Everyone knows it is a bad idea to put water plants inside of their desert garden. That is a recipe for complete disaster. The same thing is true when it comes to many other kinds of plants – numerous rock garden plants will fall over when they are planted into loamy, rich garden beds and many prairie plants will not survive in waterlogged soil.
So how can you know whether or not a plant will not only survive in your landscape but also thrive? It all comes down to having the right plants in the right place. The following are some of the best landscaping ideas Houston has to offer.
The first thing you need to do is carefully analyze the environmental conditions of your landscape – its soil composition, shade and sun patterns, planting zone and microclimate – and then choose plants according to how they can thrive in a certain spot in your yard.
Native (indigenous) plants offer a low-maintenance, drought-resistant, hardy, and beautiful landscape. Since these plants have evolved in a specific region over the course of thousands of years, they are well-suited to the area’s climate, hydrology, and geography. Fewer pesticides and no fertilizers are required by native plants compared to non-natives and lawns. They also require less water, which helps to reduce air pollution. These plants also provide shelter and food for butterflies, birds and other forms of wildlife.
When using native plants, it is still very important that they are grouped together according to having similar needs when it comes to soil, water, and sun conditions. Master gardeners often recommend that you create microclimate zones so that your least thirsty plants are located on the edges of your garden and the ones that need the most water are closest to your house.
Using these kinds of hydro zoning techniques can save you money on water and installation costs since less irrigation will be required. You will save money on your energy bills also. When there is more water in your soil next to your house, during the summer it will result in increased evaporative cooling, which will make your patio area and house cooler. This is what is known as the oasis effect.
With this modern gardening design philosophy, plants are matched with the landscape and then placed in areas where they will thrive naturally – without the gardener having to add too much input. This results in having a landscape design that is easy to maintain.
Benefits of Having the Right Plants in the Right Places
How To Use Landscape Plants To Design A Beautiful YardWhen the right plants are put into the right places, it several things occur due to you providing the plants with practically ideal growing conditions:
- Plants are established, grow and bulk up quickly
- Plants experience steady top growth and healthy root systems are produced
- Plants are able to withstand attacks from diseases and insects. When plants are in the wrong place it results in their immune systems being compromised, and they are ripe for becoming infected whenever a bug or disease comes along.
The largest investment you make when making sure you put the right plants in the right places happens before you ever place your trowel in the soil. With this concept, the key to success is proper planning. When you invest more time into planning before planting, you won’t have to spend as much time maintaining your plants. You will be gardening green and smarter – and save money as well.
Begin With The Hardiness Zone
Check the USDA Hardiness Zone to find out if plants you are considering can survive your region’s winter weather conditions. Many gardeners try pushing the envelope when it comes to the hardiness zone and try growing plants from a warmer zone.
They try planting the questionable survivors in a backyard that is sheltered or perhaps in a bed close to a southern wall of their house, where the temperature doesn’t drop as low in the winter. However, to ensure success, your landscape design should be filled with plants that can survive in your zone.
Assess The Lighting Condition
There are some plants that need to have full sun in order to thrive, while others need shade. To get the best gardening results, make sure you are familiar with the type of light that is offered by your yard.
To determine this, watch the sun hitting your landscape areas one day. You should ideally check this every hour and take notes. Then when you run across a plant tag that states “partial shade,” you will know whether or not your yard provides those conditions.
Consider Your Soil
Plants are going to need very specific kinds of soil if they are going to grow best. One great thing about your soil is that you can often change it with the addition of amendments.
For example, you might make slow-draining clay soil more porous so it drains faster with the addition of organic matter, such as compost. Alternatively, you can even make an entirely new kind of soil across your landscape through the building and then filling raised beds, which can also bring some handy hardscaping to the area in question.
When you put the wrong plant into the wrong type of soil, your results will be mixed at best. In the very worst case, your plant will die. In the best possible case, it will survive but produces lackluster results.
Every kind of soil is able to accommodate its own group of plants. Prior to being the agent of large-scale change in your soil, look up what kinds of plants will grow in the very soil that’s already there. You can possibly create that attention-grabbing landscape using those, or you can turn to a landscape professional or business for advice and suggestions.
Size Matters Up
Plant tags are something that tells you just how big plants might grow in the most ideal of situations. You should plan like this, siting your plants in a corresponding fashion, allowing each of them sufficient room for growth both outward and upward.
When placed appropriately, taller plants might create a useful privacy screen or even become a strong backdrop against other plantings. However, when placed improperly, they can become an eyesore. On the other hand, plants that are not big at all might get dwarfed by
Embrace Both Texture And Color
When you pick plants, keep in mind both flower and leaf color, so you can figure out whether it’s going to clash or blend with your existing hardscaping or landscape. One simple path to success here in terms of color is designing using hues all in one color family. This works particularly well for a front-yard garden, where you might want to put your best foot forward to both visitors and passersby.
Scattering same-color clumps through your planting areas is another goof-proof way of going about it. This is called a color echo. Don’t neglect to look up bloom times so you can plan for constant color from the start of the gardening season to the end. Install a bit of drama into your landscape by adding contrasts among your plant and leaf textures.
Be Smarter Than Wildlife
Many gardeners eventually deal with some form of critter issue. It could be tunneling voles, strolling deer, or hopping rabbits, but whatever it is, it can wipe out your landscape design, turning your gardening work into a wasteland of stubs and stems.
You can’t likely win every battle, but you can usually be smarter than wildlife. The installation of hardscaping, such as fencing, puts a physical barrier up which limits the access of wildlife to your gardening space. However, fences aren’t always practical choices, much less affordable ones, in huge backyards or formal frontal spaces.
Picking plants that critters don’t like is another way to outwit them. Rabbits aren’t supposed to eat coralbells, but if they do, you might want to ditch them for something that your local bunnies don’t find as palatable. Landscaping businesses or professionals might know certain species of plants to use if you live in that area. In the long term, you’ll spare yourself many hours of stress and even save money that you might have otherwise spent on replacement plants.
You’ll have more breathing room in other categories of various plant selections. However, if you put a big tree in an improper place, you’re going to have problems with your hand later on. A lot of homeowners wind up paying for a tree with dangerous overhangs to be curtailed or just brought down altogether.