The Q&A Archives: Perennials and shrubs

Question: I need to know anything about all that apply because I am a new home owner just starting out .

Answer: Congratulations on your new home! Landscaping is an ongoing process. Your first task is to determine an overall plan for the landscape, including the locations for different types of plantings. Then you would analyze the growing conditions in each location and select plants that are well suited to those conditions as well as meeting your overall design goals.

For example, is it sunny or shady and at what time of day; is it extra wet, extra dry, or average; what kind of soil is there? Then, how much space is available for the plant to grow and mature; do you need an evergreen or a deciduous plant; do you want flowers? How much is the installation budget and how much maintenance time do you want to spend? What time frame are you looking at -- a year, five years, twenty years?

In general, you will be looking at plants that are considered winter hardy into USDA zone 6 or colder. This will help you begin to narrow down your choices.

In most cases, the key to success is selecting suitable plants along with good soil preparation. I would suggest you run some basic soil tests to check fertility and pH, then fertilize and/or lime as indicated by the test results.

Your local county extension should be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results. They may also be able to recommend plants that do especially well in your local area that would be easy for a beginner to grow and succeed with.

Enjoy your landscaping!

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