The Ultimate Guide To Landscaping Plant Selection

Landscaping is all about making the most out of your space. You don’t want to be stuck with a boring lawn, so you need to choose the best plants for the job. Here’s an overview of how to pick plants for your garden or backyard area:

Choosing Landscaping Plants That Speak to You And Your Yard
– When selecting landscaping plants, it’s important to consider factors such as sunlight, soil type, and climate.
– There are many different types of plants that can work well in a variety of landscaping settings, from colorful blooms to evergreen trees.
– Sustainability is an important consideration for many homeowners, and there are a variety of eco-friendly landscaping options available.
– Easy-care plants like succulents and impatiens can be great for those who are new to landscaping and looking for low-maintenance options.
– Before selecting plants for your landscaping, it’s important to research their long-term growth and maintenance needs to ensure they’re the right fit for your space.

Plant Size

The size of your plants is another important consideration. If you’re looking for a natural look and don’t want to be spending too much time maintaining your landscape, then smaller plants are a good idea. 

On the other hand, if you want something that will stand out from the rest of your yard and require little maintenance, look for large plants instead.

Although there are no hard-and-fast rules about plant size for every type of landscape, here’s some general advice:

If you have plenty of space in your garden and aren’t worried about mowing or watering often (or at all), then larger shrubs—such as boxwood and yew—can be used to create focal points in the design. Just be sure they aren’t overgrown because they can easily become invasive if not pruned regularly!

For any type of garden where maintenance might pose an issue such as lawns or flower beds near sidewalks where people walk often, consider using small shrubs like azaleas instead.”

Expert Tips for Choosing the Right Landscaping Plants for Your Yard: Looking to add some new plants to your landscaping? Our guide on choosing the right landscaping plants for your yard offers expert tips and advice to help you find the perfect plants for your space.

Growth Habit

Growth habit refers to how fast and tall the plant grows. Some plants grow very quickly, while others take a more leisurely pace. Taller plants can also require less maintenance than smaller ones.

The growth habit of your plant will have an impact on its maintenance needs (a small shrub can be pruned into shape easily), space requirements and longevity in your landscape.

Plants with a spreading or mounding growth habit are often the best choice for areas where there is plenty of room to fill in around them as they grow, such as dry creek beds or along fences or walls where you don’t mind letting them spread out a bit before trimming back later on down the road..

Plant NameGrowth HabitSunlight NeededSoil TypeMature Size
Creeping PhloxSpreadingFull sun to partial shadeWell-drainingUp to 6 inches
BoxwoodMoundingFull sun to shadeWell-drainingUp to 6 feet
Fountain GrassUpright, clumpingFull sunWell-drainingUp to 4 feet
YuccaSpiky, cluster-formingFull sun to partial shadeWell-drainingUp to 10 feet
Weeping WillowCascadingFull sunWell-drainingUp to 50 feet

In this table, we have provided information on the growth habits of five different types of popular landscaping plants. For each plant, we have included its growth habit, sunlight requirements, soil type preferences, and mature size.

By taking into account the growth habits of your plants, you can tailor your landscaping project specifically to your desired look, whether it’s through cascading plants or upright, clumping varieties. Additionally, by considering the sunlight and soil needs, you can ensure that your plants thrive in their chosen location.


Texture is a major factor in what makes plants look good together. Plants with delicate, feathery foliage tend to look better when paired with those that have stiff, fine-leaved varieties or smooth stems. 

A combination of delicate and fine-leaved plants will work well if you want to create a more airy feel.

For example:

Feathery ferns (see image below) can be mixed in with other feathery ferns or large-leafed tropical plants such as Elephant ear vine (Alocasia sanderiana).

Stepping stones or stepping stones covered in moss make great places for tiny ferns like Athyrium filix-femina ‘Minutissimum’ (1″ tall) or Equisetum arvense ‘Purple Fountain’ (3″ tall).

10 Must-Have Landscaping Plants for Your Garden: Want to add some color and texture to your garden? Check out our list of 10 must-have landscaping plants for your garden to find some gorgeous options that are sure to impress.

Foliage Color

Foliage color is one of the most important elements of landscaping plant selection. Most plants have either green, blue or purple foliage.

For example, you may choose to use plants with green leaves to create a focal point in your landscape. Similarly, if you want to add depth to your yard, try using plants with dark purple or blue-grey leaves that will contrast with lighter colored trees and shrubs.

Foliage color can also be used in combination with shape to make a statement in the garden.

Plant NameFoliage ColorSunlight NeededSoil TypeMature Size
Japanese MapleRed, green, purplePartial shade to sunWell-drainingUp to 20 feet
EucalyptusBlue-grayFull sun to partial shadeWell-drainingUp to 60 feet
Coral BellsBronze, purple, silverPartial shade to sunWell-drainingUp to 3 feet
Blue FescueBlue-greenFull sunWell-drainingUp to 1 foot
ColeusPurple, pink, greenShade to partial shadeWell-drainingUp to 3 feet

In this table, we have outlined the foliage color, sunlight requirements, soil type preferences, and mature size for five popular types of landscaping plants. By considering the colors and hues of foliage, you can create a unique look and feel for your landscaping project.

Additionally, by taking into account the sunlight needs, soil type preferences, and mature sizes for each plant, you can ensure that your plants thrive and complement each other in your landscaping design.

Flower Color

When selecting plants for your landscape, color is often a major consideration. Whether you want the flowers to be the main attraction or simply to coordinate with other colors in your garden, selecting a plant based on its blooming periods can be helpful. 

In addition to coordinating with other flowers, color can also help coordinate with the house or other structures in your yard.

Looking to spruce up your outdoor space? Our list of 15 landscaping plants that will transform your outdoor space includes a variety of options, from colorful blooms to lush foliage, that are sure to make a statement.

Light Requirements

It’s important to know what kind of light your plants need. You should look at the plant’s name and see if it has any indication that it prefers full sun, partial sun or shade.

If you’re not sure about a particular plant, check some other sources for more information on that specific species’ light requirements.

Full Sun: Plants in this category will receive 6 or more hours of direct sunlight every day. These plants are often native to tropical areas where they experience lots of hot sunshine all year round, but they can also thrive in warm temperate climates as long as they get enough light throughout the year.

Partial Sun: This type of light exposure indicates that a plant will thrive with 4-6 hours directly above them each day (or just a few hours less than full sun). The best way to gauge how much sunlight this is is by looking at where you live and what time during the day your region gets direct sunlight; usually 2-3 hours before noon would qualify as partial sun conditions.

Shade: These plants require very little direct sunlight due to their dense foliage which helps protect their stems and leaves from damaging ultraviolet rays.

Plant NameSunlight NeededSoil TypeMature Size
HostaPartial shade to shadeMoist, well-draining2-3 feet
PetuniaFull sunMoist, well-drainingUp to 12 inches
HydrangeaPartial sun to shadeMoist, well-drainingUp to 6 feet
JuniperFull sun to partial shadeWell-drainingUp to 6 feet
AzaleaPartial shade to shadeslightly acidic, well-drainingUp to 8 feet

In this table, we have provided information on the light requirements for five different types of popular landscaping plants. For each plant, we have included the amount of sunlight it needs, the type of soil it prefers, and its mature size.

By considering these factors when selecting plants for your landscaping project, you can help ensure your plants thrive and your yard looks beautiful.

Water Requirements

The next step is to determine what type of plants are best suited to your climate. Many homeowners mistakenly assume that all plants need the same amount of water, but this isn’t true. 

For example, a drought-tolerant plant will be able to survive with little or no water at all. On the other hand, a plant that thrives in moist conditions may not do well if watered too frequently.

There are three main types of irrigation needs:

  • Drought-tolerant (also known as xeric) – tolerates very dry conditions and does not require supplemental watering during periods without rainfall for its survival
  • Water loving (also known as hydrophytic) – requires regular watering but can adapt to periods without rain longer than other types of vegetation because it has deeper roots
  • Intermediate moisture requirement – these plants need consistent moisture but won’t wilt if left unirrigated for several days (e.g., most trees)

Choosing the right plants for your landscaping can be tough, but our guide on how to select the perfect landscaping plants for your home can help. Learn about different factors to consider when selecting plants, from sunlight and soil type to aesthetic preferences.

Seasonal Interest

One of the most important things to consider when planting a garden is the overall look and feel of your space. 

To create an inviting, enjoyable outdoor living area, it’s important to select plants that work well together. Luckily, there are some simple rules you can follow when choosing plants for your landscaping project:

  • Choose plants with similar bloom times so that they’re all in bloom at the same time
  • Choose plants with different blooming times so that they don’t all flower at once (which can be overwhelming)
  • Choose plants with different bloom colors so that there’s always something blooming in your garden

Sustainable landscaping can be great for the environment and your wallet, but it can be hard to know where to start. Our guide on 15 simple steps to sustainable landscaping for the busy homeowner offers practical tips and advice to make your landscaping more eco-friendly.


When it comes to choosing plants, there is a lot of information out there. You can spend hours reading about different landscaping plants and what they’re best used for. 

However, if you want to get started on your garden quickly and efficiently, our guide should help you find the perfect plants! 

In this article we’ve covered everything from plant size and growth habit to textures like flowers or leaves plus more details about light needs water requirements etc.

Further reading

Here are some additional resources that can help you make informed decisions about selecting plants for your landscaping needs:

Right Plant, Right Place: Plant Selection Guide for Managed Landscapes – A comprehensive guide from the University of Massachusetts on selecting the right plants for your landscaping needs based on factors such as sunlight, soil type, and climate.

Plant Selection for the Landscape – An overview of plant selection for landscaping purposes, with advice on choosing the right plants for different areas of your yard and tips on soil preparation and planting techniques.

A Guide for the Selection and Use of Plants in the Landscape – A detailed guide from Michigan State University that covers the selection, placement, planting, and maintenance of plants in landscaping.


Here are some common questions about landscaping plant selection:

What are some factors to consider when selecting landscaping plants?

Some important factors to keep in mind when selecting landscaping plants include the amount of sunlight and shade in the area, the type of soil, and the climate in your region.

What are some easy-care plants for first-time landscapers?

Easy-care plants for those who are new to landscaping can include options such as succulents, petunias, and impatiens, which are all relatively low-maintenance and forgiving for beginners.

How can I choose plants that attract pollinators to my yard?

For those looking to attract pollinators to their yard, it’s a good idea to choose plants that are known to be attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Lavender, coneflowers, and sunflowers are all popular choices.

What are some good options for privacy screens or hedges?

If you’re looking to create a privacy screen or hedge in your yard, some popular options to consider include evergreen trees, arborvitae, and boxwoods.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when selecting landscaping plants?

Some common mistakes to avoid when selecting landscaping plants include choosing plants that aren’t suited to your climate or soil conditions, over-planting an area, and not considering the long-term growth and maintenance needs of the plants you select.