If you want your yard to look beautiful but also stay beautiful, you’ll need to plan strategically. Selecting the right plants for your yard requires, first, knowing your yard’s growing environment and then matching the right plants to the environment. If you choose plants solely on looks, they may not be able to adjust to their new environment and within a year or two you may be left with a messy and dull looking yard. Consider these aspects before visiting your local plant nursery.
Consider the light conditions in each area of your yard. It’s important to determine the light conditions before you purchase your plants. Take note of the area’s light availability, intensity, and duration. Does the area you’re considering get full sun all day? Maybe it gets partial shade in the morning and full sun at noon. See below for guidance on sun exposure, these terms are usually listed on the plant’s tag.
- Full sun – Plants need at least 6 hours of direct sun daily
- Part sun – Plants thrive with between 3 and 6 hours of direct sun per day
- Part shade – Plants require between 3 and 6 hours of sun per day, but need protection from intense mid-day sun
- Full shade – Plants require less than 3 hours of direct sun per day
Water availability is of equal importance. Does the area get hit by your sprinkler system? How often do you run your sprinklers during the season? Does your location get a lot of rain or have a high humidity level?
Other Weather Conditions
Other weather conditions including wind exposure as well as temperature extremes are also important to note.
Soil type, drainage, and compaction are aspects that while they might not be your first thought, are very important to consider. Some plants thrive in clay like soil while others can not survive in it and prefer sandy soil. Your yard’s soil type will affect how the ground holds water and is something you need to consider. Sandy soil drains water quickly while clay holds water, loam is somewhere in the middle of the two.
What hardiness zone you are in affects what types of plants will thrive in your location. Connecticut ranges from zone 5b to 7b. Use this interactive zone map to determine what zone you fall into.
Existing Foliage Competition
It is good to take note of the current foliage and vegetation in each area of your yard. Plants compete for sunlight and water. Roots or leaves from a larger stronger plant may interfere with a new plant. Some of this can be prevented or managed with regular trimming but it is something to be aware of while picking out new plants.
There is a lot to consider before buying plants for your space but taking a few minutes to evaluate your site conditions will make a big difference in the long-term health of your yard. Come visit us on the farm and speak to an associate, we can help you with selecting the right plants for your yard!