Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to Plan Your Garden Landscape Design - Plant Selection

Hello!  I'm so happy to share our updates on our big landscaping project.  We've selected our plantings for the front of the retaining wall and have laid everything out in the space.  I'm also providing some "How-to" information on selecting plants and laying out your garden landscape.

Determine your style

You'll need to take the style of your home and type of garden into consideration when choosing plants.   Formal and traditional gardens have very different plantings than country or cottage gardens.  Do some research  and look through gardening magazines and Pinterest for inspiration photos.  You will probably find a common theme in the photos you like.

If you like traditional gardens, I have a post on how to create one that you may find helpful:  How to Design a Traditional Garden Landscape on a Small Budget

How to decide what to plant in your landscape

Once you've determined your style, you then have to consider the following factors.  A good local nursery can help you answer the questions on soil type and planting zone.

  • Amount of sunlight.  If you have heavy shade this will limit your choices greatly.
  • Space for planting
  • Soil Type - what nutrients may be required
  • Budget
  • Maintenance Comfort Level
  • Your Planting Zone - see image below


I had to take all these factors under consideration when planning my landscaping project.  We have an antique Victorian home so our garden style is traditional.  The area we are planting is partly shady.  It gets some morning and afternoon sun.  We are in Zone 5 so we need plants that can tolerate a long and cold winter.  My largest planting area is in front of a retaining wall which is under a large Oak tree.  It's a big area to fill with a limited budget.  My goal is to soften this area so you see less of the wall.  We've added some good topsoil to amend the sandy and rocky area around the wall.

The plants we've selected can handle our partly shady area and work well in a traditional style garden.  I also want a low maintenance landscape with some blooms that stays within my budget.

4 medium sized Dwarf Alberta Spruce
3 "Blushing Bride" Hydrangea bushes
1 White Hydrangea Tree (for the area that gets the most sun)
5 medium sized Hosta

Choosing the layout - basic layout

You'll save a lot of money planning the layout and planting everything yourself. 

Basic layout of my plants and shrubs:  tallest in the back - so my Spruces are against the wall.  The Hydrangea bushes are in the center front of the spruces and the Hosta are spaced evening along the front.   My white hydrangea tree (not seen in these photos) is in front of the hard edge of the wall to soften that area and make it less noticeable.

Don't forget to mulch and water, water, water until your plants get established.

Please stop back next week for more updates on this project.

Have a wonderful day!


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