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How to Design a Great Yard with Landscape Plants (page 3 of 4)

Make sure you put the right plant in the right place. Learn how to choose and where to place your plants so you can create a low-maintenance landscape that will thrive for years to come.

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Size Things Up

Plant tags state how large plants grow under ideal circumstances. Plan for this contingency and site plants accordingly, giving them ample elbow room for spreading and plenty of headspace for upward mobility.

In the right place, tall plants can form a privacy screen or stage a striking backdrop for other plantings. In the wrong place, they’re an eyesore. Conversely, plants that are too small can be dwarfed by surrounding plantings or hardscaping and disappear from view.

Pictured below: Choose plants carefully for edging walking paths. A short, fountainous grass like blue fescue, Festuca glauca (left), is just right for edging a path without becoming a tripping hazard or blocking the view. A mature hollyhock, Alcea rosea (right), grows too tall for placing at the front of a flower bed. Its imposing stature dwarfs shorter front-of-the-border plantings.

Embrace Color and Texture

As you select plants, consider leaf and flower color, and how it will blend or clash with existing landscape and hardscaping. An easy way to succeed with color is to design with hues from the same color family. This works especially well in front yard gardens, where you want to make a great first impression on guests and passersby.

Another goof-proof method is scattering clumps of the same color throughout planting areas, creating what’s called a color echo. Don’t forget to study bloom time and plan for color throughout the gardening season. Add in contrasting leaf and plant textures to stir some drama in the landscape.

Pictured below: Create an eye-pleasing planting by using a color echo in plants and hardscaping. Here, burgundy repeats in barberry shrubs and a back door.

Courtesy of Julie A. Martens