How to Select Plants for Landscaping a Yard


Landscaping done carefully transforms a boring yard into a welcoming natural environment, which enhances the entire home. However, a well-landscaped yard doesn't happen overnight. There is much to consider when it comes to which plants are right for your yard. For the best results, you must plan ahead.

Step 1

Sketch a rough outline of how you'd like your yard to look--where you want shrubs, trees and flower beds. This will give you an idea of the kinds of plants and number of plants you will need.

Step 2

Use a measuring tape to measure areas plants will go. Write these measurements down in a notebook. When you select plants, read the tag to see how tall and wide each one will grow to allow enough space for it in your yard.

Step 3

Choose plants suitable for your U.S. Department of Agriculture growing zone. These are plants that will grow well in your climate and will not die during the winter.

Step 4

Select plants suitable for your soil type--sandy, clay or humus, acid or alkaline--unless you plan to do a lot of soil amending. Check your soil's pH with a soil testing kit or take a sample to your extension office for testing.

Step 5

Choose plants with similar watering requirements, as suggested by, so you can water all your plants simultaneously on a regular schedule instead of watering individual plants.

Step 6

Pick out the healthiest plants you can find at the nursery. Do not buy plants that have foliage with insect signs such as chew marks, webbing or sticky areas; or signs of disease--brown or yellow spots or mildew.

Tips and Warnings

  • warns you should plan placement of trees and shrubs extra carefully. Tree and shrub roots can eventually damage a home's foundation, driveways or sidewalks.

Things You'll Need

  • Notebook
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Soil testing kit


  • Lewis Gardens: Selecting Plants
  • The Landscape Design Site: Plant Selections
Keywords: selecting outdoor plants, choosing landscaping plants, select landscape plants

About this Author

Corey M. Mackenzie is a professional freelance writer with knowledge and experience in many areas. Corey received a B.A. with honors from Wichita State University and has been a writer for over two decades. Corey specializes in pets, interior decorating, health care, gardening, fashion, relationships, home improvement and forensic science. Corey's articles have appeared in Garden Guides, Travels and other websites online.