Proper Plant Selection
Plants come in a multitude of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. Some require lots of sun, while others need a bit more shade or some combination of the two. Certain plants also need more water than others. Take a moment to think about what you wish to accomplish in your yard, as well as the environment you have to work with. Walk around your landscape, visualizing your finished landscape project. Another step you can take is to look at your landscape from inside your house. Stand at the window, looking out. Try to get a feel for what it will look like during the different seasons. For example, placing evergreen trees and shrubs within view of your windows will bring some life to your landscape during the dead of winter when most plants have shed their leaves. Landscapers may use terms such as foundation plants, corner bushes, accent plants, specimen plants, and canopy trees, (Just to name a few). Foundation plants are usually planted around the exterior of your house near the walls; some common plant choices include Hollies, Yews, and Boxwoods. The types of plants you use can vary depending upon what you might want to cover and/or accent. Corner plants are set at corners or at a change in direction of the wall of your home; Dwarf Alberta Spruces, Upright Holly Trees, Arborvitaes, and Cap Yews can all work well in instances like this. Your Accent plants come in a wide variety of different shapes, sizes, and colors. They can be tall and narrow like an Irish Juniper or a Sky Pencil Holly, or lower growing plants such as the Crimson Pygmy Barberries, Goldthread Cypresses, or Dwarf Nandinas.
The plants’ colors and textures can add contrast to the foundation plantings; which can make the colors of your landscape jump out at you even more. The finishing touches to any good landscape are the Specimen plants. These plants are valued for their rich colors, unique shapes, and the beauty they can add to your landscape; this can be virtually any plant- Japanese Maples, Crape Myrtles, Contorted Filberts, Weeping Cherries and Weeping Mulberries are all popular choices. Canopy Trees offer you a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes. Large shade trees like Maples, Oaks, and Ashes will give your landscape brilliant colors in the fall and cool shade during the summer. The almost formal shapes and lush colors of Pines, Spruces, and other evergreen trees can give you that feeling of being in the mountains. If Flowering Plants are what you desire, Dogwood Trees, Forsythia Bushes, or Deciduous Magnolias will give you early spring color, while Crape Myrtles and Hydrangeas fill your summers with luxurious blossoms. Many varieties of Annual and Perennial flowers can also add wonderful amounts of color to your landscape nearly year-round.
Where to Plant Here are some basic guidelines to follow. Large canopy trees like the Maple and Oak should be planted at least 15 to 20 feet from any obstruction. Smaller growing trees such as your Dogwoods and Japanese Maples shouldn’t be planted any closer than 8 to12 feet from a wall or another tree. Most of your foundation shrubs like Hollies and Yews ought to be planted at least 3 feet from the foundation of your house. If you are not sure about the spacing of the plants, here is a simple rule. Space the plants according to the mature width of the plant. For example, you want to plant a row of Compact Holly bushes. Compact Hollies can grow 3 to 5 feet in width, which means that from the center of the plant you could have the potential growth of up to 2 1/2 feet. To keep them as individual shrubs, you should plant them at least 4 to 5 feet apart from the center of each plant. This will allow for adequate growth of all your plants. You can shorten the spacing a little to give yourself a denser look or to create a hedge by using the lowest number of the width range. In this example, you could plant a Compact Holly as close as 3 feet from the center of one plant to the next. In the end, spacing of the plant needs to meet what you envision for your landscape. The amount of sun and shade your areas receive will determine exactly what plants will easily grow in that environment. Shade loving plants such as the azalea and rhododendron don’t mind a little morning sun. Just plant them in areas where there is limited afternoon sun; the north and eastern sides of your home for example. Flowering spireas and crape myrtles like the sun, so plant them in areas of maximum sun exposure; i.e. the south and western portions of your yard. If you are not sure about which plants will be the right choice for your home, flip through our Plant Shopping Guide for our information on individual plants or just ask us when you visit the Nursery. Properly choosing your plants will ensure that they perform to your expectations.