The Q&A Archives: what plants would be best to surround a waterfall?

Question: our subdivision has a waterfall with large boulders surrounding it- around and in front needs plants, shrubs and anything with color and low maintenance. any suggestions?

Answer: First you need to determine your overall budget for the project. This will dictate your plant selection at least in part.

The overall growing conditions will also affect your choices. First of all you need to select plants that are winter hardy in your area. Your zip code places you in zone 6A or the colder part of zone 6. Depending on the microclimate where this is located, it might be as cold as zone 5.

What type of soil is there, is it sunny or shady, windy, rocky, extra dry or extra wet? Will you be able to water it easily during the establishment period (all new plants need water in dry spells) and thereafter?

You need to know what your design goal is in planting. Low maintenance is one priority, but do you want evergreens or a mixture? is it viewed from all sides or just the front, is there a walkway and seating area or is it a high impact drive-by location at the entry to the subdivision? How much space is to be planted and what is the backdrop like?

As you begin to answer these questions your choices will begin to become clear. I would suggest you work with your county extension and/or with a professionally trained and certified nurseryman to develop an overall plan and then based on a more detailed understanding of the growing conditions and your design goals, work up a list of the specific plants. Depending on your budget and ther scope of the project you may even want to hire a degreed landscape architect to help you.

Best of luck with your project!

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