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How to Landscape Plants & Flowers

By S.F. Heron ; Updated September 21, 2017

Landscape involves the placement of flower and plants to enhance a structure or create an outdoor living space. Aspects of landscaping include flowers, trees and shrubs as well as hardscape features such as walkways, decks and patios. Beautiful garden design creates the perfect blending of plants, flowers and hardscape to create a pleasing, usable outdoor living space. Learning how to landscape plants and flowers involves evaluating light availability, soil quality and the amount of maintenance preferred.

Observe the progress of the sun during the growing season to determine full sun areas (six or more hours) or partial sun/shade (two to four hours). Full shade receives no direct sunlight and occurs near buildings or under full-canopy trees.

Remove all weeds from the planned garden area when these nuisance plants reach 3 to 4 inches tall. Weeds compete for valuable soil nutrients with plants and flowers. Use the trowel to dig the entire weed root of the plant from the soil.

Turn over the upper 6 to 8 inches of garden soil using a shovel. Stirring the soil aerates and loosens the upper layers of dirt to allow roots to travel readily through the soil. Smooth the garden surface with a rake to level the dirt.

Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of peat onto the garden surface. Turn over the garden again to mix this organic material into the soil.

Set out your plants on top of the soil to create your landscape design. Take note of each plant's space requirements as well as light preference, moisture needs and mature height/width.

Position plants based on height, placing taller plants at the rear of long gardens or centered in round gardens. Consider different viewing angles and blend shrubbery, plants and flowers in the landscape to create a hardy garden that will exhibit colors through most of the year.

Dig planting holes to a depth similar to the size of the temporary-planting container. Squeeze the plastic plant pots to work the plant loose and tip the pot upside down to unload the plant into your hand. Loosen the dirt around the plant's root ball by gently working your fingers into the soil.

Place the plant or flower into the planting hole and fill in with loose soil. Press down firmly to remove any air pockets. Final soil level should be even with the existing garden surface.

Add a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch to the garden areas. Mulch adds a finishing touch to landscapes with plants and flowers as well as serving a functional role to retain moisture and add nutrients to the soil.

Water the landscape regularly at the base of each plant to encourage deep-water retention in the soil.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Trowel
  • Peat moss
  • Plants and flowers
  • Mulch
  • Water-soluble fertilizer
  • Hose and water


  • Newly planted roots must absorb water regularly to help the plant establish itself in its new home. Perform a simple soil test by poking your finger into the soil to check water levels. Dry soil to 1 to 2 inches needs a good, deep drink of water.