When planning a garden or landscape, there are many elements to keep in mind. It is important to select plants you like, of course, but it is perhaps equally important to make landscape design choices based on where you live. Plants that are not designed for your climate will require significant attention and maintenance, while those that are native to your part of the country will be more likely to thrive with less work on your part.

Making Plans

Garden Landscaping Design. Flower Bed, Green Trees And BushesDo as much research as possible before heading to the nursery or garden store. The USDA publishes a color-coded map showing the plant hardiness zone for each area of the country, so consult that as you map out your landscape. It’s easy to be swayed by all the pretty plants at the store, but try to stick to your original plan. Tropical plants, for example, are stunning and dramatic, but they may not fare especially well in parts of the country that experience four distinct seasons. Many of the plants you purchase will still be quite young, so remember that they will grow—sometimes significantly—over the years. Research the plants you choose to ensure that you’ll enjoy the adult version of the plant as much as the young, seedling version. Read the information that comes with each selection to learn how to plant and care for it.

Benefits of Native Plants

live and dead treeFilling your landscape with plants that have adapted to your area or those that have grown on their own there for hundreds of years is an excellent way to cultivate a low-maintenance outdoor space. Native plants are tolerant of the weather your area experiences, and they don’t require specialized soils or fertilization. With growing concerns about water shortages and threats to bee colonies, butterflies, and birds, native plants are increasing in popularity. On top of being easy to care for, native plants help ensure that birds and other critters in the area have places to live and enough food to eat. An additional bonus of a native landscape is that it will likely cost less to install and maintain than a nonnative version. Since native plants are accustomed to the soil and weather conditions of your area, they will be less likely to die and require replacement.

Landscaping your property may seem overwhelming at first, but there are many resources available to help you select the right plants for your climate and give you landscaping tips specific to your part of the country. Choosing native plants will make the process a little easier and less expensive, and you’ll be positively contributing to your area’s ecosystem.

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