How to Plant Shrubs & Outdoor Plants


Most landscape designs contain a variety of plants, including trees, shrubs and flowering plants. These outdoor plants fulfill various purposes in yards and parks. They provide protection against wind and erosion, as well as enhance the beauty of the surrounding landscape. Shrubs and other types of plants require some basic elements to survive and grow. Correctly planting outdoor plants and shrubs encourages healthy growth and resistance against adverse conditions from fluctuating climates, and diseases and pests.

Step 1

Test the soil in your landscape before planting the shrubs and other varieties of plants. Buy a basic soil test kit from your garden supplier or hardware store. Collect the soil sample from various areas of your landscape, according to the instructions included with your test. Send this to the laboratory in the provided package. Read the results to determine the existing condition of your soil. Purchase any required soil amendments, according to the results of your soil test.

Step 2

Prepare the soil in your planting areas for the new shrubs and plants. Select shrubs and perennial plants that thrive in your climate and tolerate your winter temperatures. Check the labels to determine each plant's soil and sunlight requirements. Remove all traces of previous and existing vegetation from your site. Pull out weeds and small plants, and mow down ground covers and till to break up underground roots. Rake out any exposed roots and remove from your planting site to avoid recurrent growth. Add the soil amendments recommended on your soil test results, and apply compost to hard, compacted types of soil. Work all amendments into the soil with a garden shovel to provide an even surface for your plants.

Step 3

Dig a hole for each plant's root ball. Use a sturdy garden shovel to remove enough soil to place the surface of the plant's root ball evenly with the surface of the surrounding ground. Make the hole two to three times wider than the width of the root ball to ensure adequate space for root growth. Gently remove the root balls from their containers and place in the center of your holes. Save the accompanying labels to remind you of each plant's specific requirements and care instructions.

Step 4

Backfill the planted holes with soil and tamp down lightly to create an even surface around the base of your plants. Do not allow new shrubs and plants to sit in depressions that retain water. Water your newly planted specimens. Apply enough water to create even dampness around the roots. Keep the soil slightly moist for the first few weeks, tapering off gradually to the amount specified for your individual varieties of shrubs and plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test kit
  • Soil amendments
  • Mower
  • Roto-tiller
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Water


  • West Virginia University: Planting Trees and Shrubs
  • North Carolina State University: Planting Techniques for Trees and Shrubs
  • "Botanica's Gardening Encyclopedia"; Susan Page; 2001
Keywords: plant shrubs, plant outdoor plants, growing shrubs

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.