Plant Selection and Placement

One of the most eye-pleasing and popular features of landscaping is plant life. Although placing plants in various spots throughout your yard always looks nice, the right placement and choice of a variety of plants can elevate your yard to the next level. Here are some tips and ideas for plant selection and placement:

Plants with Purpose

Before selecting plants, think about what type of plants you would like to have in your yard. Do you want plants that are strictly ornamental such as Common Foxglove or have a purpose like an edible garden? There are many landscaping designs that incorporate the two, aesthetics and function so you can have the best of both worlds.

Decorative Indoors or Outdoors

Do you want plants and flowers that can be snipped, put in a vase, and brought indoors to enjoy or do you simply want to enjoy your blooming plants outside? If you don’t mind keeping the beauty outdoors, there are plenty of flowers and plants that thrive if left alone and they may even get you outside more, to enjoy their colors.

Sun or Shade

Many people love to incorporate certain landscaping elements to look like the yard at childhood home or even their grandmother’s house, but the amount of sun or shade can make or break your plans. Take peonies, for example, they have been a popular sight in yards throughout Minnesota for decades, but if you have shady yard spaces, you should pick another plant that doesn’t require much sun.

Do Your Research

Too often, when selecting plants, homeowners choose plants based on how they look and don’t do much research on how much sun or lack of sun is needed to thrive. Selecting the wrong plants can not only be expensive but disappointing as well. Fortunately, there are numerous resources from online articles to advice from a local landscape contractor to help you make the right selection for your yard.

Soil Types

Along with sun or shade, the type of soil that’s in your yard is a determining factor when it comes to plant selection. Some soil has heavy clay deposits while other soils are sandy; these conditions are ideal for some plants and won’t work well for others. Before you purchase or plant any flowers or plants, check out the type of soil that’s in your yard.


Some plants require more maintenance than others, and some homeowners love the challenge and don’t mind the extra work that goes into caring for high maintenance plants and flowers. If you don’t have a lot of time to devote to your yard or think that you will spend a lot of the growing and blooming season traveling, low maintenance perennials might be more sensible.

Incorporating with Existing Structures

While some landscaping structures are outdated and could use a little TLC or complete replacement, there are many plants and flowers that can be incorporated into existing structures such as retaining walls or along a walkway.


Sustainable landscaping is becoming more popular and has numerous benefits from using less water and no pesticides or fertilizers to providing a habitat for wildlife and having a landscape that will last a lifetime, particularly when using native plants. When using native plants, be sure to pay attention to the growing zone (i.e. Zone 3 or 4). Although there are many plants native to Minnesota, some will thrive in one part of the state while others will not. It’s also important to make sure that the native plants you incorporate are legal to plant, as some exotic plants are illegal due to their pesky and invasive nature (i.e. Buckthorn).

Select with Care

Many well-intentioned homeowners, wishing to give their home more curb appeal and increasing the value, incorporate plants in their landscaping plan that end up being hazardous. When selecting trees, for example, consider how the mature tree will look, thinking about the roots. Some trees, if planted too close to a home or another structure, have roots that can negatively impact foundations or sidewalks. Such an impact not only destroys the structure itself but can end up being a safety issue for residents or pedestrians in the neighborhood.

The selection and placement of your plants are one of the most exciting and enjoyable parts of planning your next landscaping project. Although there are many plants to choose from, you want to consider certain factors from sun and soil to maintenance in order for your landscape to thrive and look beautiful.