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Deciding which plants to use for your home's landscape can be a challenge. Many factors must be considered, beyond simply choosing the plants you find to be the most attractive. You'll need to consider your climate and the amount of time you want to devote to maintenance. You'll also need to find plants suitable for exposure conditions, such as sun or shade or dry or rainy weather.
Additionally, you should think about what you want your plants to achieve. Are you looking to add shade or privacy to your property? Do you want something fragrant and colorful that will attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife? You should also select landscape plantings that reflect the style of your garden. Most plants suitable for a quaint cottage-style garden will look out of place in a garden with a sultry Mediterranean or tropical theme.
Get these tips
Use the plant lists at right to begin compiling ideas for what plants you would like in your yard. In this section, you'll also find tips from landscaping professionals on:
- Using gardening zones to select the plants most suitable for your climate.
- The main factors that affect plant performance, including the amount of sunlight and rainfall, the length of the growing season, average summer and winter temperatures, and elevation.
- The three most important rules to remember when choosing plants for a modern garden, including tips for grouping them.
- How to use succulents of all shapes and sizes to add drama to the garden.
- The most popular trees and plants to use in a Japanese garden.
- Preparing the soil and installing a drip irrigation system for a thriving desert garden.
- The best plants and ground covers for drought tolerance, including cacti, succulents, autumn sage, and Texas red yucca.
- Plant suggestions for creating a lush, tropical landscape.
- Desired plant characteristics for a Mediterranean garden.
- The favorite traditional landscaping plants, which are often characterized by strong structures and showy blooms.
- The main factors to consider when selecting plants for use around a swimming pool.
- The top 10 vines for accenting pergolas, patio covers, and arbors.
- The do's and don'ts for selecting plants for use around a patio, terrace or deck.
- The best plants for screening and creating privacy in your yard.
- Ideas for creating privacy with a bamboo screen.
- The top 10 trees for adding striking beauty in a landscape
- How to use shrubs and bushes to add structure and color to a garden.
- Enhancing the enjoyment of your garden by planting trees, vines, shrubs and perennials that produce edible fruit or herbs.
- Ideas for landscaping with olive trees, which grow especially well in the coastal areas of California.