Thursday, August 13, 2009


I had a client tell me that she really wanted to use this one plant. Did not know the name but saw it as she was driving by. She took me to see the plant and the second I saw it I said to her... This plant requires a lot of water and won't work for your low water themed concept. This got me to thinking about picking the right plant. Below are some steps to follow...
  1. Determine what climate zone you live in. Some plants will only grow in certain zones. Understanding this will help in your plant selection.
  2. Is your space getting full sun, partial shade or full shade? Some plants needs lots of sun, while some can do without. Generally plants are grouped by their needs. For example full sun plants are grouped with full sun plants or plants that need little to no watering are group with such other plants etc. A good book to get is the sunset western garden book. This book will give you all the info you need on plants. From sun/shade to height and spread this book is your one go to place for plant information. If you life in California then you should also try landscaping with native plants of southern California. This is a great listing of California native plants to use in your garden along with pictures and info on each plant.
  3. Consider scale. How big is the area that you are looking to plant? The smaller the width of planting space you have the less choices in plant material you have. If a plant gets to about 5' wide then that plant will never survive in a 2' wide planter. Not enough room to grow and thus you will stunt the plants growth. Restricting it's full potential. You should read the info on plants very carefully. DO YOUR HOMEWORK! You should pick plants for the background, foreground and accents. Picking plants of varying heights will give interest.
  4. A pretty picture is not always pretty. So once you have found the plants you want, then it is time for the important nursery visit. This means that you go to at least 2-3 nurseries and look at the plants you have chosen in real life. Is it even available? As you walk around the nursery, you may even see other plants that catches your eye. You may even drive by your neighborhood and look at what others have done.
  5. Consult with a designer. Ok so you are telling me that you do not have enough budget to hire a landscape designer to do a set of construction documents for your yard. Well! why not just consult with one? Some designers would be more than happy to meet with you at a nursery and give you some ideas and a mini education on plants. You will still have to pay the designer for his/her time but a lot less than a full set of drawings.
If you do your homework properly then you will have much less issues in installation and eventual growth and survival of your garden.

No comments: