Although gardening can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience, sometimes it can be difficult figuring out how you would like your final garden to look.
It’s not as simple as picking your favourite plants and putting them in haphazardly; a garden with carefully planned design and location for each plant will most often yield the best results.
Gardeners like to call this design philosophy the “right plant, right place” mentality.
Here are a few things you can do to find the perfect plants for your landscaping needs.
Usually, when you’re looking for flowers, you would first want to determine what colour of flowers will work the best in your garden.
We generally recommend gardens with no more than three colours in a single bed or area.
More colours tend to look wilder and haphazard, but that can be positive in the right circumstances if that is the style you are looking for. A monochromatic look can feel dull, but it also has a more serene feel in smaller plots.
Consider mixing your chosen colour with white to add a little more variety for medium-sized gardens.
Size, Shape and Texture
Colour is one thing, but a garden with a good balance of colour will feel dull and shapeless if all the plants look similar to each other.
Remember that in nature, it is very rare for plants to propagate in a way that only features one type of plant. You have the opportunity to plant your gardens in a more organized way than Mother Nature, with a blank canvas at your disposal.
Tall and thin plants like evergreens are a good way to add an interesting feature in between some of your shorter and rounder plants, and thinner leaves on a plant will help to add interest to your broader plants.
This variety can help to fill out your garden and make it feel cohesive.
It is additionally important to consider that plants may not be mature when you initially purchase or plant them.
Indeed, this is usually the case for most plants! Before purchasing, it is always important to know the mature size of everything you are putting in your garden, as you will want to ensure that they have enough space to flourish without feeling overcrowded.
Consider the size of your garden plot as a whole, and determine if your chosen plant is better suited for another area, or if you need a new selection altogether.
Gardens are not just a summer thing! If you want your garden to look great all year round, you have to consider various types of plants that will remain even in the winter.
Evergreens are a staple for winter gardens, as their beautiful needles will remain no matter the season and come in a variety of shapes and sizes like round bushes or tall trees.
Some flowers like hydrangeas can leave interesting dried flower heads or seed heads in the winter that some find appealing.
Heather is another great winter option, as it tends to be a plant that blooms largely in the wintertime, while still having green, evergreen-like needles during the summer months.
Sun vs Shade
Different plants grow naturally in different places, depending on the amount of sun they prefer.
If your garden is mostly covered by shade, plants like hostas, forget-me-nots, or bleeding hearts are excellent choices for those that will tend to flourish in the low light levels.
Alternatively, full sun plants include dahlias, geraniums, peonies, chrysanthemums, and many more.
Partial shade areas where you either get sun at different times of day or spotty shade accommodate plants like rhododendrons, bluebells, western wood lilies, or golden columbine.
Ensuring you have the right type of plant in the area with the right amount of shade cover can let your gardens look great no matter where they are.
Although some plants prefer the sun and need a certain amount of space, some plants simply cannot grow in certain climate zones.
Understanding your zone and what grows well in it can make the difference when you’re trying to build a healthy and prosperous garden.
If you’re not sure as to what zone you might fall into, consult a zone map for your area. If you want your plants to survive over the winter, they should fall into your zone or lower.
For some plants, the pH level of your soil can be an important consideration if you want them to flourish.
For the most part, neutral soil is your best bet, as the majority of plants will grow best under these conditions.
There are a few exceptions, as rhododendrons or azaleas will prefer acidic soil, and clematis will do well in soil that is more alkaline.
The occasional variety like hydrangeas can grow in a range of soil acidity, but will change colour according to the pH value.
Knowing which plants could be fussy about their soil conditions can help you to either choose the right plants or find out which ones to avoid mixing with others.
Soil moisture is also essential, as some plants require lots of water to prevent them from drying out, while others will require very little in comparison, usually content to be watered by the rains.
Too much water can drown some plants, so be sure to understand the needs of what you have in your garden.
Some plants are perfectly content to do their own thing and require little to no help from you to grow strong and beautiful.
Others, like rose bushes, require regular pruning, and others still like echinacea, will spread around and may need you to remove plants growing in places where you don’t want them.
Perennials, shrubs and trees are great options for those who want lower maintenance gardens, as they will return year after year, saving you time and money in the long run.
While it might feel like a lot, careful planning and knowing how to maintain your garden can mean you have a happy and healthy garden that suits your lifestyle and aesthetic.
If you still feel overwhelmed, contact your local professionals for expert advice on landscaping and choosing the right plants for your garden.