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Choosing the Right Plantings for your Denver Yard & Garden
Flowers, Shrubs, Annuals & Perennials
By Bryn Abshire - July 29, 2015
When selecting the kinds of plants you want to feature in your garden or yard, it is important to take into consideration a number of different factors aside from just aesthetics. While a certain flower or shrub may look “pretty”, it may not be the best choice for your garden or yard. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your plantings:
1- Climate: Whether up in the mountains or simply down in the Mile High city, Colorado has a very dry climate with naturally rocky soils, so plants that require a lot of moisture are not going to do as well in our state. You should also make note of when your yard receives sunlight – do you get amazing morning light, or does the sun hit in the late afternoon? Perhaps you have large trees that shade most of the yard, or maybe the sun beats down all day relentlessly. Taking note of sun and shade levels in your outdoor space will help you pick the right plants for your garden. Some plants thrive in sunlight, others love the shade, and you can find something to work for anywhere in your garden.
2- Maintenance Level: Great looking landscape doesn’t have to require a ton of work. If you pick the right plants initially, maintenance levels from the spring through the fall can be fairly low. Conversely, if you are a seasoned gardener and you plan to spend hours in your garden daily or weekly, you may want to choose plants and flowers that require more attention and maintenance. Planting exotic or temperamental plants might seem like fun at first, but if you don’t have the time or desire to maintain them, your garden and your pocket book will suffer. Be realistic! “Easy” plants can be just as beautiful as difficult ones, and you want to be able to enjoy your garden and outdoor space with ease. Start by thinking about how much time you really want to spend gardening, and go from there.
3- Perennials vs. Annuals: Along the same lines of maintenance level is whether or not you plant perennial or annual flowers. Perennial flowers tend to require less work because by their definition they only need to be planted once, and will come back every year (like tulip bulbs). Conversely, annual flowers must be planted annually, and only last the one season for which they are planted. It might seem like a no-brainer to plant only perennials (plant once, and done!) but there are also benefits to annual plantings. Annual plantings tend to produce more flowers and bloom for longer periods of time than do perennials and by planting annuals you have the flexibility to change up your garden design and flower choices on a yearly basis. Most gardens contain a mix of perennial and annual flowers so you can perform some basic landscape plantings and create a basic landscape structure for your garden, while also being able to pick and choose new flowers for certain flower beds or planters on a yearly basis.
4- Pet & Child Friendly / Poisonous: Many plants sold regularly at your home garden store will be child and pet-friendly, but it may surprise you to know that there are far more poisonous and potentially dangerous plants and flowers out there. If you have four-legged friends or little ones running around your yard, make sure to do some research before planting your garden. Common flowers, plants and shrubs that can be harmful to pets and children include (but are not limited to) Rhododendron, Lily-of-the-Valley, Hydrangea, Poinsettia, Foxglove, Oleandar, Mistletoe and more. Whether planting your garden yourself, or enlisting the help of a professional landscape design company, take the time to choose your plants carefully and communicate with your landscape artist on your family’s needs.
It may seem like there are quite a few things to consider when beginning your Denver landscape design and choosing plantings that are right for your space, family and lifestyle. The professional landscape artists at My Landscaper work with spaces large and small all over our great state of Colorado. We know what plants work best for our climate, and will make sure that your garden is as beautiful, manageable and safe as you need it to be.