A list of flowers is the place to start

Whether creating a landscape design of native plants or succulents, a list of flowers is the place to start.

Oh…The choices

Many of us keep lists everyday -- to-do lists, shopping lists, honey-do lists. Here is another list to consider: A list of flowers for landscaping. This is no ordinary list. It is a list of flowers that grow especially well in the Pacific Northwest. Fortunately, our weather conditions are just what these flowers need. And remember…if you select native plants, you can rest even easier as native flowers generally do not require a lot of care.

We have so many lists of plants that we can pick and choose from, such as our Pacific Northwest flower list, list of succulents, list of flowers that grow well near salt water, lists of flowers that bloom in a particular season, flowers that bloom at night, flowers by color, and so on. Our designers have years of experience and knowledge in horticulture. They have a good eye for what will work in the landscape and where you might run into trouble. With so many types of flowers to choose, it can be a daunting task for someone who doesn’t work with plants every day.

As you begin preparing your list of flowers, you may also want to visit our landscape services page garden design. Here there is a list of common, and not-so-common, types of gardens.

Now let's examine the criteria for choosing from a list of flowers. The purpose of flowers in a landscape is generally to add color. Texture, size, and location are also important. Occasionally, flowers are chosen for their scent or ability deter pests. Heat, prevailing soil conditions, moisture, and the interesting process of co-planting are additional factors we consider when choosing flowers for landscaping.

Let’s get planting!

There is a lot to think about when planting flowers. Successful planting is not an easy task. Here are some things we consider before choosing your flowers.

  1. Color of the flower and surrounding hard surfaces
  2. Amount of sunlight and shade
  3. Growth rate
  4. Heat tolerance
  5. Soil conditions
  6. Amount of moisture needed
  7. Available space
  8. Bloom duration
  9. Scented or unscented
  10. Pest tolerance
  11. Toxicity to pets
  12. Annual vs. perennial
  13. Purpose for planting (i.e. to add color or texture, privacy, or repel bugs)

Let's start with color. It is easy for a Pacific Northwest garden to appear as several shades of green for much of the year. This is because many of the perennials and native plants drop their petals after a short bloom. Two ways to deal with this is to intersperse plants with different blooming times and choose some colorful annuals to disperse throughout the garden -- planting each group annuals in a tight clumps, or swathes to maximize color intensity.

Surrounding hardscapes: It is wonderful when the colors of a plant make a hardscape stand out, or sometimes the other way around. A bluish gray rock may make the blue of a Lithodora pop. Redwood arbors next to roses or red rhododendrons add subtle emphasis to the colors.

Sun and Shade: as with all planting, sun and shade must be a primary factor in choosing a plant. Choosing a plant that grows best in sun or shade is only part of the challenge. When a certain color is the goal, it is good to be aware that shade can wash out subtle colors. For heavily shaded areas, we might suggest a deep color that will penetrate the relative dark. A bright red or yellow or even blue may work here. Also some barks on some plants can add a bit of color.

Positioning: Garden design goes far beyond selecting from a list of flowers. It is also important to keep in mind how fast each plant grows and its expected height. Position plants in the garden such that one plant doesn't obscure the view of another. The use of pots suspended or elevated within the garden can assist help ensure their foliage is seen.

Available space: Don't put one flower in the middle of a wide field. Don't put 100 sunflowers in a small garden. Consider the size of the bloom and the effect you want. How much of your field of vision should be one color.

Bloom duration: Flowers can bloom at any time of the year. There are some winter blooming flowers and some bushes with bark that are very pretty in winter. Most plants bloom in warmer weather so our summer gardens provide color and aesthetic appeal. A winter garden, though mostly non-blooming, is important and should focus on water management. Here we would select from a list of flowers that can be used in a rain garden or work to control erosion.

Night blooming: Some plants produce blooms that only open at night. This would give your garden a nocturnal nudge compared to your neighbors’ daylight-only garden, especially when you add some effective lighting to highlight these nightly delights. Not only do they look nice, but some provide heavenly scents as a bonus.

The scent: Most people like flowers that smell. In spring, it is difficult to go anywhere without smelling sweet blossoms in the air. While we don't have orange blossoms, and jasmine is a bit too delicate (not frost hardy), we still have many that do have wonderful smells. Golden Chains and Astilbe are a couple examples. It is so nice to have a nice smelling flower by an entryway.

Annuals: You might want a specific area of a garden that can be set aside just for annuals. This may be a potting area suspended or seated, or in-ground plants. Annuals have the advantage of looking fresh and a wide range of colors. You can change them every year so your garden never feels stale.

But a list of flowers is just the start

Planting a flower garden is serious business, and so much more than just selecting from a list of flowers. It takes careful planning and knowledge of each plants to make it work. We suggest that you not let the fun of enjoying a beautiful garden be dampened by its complexity.

If you need the help of Environmental Construction Inc., please do not hesitate to contact us.

Category: Landscape Design

Environmental Construction, Inc.

It's not simply about designing and building beautiful garden spaces, it's about providing a landscape oasis where you can relax from the daily grind and recharge. Let us create an outdoor space that will enhance your home and quality of life.

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