water needs or the “hydrozones” so they can be watered efficiently. Avoid high water-using plants.

• Soil and drainage – consider the soil preference of the plants you select. Some plans thrive in well drained sandy soils, while others prefer moist clayey soils. Most prefer something in between known as loam.

• Placement in the Landscape – know the plant’s growth potential and provide enough space it to reach its ultimate width and height. This will allow the plants to achieve their natural shape (and save you years of pruning!).



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