How to Select Landscape Plants


When creating a landscape at home, choosing the correct plants is essential. Proper planning makes the yard colorful, and decorative, but also prevents erosion, breaks wind that may reach the house, and reduces water usage when irrigating. Some landscape plants, such as trees, are semi-permanent and require special attention during the selection process to prevent the development of disease or failure of the plant, and to prevent ruining the overall aesthetic quality of the landscape design.

Step 1

Test the pH of the soil throughout the landscape to determine what the acidity of the soil is before choosing plants. Send soil samples from the lawn and send it to your local university extension to determine the soil quality, as certain plants will not grow in some soil types.

Step 2

Choose trees that are resistant to storm damage, choosing a high quality plant that is free from disease and is between 8 to 10 feet tall, says the University of Missouri Extension. Determine the full grown root size to prevent planting the tree in an area where it may affect the roots of other plants.

Step 3

Plant ground cover plant varieties in areas that have steep banks or slopes to prevent erosion, shady areas under trees for maximum coverage and water retention, where grass refuses to grow due to tree roots, and in very wet or dry locations, recommends the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Choose varieties according to where they will be grown.

Step 4

Select flowers for the landscape that require less water to add color and highlight areas of the gardens. Low water varieties include Moonshine, Coronation Gold Yarrow, Red Beauty Yarrow, Anise hyssop and Hollyhock.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic container
  • Shovel


  • University of Missouri Extension: Selecting Landcape Plants: Shade Plants
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Selecting Plants: Ground Cover
  • University of Missouri Extension: Selecting Landscape Plants: Flowering Trees
Keywords: landscape plants, landscape design, landscape planting

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.