Choosing plants can become the most overwhelming part of landscaping your home or business. You must pick whether you want flowering or nonflowering, evergreen or deciduous, annual or perennial; determine if it will grow in your yard, and how it will look with your other plants to make the landscaping flow. Group suggested plants by theme to help you grind your way through the maze of possibilities and find the perfect plant choices for your landscape.
If color is your thing, this is your plant list. You want plants that won't poop out after a wimpy little two-week blooming period. You want plants that are in it for the long haul, that will keep on giving from spring well into summer. Tickseed, fernleaf bleeding-heart, blanketflower, coral bells, torch lily, horned violet and Carpathian bellflower all make good choices.
A Rose Show
You can't go wrong with roses. Don't settle for a little pink one, stuck by the door as an afterthought. Highlight the rose by planting a variety of these beauties: climbers, miniatures, shrubs and hybrids. Beware, though, the deeper you delve into the world of roses, the more you'll get hooked. Your whole yard may end up as a rose garden, but that's not really a bad thing. Try these to get started: "First Prize" and "Color Magic" (hybrid tea); "Prima Donna" (grandiflora); "Lavender Jewel" and "Minnie Pearl" (miniatures); "Royal Sunset" and "Don Juan" (climbers); "Will Scarlet" and "Golden Wings" (shrubs).
HGTV's "Curb Appeal" book suggests that the foundation plantings of a landscape should create a four-tier effect: ground cover (ground), low-level border and filler flowers (knee to waist), shrubs (eye level) and a tree or two (above the eye). Tried-and-true ground covers include vinca, bugleweed and candytuft. A low-level border planting could include hosta for shady areas or coleus for sun or shade. Filler flowers that provide great color include daylily, peony, iris and sunflower. Ideal shrubs include barberry for evergreen color, dwarf Korean lilac for fragrant flowers or boxwood for compact shape. Choose an ornamental tree for impact, such as Japanese maple, dogwood, golden thread cypress or saucer magnolia.
Something Besides Flowers
If you're a little tired of blossoms and blooms, why not create a garden full of interesting shapes and foliage but without the emphasis on fading petals? Plant ferns, hostas and coleus in your shady areas; in both shape and color, their leaves provide lush interest. Zebra grass, aptly named, has blades that are white striped. Plant clumps as borders. Ideal shrubs include euonymus for leathery, glossy foliage, broom for its pliable stems, and viburnum for its winter berries.