Designing and planning a home landscape can be a daunting task for many new homeowners. What to do with all of that bare ground? If you want a natural-looking yard that contains many low-maintenance trees, shrubs and annual and perennial flowers, consider using plants that are native to your part of the country. Not only will these plants succeed because they are adapted to your soil and climate, but you will be helping to promote biological diversity by spreading nature's wealth in the form of carefree native plants. If you begin by visiting your local garden center and talking to the experts there, you'll learn which plants are native to your area and also learn which of them you like.
Measure the dimensions of your property with your measuring tape and then plot them on paper. You might need to create more than one page---perhaps different pages for your front yard and back yard.
Visit a good local nursery or garden center that carries a fairly large selection of plants that are native to your area. Talk to employees or consultants to learn about the plants they carry and ask which of them might work well for your property, because different areas of the same community can have differing soil types and conditions.
Create a pencil and paper plan for your property. Keep in mind aesthetics: larger plants should go toward the back of your property to provide privacy and shade, while smaller plants, such as annual flowers, will look best toward the front of your property, where they will be visible and will give your property "curb appeal." Don't forget about paths and other areas that will give you access to your garden. Include items such as benches, birdbaths and perhaps a potting shed or work area where you can keep your garden tools. Maybe you would like to have a gazebo or other structure where you can relax and entertain friends.
Choose a few plants to begin your project. You don't have to build your whole project all at once; sometimes it's wise it start small and become acquainted with considerations such as where the sun casts the most light and where trees cast shadows.
Dig planting holes for each of the plants you purchased. The general rule is to dig a hole slightly larger than the root system of your plant and then mix in compost before you set your plant in the hole and then cover it with the soil you dug out. Always water plants thoroughly after you plant them---even native plants need sufficient water until they become established.