Landscape Tips

Mature Plant Size

Beware, that cute little evergreen beside your front steps may be a baby giant
redwood. One of the most frequent homeowner mistakes is to pick a lovely plant at a nursery,
without realizing its mature size. Always check the plant label and ask the supplier how
large the plant will want to grow. Even if a plant is listed as a ‘dwarf’ or ‘compact’
variety, it may end up too big for the intended space.

If less pruning maintenance is desired in the future, give your plant the room it needs
now. Although the planting may seem bare at first, after a few seasons, the plants will
fill out and give the desired density for years to come.

Specimen plants will need additional space to hold a separation between individuals.
Alternatively, Mass Plantings may be spaced closer to force the individuals to grow
“shoulder to shoulder” and give an overall appearance of one continuous plant mass.

Pruning Maintenance

Extend the life of your plantings, Enhance your landscape investment
As a landscape matures, its plants may grow out of shape or begin to develop interior
die-back. Pruning can be used to remove dead plant material and to encourage new
growth in many species. In this way, an older plant may gradually be rejuvenated
without having to remove and replant.

Branching structure can be enhanced for health and aesthetics.
Increased air movement within a plant will decrease the likelihood of fungus/mould.
Increased light penetration within a plant will encourage interior growth a

development of new shoots.

Seasonal Color

Take advantage of interesting characteristics throughout the year.
Many plants are known for one specific attractive feature like a rhododendron’s strong
show of early summer flowers. If a variety of plants are chosen to sequence their claim
to fame, the attraction of the planting may be enjoyed year round. Some plants bloom
in late winter while others bloom in late fall. If we combine seasonal leaf color and
interesting textured or colored bark to the mix, there should be a strong exhibit during
every month of the year.

Importance of Plant Selection

Pick the right plant for the right location. Ask a professional.
Plants are living organisms having individual requirements that vary within the basic
needs of light, water, and soil.

Plants are usually chosen for color, interest, mature size, season of interest etc. If a
specific characteristic is desired, there is usually a plant that will display it. That being
said, there are many other factors that need to be matched:

Plant hardiness – will the plant survive the weather conditions on site?
Soil type – light sand to heavy clay
Moisture requirement – dry, wet, well drained, drought tolerant
Light – full sun, part sun, shade tolerant
Other site specific factors may also apply.

Summer Flower Shows: Annual Flowers or Perennial Flowers

The summertime landscape is known for its flowers. Their fragrance and color can be
outstanding. They make important habitat for small wildlife, birds and butterflies;
decorate our tables; and sometimes enhance our dinner plates.

There are two basic categories of flowers: annuals and perennials

Annual flowers are those that will flower during their first season of growth. They
develop quickly and typically flower continuously. In frosty climates they will need to be
planted annually as they are not cold hardy, hence the name. Geraniums, petunias,
impatiens, and begonias are common annuals. They may be purchased in springtime
already in full bloom, and with close watch over watering, are expected to bloom until
the first frosts of the fall. It is tough to beat the impressiveness of a mass planting of

Perennial flowers often develop slower than annuals, some requiring a season or two
after seeding to develop to an age that will produce flowers. Again, perennials may be
purchased in full flower. Perennials are typically cold hardy meaning they will likely
survive the winter climate. They usually lie dormant until spring when they develop new
leaves and enter another flowering cycle. Perennials are not known to flower all season
long like annuals, so a variety of perennials is often combined in one large bed to
orchestrate a sequence of flowering displays throughout the year. Perennials can be
chosen to match the site conditions in order to establish a long lived landscape. These
plants will be enjoyed for years with some maintenance.

Get more from your backyard landscape.

Night lighting can add elegance and formality or mystical moonlight to set the mood of
your landscape whether it be street side or that small corner destination in the backyard.
Integrated computerized controls, automated timers and the long life of variable colored
LED fixtures make night lighting a functional and attractive addition to any landscape.
Extend the usable time you have outdoors beyond sunset and give your home some
interest during the long dark winter. Most lighting designs can be assembled over time
by expanding on the first installation.

Fire Pit

Add the adventure of a fire pit, or the intimacy of a fire table for family s’moregasbords.
(check your local bylaws for wood burning restrictions)

Butterfly Gardens

Butterfly gardens can be beautifully planted without much space. Carefully chosen
plants are bound to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden, especially
when enhanced with a hummingbird feeder.

Invite the animation of small wildlife into your yard with a bird feeding station. A focal
point can be created with a stylish and very functional birdbath set among a small flower

Express yourself with sculpture which will add interest and character to your landscape.
Create structure to your outdoor spaces with a divider, archway, fence, or pergola.

Can’t see the forest for the trees?

Arbor care can define your trees to enhance their natural form, improve tree health, and
discover the fantastic views from your property. Contact your local Certified Arborist or
Landscape Architect.


Photo courtesy of DLAC
Anthony Gingrich LA
Dahlkemper Landscape Architects and Contractors