Whether you are considering modifying your existing yard, or you have the opportunity to start from scratch, here are some tips to help you make it perfect!
1. Research plants before you buy them. Does the plant need sun? Shade? How much water does it need? Does it need alkaline or acidic soil? How big does this plant get? Does it spread? Even better than turning to the internet is to ask local nursery staff--they are the ones who seem to have the best local knowledge. It takes time to do the research, but it is better than planting something only to have it die on you that same year, or to plant something that will get too big or take over your yard.
2. Plant a mix of evergreens and deciduous shrubs. Deciduous, often flowering, shrubs look fantastic during the growing season, but dead during winter. So to keep your yard from looking all dead during winter, include some evergreens in your mix, such as Slowmound Mugo Pine, Bird Nest Spruce, Euonymous, Blue Chip Juniper, etc. that will stay green all winter.
3. Avoid obvious patterns and straight lines in your yard. Our human tendency is to order our environment, but when we overly manipulate our yards to where they look particularly unnatural, the ability of the plants to give us prolonged interest and restorative relief is diminished. Take the time you would have spent shearing your shrubs into geometric shapes and use that time, instead, to recline in your hammock and watch the bees gather nectar, the birds socialize, and the leaves flutter in the wind. You'll feel more recharged and at harmony with the world.
Let us know if you have any landscape questions or would like more tips! It's time to get your fingers dirty!