Flowering shrubs serve a dual purpose in the landscape. These plants function as ornamental additions to the overall design as well as provide wildlife fruit, flowers and shelter. Homeowners typically choose flowering shrubs for the flowering benefits of the plant. Landscaping with shrubs also requires considerations of other factors that weigh heavily on the choice of a plant. Foliage color, shape, height, fall color and screening ability play into the final choice in creating a landscape with flowering shrubs.
Determine the USDA hardiness zone for your location. Hardiness zones allow gardeners to choose plants most likely to thrive in a particular climate. This zone number corresponds to a fixed minimum temperature that the hardiest plant can tolerate. Keep this zone number handy for your visit to the garden center when choosing shrubs.
Take a close look at your scaled drawing for spots begging for the addition of a flowering shrub. Look at corners of the house, areas requiring screening or simply blank spots that would benefit from the beauty of flowering shrub.
Watch the sunlight during the course of a day in these selected locations. Sunlight availability dictates plant choices because each shrub must be placed in the correct growing environment. Annotate your notepad with the times each site receives direct sun (6 or more hours), partial sun (4 to 6 hours), partial shade (2 to 4 hours) or full shade. Also note areas that experience dappled or filtered shade through tree canopies.
Measure the available space in each area and document this in your drawing. Shrubs generally serve as lower-maintenance additions to the landscape although these plants aren't maintenance free. Planting a flowering shrub in a confined location will either kill the plant or result in a future difficult transplant situation.
Consider flowering shrub qualities such as flower color, fruits and ability to provide shelter for wildlife. Other considerations include the messiness of a shrub dropping flowers or fruit relative to an outdoor living space or into a pool.
Visit the garden center to investigate native flowering shrubs. Choosing native plants means that acclimation occurs faster since these shrubs have adapted to soil and climate conditions in your area. Check hardiness zone, sunlight requirements, mature size and soil needs on each plant label. Select flowering shrubs that meet your site requirements specifically. Select plant for interesting foliage as well as bloom quality since blooming periods for flowering shrubs are limited.
Document the landscape drawing with your choices. Make sure you've accurately measured existing spaces to accommodate each flowering shrub. Execute your flowering shrub landscape plan with confidence.