Plants play both an aesthetic and functional role in a residential landscape. They add greenery to the outdoor space, making it visually appealing. They also purify the air, regulate the temperature, attract pollinators, and control soil erosion. There are various types of landscaping plants, ranging from grass and foliage plants to tall trees, vines, and shrubs. Therefore, you should choose the right plants for your outdoor space to ensure longevity and reliability. Here are three crucial factors to consider during the selection process.
Soil Type and Drainage
Different landscape plants thrive in varying soil types. Therefore, understand the soil conditions in your landscape and narrow down your plant options to those that do well in the specified conditions. Below are some common characteristics of the three popular types of soil.
- Clay soil: Clay soil retains water and nutrients well. However, it has poor drainage, making it ideal for plants that thrive in fertile and moist conditions.
- Sandy soil: Sandy soil drains water easily; thus, it doesn't retain moisture or nutrients. Plants that require well-draining soil can thrive well in sandy soil.
- Loam soil: Loam soil has excellent nutrient retention and water drainage properties. Therefore, it is ideal for most types of landscape plants.
You can amend the soil in your landscape to suit the conditions of your preferred plants. A soil amendment involves adding materials such as compost, manure, wood chips, vermiculite, sand, and pea gravel to change the soil composition. It can improve soil drainage, nutrient retention, aeration, and structure and boost plant growth.
Climate and Microclimates
An area's climate determines the types of plants that can grow well there. Native plant species thrive in local conditions because they have adapted to the climate. If you are planning to grow non-native plant species, you must ensure their suitability for the general climate of your state and the microclimate of your home.
Weather events such as snow, flooding, extreme heat, and erosion determine the performance of plants in an area. Microclimatic conditions such as humidity, wind, evaporation, and heat balance also determine plant growth. Therefore, choose plants that do well in the prevailing climatic conditions.
Water Quantity and Availability
Plants need water for photosynthesis and to move nutrients from the soil to the stems. Some plants require a lot of water and frequent watering, while others require less water. Therefore, if your area receives little rainfall, opt for drought-resistant plants. Some plant species suffer damage when exposed to hard water due to the alkaline pH and high mineral content. Therefore, avoid such plants if you intend to use hard water for gardening.
The technicalities of choosing the best plants for a residential landscape can be overwhelming. If you are stuck, contact a landscaping contractor for professional assistance.