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How to Select Deck Garden Plants

Oct 10, 2007
Making the decsion as to which deck garden plants to grow can be a real challenge especially if a great many different kinds of plants are desired in the choices made. Basically, it is wise to stick to plants that have the same requirements so that they will not only look good but grow well together with a mimimum of maintenance effort required. It is also essential to avoid pairing really vigorous plants with other types that will be overwhelmed by them in the process.

Since these plants will be growing closeup and seen often it is very important to consider a number of criteria. Select plants that offer a long season of interest. Annuals and any perennials should bloom for long periods of time and have foliage that will remain attractive throughout the season. Trees or shrubs should offer a minimum of at least 2 seasons of interest such as colorful and plentiful spring flowers follwed later in the year by colorful foliage in the fall.

Carefully select plants that require a minimum of attention for pinching, staking or other maintenance chores. Low maintenance translates into more time for the homeowner to enjoy additional periods of relaxation and activity time on and around the deck.

It is a good idea to stick to small trees and shrubs that will not grow too large for the site and thus eventually require regular sessions of pruning. Choose plants with appealing fragrances that emanate from flowers or from the foliage. Low maintenance lavender can be used to soften the edges of the steps leading down from a deck into the yard and at the same time provide a relaxing measure of a wonderful aroma to the backyard environment.

Select plants that will attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other wildlife to the deck and garden. There is nothing more special than quiet moments when a creature of some sort visits the deck or its surrounding garden. Study closely the deck setting for inspiration and select plants that will echo the colors and textures of the landscape. Another possible option is to repeat plants that are attractive from other parts of the garden.

As plants are evaluated in the selection process consider the growing conditions required by them. If the deck is located in a shady area, eliminate from the list any shrubs and perennials that require full sun. This not only identifies the plants that can be grown successfully but also removes any frustration associated with trying to grow plants that will not ever do well in that particular site.

Choose plants that will be at their best during the seasons when the deck is used most often. In special cases it might be wise to concentrate on plant types that provide a progression of color from early summer right on through to early fall. Homeowners in warmer regions may want to put most of their time and effort into spring and fall blooms since summers are often too warm to enjoy spending time outdoors.

A second option for warm climate homeowners is to choose some plants for spring and fall bloom and then concentrate on plants that bloom at night during the summer months. This will work because the deck will be comfortable to use after the heat of the day has declined in temperature. The addition of shrubs and perennials that feature evergreen foliage or small trees that have ornamental bark is generally a good idea since it ensures that the planting bed is not barren and empty over the course of the winter.

Choose plants that feature favorite colors, especially ones that appear in the house. Another wonderful way to develop a color scheme is to look for a pattern that is appealing in a rug, quilt or a piece of fabric. Then it is simply a matter of picking colors thar echo it on the deck surface and in the deck garden.

Foliage is the backbone of any garden area and an essential ingredient for keeping it attractive all season long. Getting caught up in a flower color is an easy trap to fall into because blossoms usually last only a short time. Make a point to include plants with a mix of leaf sizes, shapes and colors. Contrast dark green with burgundy, mix in plants with patterns of variegated leaves and combine a range of textures and shapes.

Select 2 or 3 plants that create excitement in the deck garden and use them as the basis to create the rest of the planting. Allow the colors, textures and habits of these plants to act as the inspirational basis to select other plants that will complement their characteristics. It's possible also to use a good combination as the basis of a planting that features a few carefullu chosen plants planted in large free form groupings.

The final step in the deck garden design process is to make a planting plan. Start with the plants located along the deck foundation at the back of the bed. Remember the vines against the deck also, especially if they are to climb a pergola, arbor or trellis. Place the best shrubs first and then gradually add other plants around them.

Carefully thought out decisions as to plant choices and their placement in relation to the deck can easily result in a variety of deck garden plants that enhance the look of this outdoor living space and the overall landscape design.
About the Author
Richard Vande Sompel is a professional deck builder of 35 years and over 850
decks built and is the author of "How to Plan, Design and Build a Deck from
Start to Finish". To Discover More About
Decks and Plants and Claim your 2
FREE Deck Plans, Insider Report, MP3 Audio and discover everything to know about
building a deck visit:
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