Plants    Design Information    Clay Soils    Harford County, MD

The Basics - Design . . .

What do you want in your landscape design for your home?

You may not need all of these types of plantings, and, perhaps, you can think of others that would suit you or your property even better.

In my website - Artist's Attic - I have included some of the many landscape designs under 3D Designs that I made for my landscape clients. Take a look at 3 D Designs; one of the designs just might help you with your own landscape needs.

minimal foundation plantings 01

One of the designs is called "minimal foundation plantings 01". The planting bed is not too deep so there is not a lot of room for many rows of plants. If they like where they are planted, most plants will keep growing and even in designs that look sparse at the beginning the plants will fill in the space. Once they are growing well and starting to cover up the windows, just prune the top of the plants and, if you wish, let them expand from their sides. Ground covers or low-growing perennials will eventually fill in any empty ground spaces as well.

Plant Tags are your answer to designing your perfect garden

Plant-tagWith all of the many thousands of plants available for planting in our Harford County gardens, the most important design tool for selecting the right plants is the Plant Tag found in the pot of small plants or attached to larger growing nursery stock. This tag should have all of the information you need to make the right plant choice. Not only does the tag show the name, height, spread and special features of the plant, it also should state the type of soil needed, how to plant, how to care for the plant, and possibly other things of interest, such as berries, etc. So, make sure the plant has a plant tag or that you have the correct plant name so you can look up the plant's information online.

What size trees should be in my landscape?

For your family's safety, place all trees at least their mature height (30, 50 or 100 feet) away from the perimeter of your home.

Choosing the right plant

Unless you are knowledgeable about landscape plants already, it can be a daunting task in choosing the right plants. When choosing landscape plants, read the Plant Tags completely. Keep your safety in mind when choosing tree locations. Plant plants in their right places - follow the information on the Plant Tag. If plants are planted in the wrong soil, they will languish and eventually die. Also, plants often get attacked by bugs and diseases if they are not planted in the proper locations.

Take a look at this simplified design which shows the placement of the home and various trees on a lot. The front door of this home faces south.simplified design

South Side of Your Home - Unless shaded by large trees, the south side of your home is hot and sunny. Plant plants that require full sun.

East Side of Your Home - The east side gets strong sun in the morning but by noon it's in shade. Plant plants that require sun or part shade. The leaves of plants needing full shade will often burn from the strong eastern morning sun. Because it's in shade from 12 noon, the east side needs bright-colored foliage and flowers. Yellow foliage looks great here. Don't use dark-colored foliage because the color will be lost in the afternoon shade.

West Side of Your Home - The west side works for full sun plants and those plants that do well in part shade. Often, the hardy rhododendrons do well on the west side if the soil is appropriate for them.

North Side of Your Home - Use plants that require part shade or full shade. Plants with variegated foliage, especially with white variegation, look good on the north side because the north light has a cool cast.

Young Deciduous Trees - Plantings around young, newly-planted deciduous trees should be composed of plants that do well in sun or part shade. Usually new, young trees don't produce much shade so a lot of sunlight gets through to the plants underneath.

Mature Deciduous Trees - If you are planting under mature deciduous trees, use plants that require part shade on the south, east, and west sides of the tree, and full shade plants on the north side of the tree. These trees have lots of roots around their bases. Try not to disturb the roots.

Young Evergreens - Newly planted young evergreens should not have plants underneath them. Remove any grass underneath their limbs and use mulch as the ground cover. Grass takes energy away from the plants they're underneath; thereby slowing down the evergreen's growth.

Mature Evergreens - If you are planting under older, established evergreens, use plants that require shade. Also, don't plant right up to the tree's trunk but leave a clear circle of mulch at least six feet wide. Again, these trees have lots of roots around their bases. Try not to disturb the roots.

What other types of gardens or individual plants do you want on your property?

That's a personal question that I cannot answer. Gardens, including foundation plantings, require money and upkeep long after they are installed, and they may have to be renovated from time to time.

After looking online it looks like outdoor living spaces connected to the home's indoor living area are still popular. If you want this type of space, keep vegetation to a minimum in the outdoor kitchen area.

We are lucky to be living in an area that includes so many public gardens that we can visit and enjoy just about whenever we want. These gardens are great to visit to see a wide variety of plant ecosystems. Most of these gardens have special membership prices that make it possible to visit and enjoy on a recurring basis. See my "Gardens to Visit" under "Other Garden Things" for information about public gardens in our area.