How to Choose Outdoor Plants


Choosing outdoor plants for your garden is a simple and fun task. The plants in your garden can reflect your personality to everyone who sees them. Do you want a yard full of roses? Or maybe you want a very simple Asian design, complete with bamboo and a pond? As long as you keep some simple things in mind, you should be able to choose outdoor plants with ease, be they annuals, perennials or evergreens.

Step 1

Consider your budget. If you don't have a lot of money, choose plants that are inexpensive or grow them from seeds.

Step 2

Find out what USDA Plant Hardiness Zone you live in and choose outdoor plants accordingly. Some plants do better in desert climates while some only grow well in cool climates. Choosing outdoor plants that can handle your climate will make it easier for you in the long run.

Step 3

Consider your garden year-round. Choose a variety of annuals, perennials and evergreens that will be interesting even in the dead of winter.

Step 4

Discover your soil type and test your soil's pH. No matter whether you have loamy, sandy or clay soil, you can improve it or choose plants that grow well in it as is. The same goes for acidic to alkaline soil.

Step 5

Consider the outdoor plant's water and fertilizer needs and choose plants that can be planted together with similar needs. For example, all the drought tolerant plants should be placed together and all the water hogs should be placed together.

Step 6

Consider height, color and the shape of each plant. Choose plants that complement each other and will not out grow the bounds of your garden.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant invasive species because they might take over your garden.

Things You'll Need

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
  • Soil pH testing kit
  • Plant guide


  • Plant Selection Choosing the Right Plants
  • Selecting Plants for Your Garden

Who Can Help

  • 10 Tips on Choosing Plants for your Garden
Keywords: choosing outdoor plants, choose outdoor plants, outdoor plants

About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer and contributing editor for many online publications. She has been writing professionally since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.