Design & Starter Plants

Design Considerations

Think about the activities the yard will be used for: swimming pools, entertaining, playing, gardening. Consider what you have to work with: sunny or shade locations, sloping or flat land, good or poor water drainage, and soil conditions. Choose a look or style: formal, informal, or natural, based on your lifestyle and the style of your house.

Keep the design simple by limiting the number of different construction materials and plant types. Think about proportion, texture, color, and unity. Place plants with similar water need together. First plan areas, such as pools, patios, decks, and then plan the landscaping around the areas.

Starting Your Own Perennials

Consider starting your own perennials from seed at a fraction of the cost of buying plants. They will enhance the beauty of your yard and increase the value of your property while cutting back on the number of high-maintenance lawn areas. There are many varieties of perennial flowers that thrive in our climate and require little care. Here is a partial list:

  • Chrysanthemums - they range from small, ground-hugging rock garden mums all the way to large shrub daisies. Available in almost every shade of white, pink, rust, yellow, and red. Mums generally prefer full sun and well-drained soil and usually flower non-stop from their second year on. Mums can't be beaten for late summer and fall color. Pinching off the tops in early summer will encourage lush growth.
  • Columbine - they form graceful clumps of foliage that send up slender, upright flower stalks. Bi-colored flowers appear atop these tall stalks in late spring and early summer and come in pinks, blues, yellows, purples, and more. Canadian columbine is especially hardy to New England regions.
  • Coreopsis - they sport long lasting yellow flowers and thrive in full sun. Deadhead the spent blossoms to keep them blooming all summer. After they are established they can be divided and transplanted to another area. Coreopsis often bloom the first year, most perennials don't bloom until their second year.
  • Dianthus - belongs to the perennial group that includes carnations, pinks, and Sweet William. They bloom in the spring and summer and come in shades of white, pink, red, and yellow with grassy foliage. Short lived as perennials go, they should be dug up and divided after three years.
  • Foxglove - blooms from late spring through the summer, be sure to choose the perennial varieties. Available in purple, yellow, rose, rusty red, or white flowers. The older traditional foxglove is biennial, blooming every other year. Yellow Foxglove naturalizes and spreads.