Landscaping your backyard can be quite a fun and relaxing thing to do. On the other hand, many people see it as a costly investment, which is the main reason why they never get to it in the first place.
However, with proper planning, and some DIY work, you are sure to get a beautiful outdoor space and save a lot of money.
One of the essentials of any backyard is plants, not only because these will improve the aesthetics, but also because of the many environmental benefits that follow.
Of course, a lot of it comes down to choosing the best landscaping plants, which does depend on the area/zone that you are living in, as well as other factors (weather, etc.).
Many gardening articles suggest that it is your best bet to go with the native plants. While there is good reasoning behind this, tropical flowers and shrubs are still an option as long as you ensure the right conditions. The guide on the Ideas 4 Landscaping site is a superb source of information on this.
In order to help you, we have created a list of our favorites. Let’s dive right into it!
Why Have Plants in Your Garden?
The standard answer would be because plants are beautiful and are there to enrich our living spaces. While this is absolutely true, flora plays a much more significant environmental role than this.
First and foremost, plants are quite effective when it comes to cooling down heated areas. This is because most create shade and play a role in evaporating moisture from the soil. Thus, if you are living in Arizona, California, Nevada, or any of the states with high temperatures year-round, native plants could go a long way.
Not only this, but flora also acts as a natural cleansing agent by absorbing pollutants that are present in H2O, and oxygen, and cleaning these out. Additionally, vegetation is there to transform CO2 into O2, through its natural photosynthesis activity.
Along with helping soil evaporate moisture, plants also prevent and reduce the chance of heavy soil erosion. Also, depending on what you have decided to grow, they may yield certain resources, including fiber, oil, fruits, and wood.
Lastly, by planting vegetation in your backyard, you will be creating a peaceful space that you can relax in.
The main idea behind landscaping with plants is that you create a sustainable environment. The opposite would be highlighted by invasive plants that hinder energy efficiency, and require a lot of pesticides and fertilizers. Additionally, an unsustainable landscape asks for increased potable water and doesn’t offer diversity.
For this purpose, you should be trying to choose plants that can grow healthy without as many requirements. That is why native plants seem to work the best, considering that they are adapted to your climate.
Low-Maintenance Landscaping Plants
Our suggestion is that you should check out the Ideas 4 Landscaping website to find creative ideas for your backyard. What we will be doing here is talking about a couple of shrubs, trees, as well as perennials that don’t require as much effort to grow healthily.
Smoke Tree (Tree-Shrub)
If you know a thing or two about shrub trees, then you have probably seen the variation of this one called the Royal Purple. It is highlighted by beautiful smoky purple leaves and seeds.
Depending on the area that you are living in, and your ideas, this plant can be either grown up to 15 feet high or shorter if you want it to be more like a shrub; it grows anywhere from 10 to 12 feet.
Keep in mind that the soil for this tree should be the one that has good drainage and that this plant requires full sun when planted. For this purpose, it is recommended to be grown in areas within Zones 4-8.
Mulching is quite beneficial when it comes to growing a smoke tree. As long as you ensure that it gets adequate sun on a daily basis and that it is adequately watered, you don’t have a lot to worry about.
We understand that there are more than a few of you not really interested in planting trees. This is the reason why we see this shrub variation as one of the best options for landscaping vegetation.
While it comes in a couple of variations, our personal recommendation is Sunjoy Tangelo. Keep in mind that this plant is highlighted by thorns, which is why it can also act as an added security layer around your backyard.
The soil requirements are almost the same as with the smoke tree. The best time to plant this shrub is at the beginning of spring, as it doesn’t require a lot of sun.
Much like the aforementioned plant, this one does best in Zones 4-8, with mulching in the fall being incredibly important for areas that are set in Zone 5 and 6.
You will want to prune the shrub in summer in order to achieve the desired look.
Perennials are among the best options when it comes to landscaping plants. The peony is among the most fragrant flowers that can be planted both in spring and fall.
Keep in mind that this flower can grow anywhere between 30 and 36 inches in height. What it needs is partial/full sun (the latter ensures brighter color), as well as well-drained soil.
Also, we recommend that you use some kind of organic compost to ensure better growth.
This is one of the trees that is quite popular in the US, given the fact that it is native to more than a few areas. It does do best in zones between 5 and 8.
We are talking about a beautiful tree that is highlighted by red-purple leaves, as well as white flowers, and orange-colored fruits. When it comes to how large it grows, it can go anywhere from 25 to 35 feet in height, and the same goes for width.
You should ensure that the soil is properly drained as well as mulched throughout the season, especially for spring and just after the first frost.
Liriope (Ground cover)
If you are looking for the perfect vegetation to border your backyard or act as a ground cover, then Liriope is a superb choice. It thrives in Zones 5-10 and is highlighted by greenish foliage as well as blue-white flowers.
What you should know is that this ground cover doesn’t ask for much and needs mid-fertile soil. Also, it is drought-resistant, which is why we consider it an ideal low maintenance choice.
It can grow up to 24 inches in height and 18 inches in width. Much like the plants mentioned above, it should be mulched appropriately after the first frost. When it comes to pruning, you should do it when brown tips appear
As our last choice is ribbon grass, which is considered to be one of the best vegetation choices for slopes and preventing erosion. It can grow double the height of Liriope and is ideal for almost any area that is set in Zones 4 to 10.
Benefits of Native Landscaping Plants
We did our best to highlight a couple of plants that can do great in most areas and aren’t that needy when it comes to overall maintenance. However, we did mention that you are probably best off growing flora that is native to the region you are living in. This is something that you can consult more about at local nurseries or an agricultural extension office.
It all comes down to whether you are hoping to grow plants that are native to the US, your state, or your region. There are a couple of benefits to whatever you decide.
First, these are sure to thrive in your climate. The reason? Native plants don’t have to evolve and adapt to environments and conditions that feel unnatural. Additionally, you will not have to worry that much about pests, or drought considering that most native plants have developed systems to fight these off.
Also, if you live in a water-scarce area, you will not have to waste as much water because native plants know how to handle drought and aren’t as thirsty. Not to forget, pollution by fertilizers and pesticides is not going to be needed, because you won’t have to deal with destroying weeds.
As mentioned above, native plants thrive mostly on their own. Thus, you will be saving money, time, and be acting environmentally friendly at the same time. Furthermore, these will attract beautiful wildlife, including butterflies and birds that will be making your outdoor space even more enjoyable.
It all comes to the area that you are living in, and what soil type you have in your backyard. Ensuring optimal drainage and climate conditions is the key to growing healthy plants without as much effort.
We did our best to highlight a couple of low-maintenance vegetation options, as well as explain why native plants are a reasonable choice. Now it is your turn to do some further research, get creative, and ensure that your backyard becomes a wonderful area to spend time in.