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Plants For Landscaping - Three Important Considerations For A Great Design

May 26, 2008
Where does one begin when selecting plants for landscaping? There are a few main factors that should be considered to not only attain a beautiful planting design, but also one that has plant material that will flourish over time.

Here are some important things to consider:

Sun and Shade Conditions

I list this first, because a plant must be located in an area where it receives the required amount of sun or shade. If not, at the least it won't perform well and at the worst, it won't survive at all. We have all seen plants that look dried out and even burnt as well as those that are spindly looking and weak.

When a plant's requirement states that it needs sun, typically that means four hours or more. If a plant is a shade lover, then it should get no more than four hours of shade. The amount of hours of sun or shade does not have to be continuous; it can be filtered throughout the day.

Plant Sizes

Understand and know how tall and wide a landscape plant will get. That lovely plant that you are considering as a purchase will most likely not be its mature size.

Take this seriously. Whether you want it to or not, the plant will grow! If you are selecting shrubs for along the front foundation of your home, note your window heights. How many times have you seen overgrown landscapes, particularly comprised of huge plants in front of windows? This can be avoided. In addition, by choosing a plant that will be the correct mature size, you will be attaining a more maintenance free landscape. Maintenance free....those magic words!

Trees planted near the house are fine. In fact, they give a sense of scale and can frame the house. Once again, choose carefully. If you want to plant an ornamental tree near a house corner, plant it one half the mature width from the house. For example, a tree that will get twenty feet wide should be located ten feet (at least) away from the house or building.

Plant Features

Think about what the landscape will look like in the winter and if evergreen shrubs would be desirable. Often they are, particularly at the front of the house. Greenery in the bleak days of winter is welcoming.

At the same time, it's exciting to have flowers in the spring and summer, along with berries and foliage color in the fall and winter. An attractive planting design normally has a mix of both deciduous and evergreen plants.

Speaking of color, a landscape designed for all season color will provide color and interest throughout the entire year. This requires you to know when shrubs, perennials and trees bloom. If there are some blooming at the same time, make sure the colors complement each other and that there is a variety, even if it is shades of one color.

There is more that goes into planting design, but those discussed above are some of the first steps and most simple. By thinking about these concepts, it will put you way ahead of the game and enable you to have a nice design.

One more thing...don't forget to plant in groups so that the design flows and plant features stand out.
About the Author
Susan Schlenger is a Landscape Designer with a degree in Landscape Architecture. You can read more about Evergreen Shrubs and Plants For Landscaping at her website.
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