Landscape plant guide. What shrub to plant where. The best perennial shade flowers and ground covers. Types of perennials to plant in full sun. Flowering bushes and trees.
'Burr Sensation' lilacs planted in box parterres.
There are two ways to use shrubs in the landscape. When planted in rows as hedges, they form living walls which allow you to create outdoor rooms. When installed singly, a large conifer or flowering shrub establishes a focal point.
In the garden above, dwarf boxwood has been used to create patterned parterres into which purple lilacs have been massed. Boxwood cones mark the corners of each section.
Because of its structure, this garden is beautiful even when the lilacs are not in bloom. Especially when viewed from the upper floors of the house.
The first and most important plants to install in any landscape are its trees. As your garden's largest and most permanent residents, their placement and growth habits will have an enormous impact on its design.
Trees establish the scale of a landscape. Evergreen varieties can be used to enhance your home's privacy or to block an unwanted view. Properly placed deciduous trees can shade you from the hottest rays of the summer sun, making your home more comfortable and reducing your energy bills.
Perennials are what make a landscape beautiful, colorful, and fun to stroll through or live in. They require a bit more maintenance than trees and shrubs but the effects they enable you to create more than make up for this extra care.
To keep their maintenance simple, concentrate on plants like daylilies and coneflowers which don't need pampering. And don't forget to use foliage plants; they are usually much less needy than their flowering counterparts.
Finally, remember that form is actually more important to landscape design than bloom. It is hard to imagine a woodland garden without graceful, arching ferns, and spiky yucca is unsurpassed in designs where bold, architectural plants are called for.
Roses can be used extensively in any landscape as long as you choose types and varieties which suit both the location and the gardener's temperament.
For easiest maintenance, stick with the landscape shrub roses like 'Knock Out' or 'Oso Easy'. Plants from these series can be managed like any other flowering shrub.
If you are willing to provide just a bit of special treatment, your rose choices will expand exponentially.
Floribunda roses bloom repeatedly in large clusters and are notorious for their ability to mix an mingle happily with other garden plants. English roses are also often grown among sun worshiping perennials.
Hybrid Teas, on the other hand, perform best when segregated into beds of their own.
While there is hardly a more romantic sight than that of a repeat blooming climbing rose scrambling over an arbor, you should know that climbers require careful, annual pruning to keep them looking their best.
If you want the romance without the headaches, plant one of the old garden ramblers instead. These have been all but pushed out of contemporary landscapes by the modern climbers due to their size and single season of bloom.
If you have the space and a structure sturdy enough to support them, they are unrivaled for beauty during their spring flush and for relaxed care year round.
The often overlooked garden vine is a real workhorse. Trained over a pergola, it provides cooling shade. Flowering vines contribute overhead color to the landscape while fragrant vines draw you outdoors with enticing scents during their season of bloom.
A single flowering vine growing over the door or walkway can set even the most cookie cutter tract house apart from its neighbors making it easy for guests to find.
In my own backyard, confederate jasmine drips from the oaks. Each spring its starry, white blooms draw me onto the back porch to enjoy their sweet perfume.