Landscaping: Selecting Plants
In general, look for plants with healthy foliage and make sure they're rooted firmly in the soil.
Avoid plants with roots exposed on the surface or with roots growing out the bottom. They won't root as well in your yard.
With trees, a strong leader branch promotes good growth.
There are a few other things to consider when choosing your plants:
If you're going to plan your own landscape, you'll need a pretty good idea of which trees, shrubs and flowers work best in your climate.
Flowers, trees and shrubs are categorized according to suitable climate zones as shown on the Zone Map of the U.S.A.
A climate zone map divides the country into several climate zones, linking areas with similar climates. You should determine your own zone and choose only the plants suitable for your area.
Your local nurseries will stock plants that are hardy to your climate.
If they do carry any non-hardy plants, they should alert you to the special care those plants need to survive your climate.
If you plan to order plants from a catalog, remember that they sell to the entire country and not all the plants they offer will be suited to your area. Be sure to check the climate zone information before ordering.
In addition to the climate factor, there's also the sun factor for trees, shrubs and flowers.
Some plants need full sun, some need full shade, and many won't thrive in the opposite extreme.
Plant guides and catalogues will list the plants sun or shade requirements. And that's something you have to consider in your planning.
Shapes and Sizes
You want the shapes and sizes of your plants to blend with the house architecture and even disguise features you don't like.
In general, taller and darker plants work best in the back of a bed with shorter and lighter colored plants in front.
Catalogues and guides list the plant size at maturity, which is critical for proper spacing on your plan and in your yard.
You should also know the time of year when the flower or shrub is in bloom, especially if you're trying to maintain color throughout the entire growing season.
You need to decide what sizes to buy your shrubs and trees at. They're sold at several stages of growth in 1 to 7-gallon containers. But you can get larger ones balled and burlapped.
Small plants are cheaper but they take longer to reach maturity. So it's really a question of budget versus patience.