Have you been dreaming up the perfect outdoor space here in Northern Michigan? Maybe it includes a firepit to extend your time outdoors or an outdoor kitchen to up your cooking game. Even a simple patio can transform your backyard and get your family and friends outdoors this summer.

But hardscaping elements like patios, firepits, and kitchens fall flat without one very important addition: plants! A balanced and well-rounded landscape that truly delivers peace and beauty goes beyond just hardscape materials.

At the heart of every picturesque landscape is a carefully curated selection of plantings that brings the space to life, providing beauty, functionality, and a connection to nature. Let’s explore why plantings are so important and how to select the right plants for your outdoor space.

How to Choose the Right Plants for Your Landscape

There are truly hundreds of thousands of plant selection options for your Northern Michigan landscape, so where do you begin when trying to select the right ones? A landscape designer or architect can help by providing suggestions for plants that grow best in our area as well as plants to avoid that are invasive and dangerous to the environment.

annual flowers near retaining wall with garden

Use these tips to help select the right plants for your property:

Think About Maintenance

No matter what type of planting you pick for your outdoor space, it will likely need some sort of maintenance. It is important to be realistic about the level of work you are willing to put in to maintain your garden. Some plantings require frequent pruning or fertilization, whereas others simply need cutbacks at the end of the season.

circular driveway with island filled with plantings

Low-maintenance plants, such as native species or drought-tolerant varieties can save you time and effort in the long run. Selecting plants that are well-suited to your soil type and water availability will contribute to a healthier and more sustainable landscape as well. Be realistic about your commitment to ongoing maintenance and communicate that to your landscape designer during the design process so that your choices align with both your preferences and capabilities.

Many high-end landscaping firms do offer horticulture (plant care) services for their design-build clients, so if you have higher maintenance plants in mind, you can contract their services to ensure the plants are well taken care of.

plantings flowers and stone in landscape bed

Plant for Seasonal Interest

A well-designed landscape offers visual interest throughout the year, especially here in Northern Michigan. Our long, and often gray winters leave most homeowners yearning for some beauty all year long. Plan for seasonal changes by selecting plants that bloom or exhibit vibrant foliage during different times of the year. Consider spring-flowering bulbs or summer perennials to add additional colors and textures during the growing months. Add plants with unique textures or blooms that can be left through the cold months to add winter interest.

hydrangeas and annuals near entrance of home

Right Plant, Right Place

Plantings on your property represent a significant investment. In order to protect that investment, consult with experts who can help you decide which plants will thrive at your property and exactly where to place those plants. Putting the right plant in the right place means a full and beautiful garden!

Plants can serve purpose and functionality beyond just beauty at your home as well. Looking for more privacy at your home for example? The right plantings can form a green wall to block out neighbors or even a view that isn’t so pretty.

evergreen plantings and hostas near driveway for privacy

Don’t Forget about Your Budget

Landscaping projects can vary widely in cost, so it is essential to establish and stick firm to your budget early on. Sometimes plantings are left last on the list, which can impact the beauty of your landscape in the end. Be sure to communicate your budget clearly with your landscape designer and ask them to leave a chunk of your budget for plantings. Even the most beautiful hardscape project will end up looking drab and boring without the visual interest plantings bring.

If you are looking to save money over time, choosing perennials, plants that come back year after year is a great option.

grass and walkway with several garden landscape beds

Choose Plantings that You Love

Selecting the right plantings for your landscape is a thoughtful and creative process that involves considering various factors from climate and function to design and budget. By taking the time to understand your specific needs and the unique characteristics of your property, you can create a harmonious and beautiful outdoor space that enhances your lifestyle and connects you to nature.

Our final tip is simple. Choose plantings that you love. Take a trip to a local garden store in the summer months and look around. Many landscaping firms have a display area where you can see a variety of plantings as well. If you find a plant you absolutely love, be sure to ask your designer to include it, even if it doesn’t fit in perfectly to the design aesthetic. It will be something you look forward to each growing season if it is a planting you love.

So whether you are embarking on a large-scale landscape design project or making small changes to your landscape garden beds, the careful selection of plantings will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in transforming your outdoor area into your dream space.

Ready to start designing your landscape located in Grand Traverse or Leelanau County, MI? Start by filling out our contact form. Then meet with our experts, create a plan for your property, and get ready to sit back, relax and enjoy your beautiful home.  

Get started today with a consultation!

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