Planning A Landscape With Four Groups of Plantings From High to Low

It’s not too early to start dreaming of next year’s growing season.  Perhaps you’re considering major changes in your landscaping.  Putting together a schematic drawing of your landscaping and determining what trees, shrubs, flowers, and vines to grow is one of the hardest parts of landscaping. Perhaps you have lots of gardening and landscaping magazines that you have already earmarked hundreds of plants that you think could work. How to decide?  The best plan is based on four groups.

The first group – trees – goes in places where you want to block adjoining yards and their landscaping, where you need shade, or where you want to add some dimension to your landscape. These are all good applications for trees.

The second group is the High Group, quite simply shrubs and vines that will grow above your head. They will be the screens and serve as the background for smaller plants in your garden. You can use them to break the wind by offering shelter, making your landscape into a micro-climate. They can also act as a boundary between you and neighbors or be used to bring your eye to a focal point by “boxing” or framing the view. They are the bones of your landscape. The vines may climb on landscape structures like fences, trellis, arbors, gazebos, and pergolas.

The third group is the Medium group, which are plantings that are at your eye’s level or up to your knees. These are known as the muscles and can be showcased by the trees and the eye level shrubs and vines, so they are the showstoppers. Sturdy perennials and ornamental grasses would fall in this area.

Anything below your knees is in the fourth and final Low Group. These are lawns, ground covers, and perennials and shrubs that are below knee level.

Now that you have divided your plants, look at the conditions that they all grow best in considering shade, water needs, maintenance, and planting requirements. If you need additional assistance contact a landscaper for a consultation of what grows best in your area and your soil type.