How To Choose Plants For Landscaping Your Garden

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Learn how to make plant selections for your yard that will look beautiful and be easy to maintain with these tips to choose plants for landscaping your garden.

How to choose plants for landscaping your garden

Last week, I talked about the things I do to make sure that my garden design is a success. And I promised that I would go into more details on how to choose plants for landscaping your garden. For me, choosing the right plants means selecting ones that look beautiful and don’t take too much work to maintain.

The trick to doing this is partly a design challenge (deciding on the right colors, shapes and sizes) and partly a location challenge (making sure the plants you select match the requirements of your yard).  In other words, what garden designers call “Right Plant, Right Place”.

If you pick your plants following these principles, it will make looking after your garden SOOO much easier. And who doesn’t want to spend more time enjoying their yard and less time maintaining it?

Keep reading to find out how to choose plants for landscaping your garden.

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  • What plants would you recommend for the front of walls? I have retaining walls one each side of my house in the front yard separated by the front stairs and another set that runs parallel with my driveway which is located on the side of my house which would be North. The first set brings you from the street to the grass of the front yard then there is grass until you get to the front Left (North side) corner of the house which there is another set that brings you to the back yard with a pathway to the back porch stairs. The front yard on both sides is small and I’m considering getting rid of the grass and places plants, mulch along with adding pavers, or stepping stones to lead to the second set and to the landing of front steps before you continue to the wooden porch stairs. A picture would be much easier to describe. The South side gets a lot of sun and the North gets morning sun and some areas afternoon shade due to the house shadow. I live in zone 6, Boston MA. I have two large rhododendrons in the middle of the porch on each side and hydrangeas but I need to add something taller nearer to the porch due to the height of the porch. It’s about 6.5 ft to the from the ground to the floor of the porch with lattice. The porch goes almost the entire length of the house on each side, about 1-2 feet on each side from the house corners. I would like something that is low at the walls and would trail over the front walls and mix it up with other Perennials. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have a lot of rock walls and am looking for the right plants to place in the front yard.

    • Hi Michelle…I think replacing the grass with plants, mulch & stepping stones is a great idea (I did that when I lived in the city with a small front yard and loved it). For the front of the porch, I would try some of the cold hardy Camellias. They like the same growing conditions as Rhododendrons and are also evergreen, but get a little taller. You can also limb them up if you want something smaller like hydrangeas to grow under them. Mountain Laurel would be another similar option. I would also mix in some standard evergreens (like Junipers or miniature blue spruce) to give a different texture. For growing over walls, I love creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata). It looks so pretty in the spring and is easy to care for. I like to grow Iris reticulata with it for an extra punch of color. Creeping sedums and creeping thyme are other good stone wall plants. For the rest of the garden, you have a lot of choices. I would pick the colors you want and then find plants you like that go with your color scheme. Buying at least 3 plants of each type will help the garden to look cohesive, and including a few small shrubs will give it some structure even in the winter. Hope that helps!

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