In our eBook, "A Rookie's Guide to Designing Beds
and Borders", we discuss the major design roles of the
plants in our landscapes. This would include their
impacts as a unit of mass, color found in their flowers,
foliage or fruit, their horizontal or vertical form,
their texture and the formal or informal nature of their
In addition to these design criteria, there are several
additional characteristics that should be considered
during the plant selection process including: (Of
course, we could just forget all the fuss and use
plastic plants like the gas station did in this
Plant Hardiness - Make
sure of your long-term success by using only
plants that are bound to survive your local
Light Requirement -
Plants produce their own food through the
process of photosynthesis. Each plant has a
minimum level of light needed to grow and flower
Plant Height - One of
the basic design considerations is to be sure
that plants may be seen from the predominate
viewing points. Plant height, of course, plays a
key role in assuring that they show their best
in your beds and borders.
Bloom Season - For most
of us, we want an entire season of bloom in our
gardens. Select plants that will give you color
from early spring into the fall.
Multi-Season Interest -
Many plants, especially perennials, have a
limited timeframe in which they bloom. So, if
you can select plants with interesting bark,
foliage or other features, you can expand the
enjoyment of your garden.
Longevity - Even though
many of the plants we grow are "perennial" there
can be a great range of actual life spans among
plants. So, one of the factors you need to
consider is the expected life of your plants so
you can plan for replacements.
Invasiveness - To
minimize your maintenance requirements, you will
generally want to avoid plants that do not stay
in their place. Plants that wander around the
garden may be a constant challenge.
- It is always an added bonus to experience the
wonderful fragrance of many species of flowers
as you wander through your garden.
have provided some general information and
observations on this topic aimed at the home
gardener. Before you take
any serious action in your landscape, check
with your state's land grant university's
Service for the most current,
appropriate, localized recommendations.