Landscape You Want

Welcome to our weekly Plant Exchange Blog where we feature plants of the Northern Plains and people who grow them. Now is a good time to think about how we want our outdoor spaces to look for next season. This article appeared in the January 8th “Plant Exchange” of the Yankton Press & Dakotan newspaper.

 Landscape You Want

 When we spend time landscaping the yard, we want a successful outcome. We want to achieve the picture we have of how the yard should look when we are done.

Successful landscaping results come from planning before selecting the first plant, according to Kim Todd who is extension landscape specialist at University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She provided information at the 2015 International Master Gardener Conference held in Council Bluffs, Iowa in September.

A first landscape step is to picture the end result. When you decide what should be included in that picture, it enables you to have your personal stamp on the results. Lack of a plan can result in disconnected changes.

A collection of yard and garden magazine photos is one way to show parts of the landscape you envision. Examples in photos show your intention whether you decide your landscape plan alone or have input from a design professional. If you pursue a reality check on possibility of changes and their costs, it saves time and clarifies the picture. Plans can be modified as needed.

Todd suggests natural and use-related elements to think about in your landscape plan. Some examples of natural elements to consider include amending soil, improving access to light, improving yard runoff or erosion, or adding a wind barrier.

Use-related elements to consider in your landscape plan include examples such as changes to yard entrance and exit, checking views from various windows in your house, and thinking about the impact of changes on neighbors. Additions of walls, walkways, and lights are other use-related elements to consider in the landscape plan.

Other considerations include:

  • Is your space will be formal or informal?
  • Do the size of elements now fit the space? Are they in proportion to other parts of the yard?
  • Do changes enclose the yard as you wanted or open the space as needed?
  • What are the areas for focus and areas to screen?

While so many areas to be considered may seem to get in the way of

progress toward the landscape changes, Todd stresses that by thinking about the areas the landscape plan before you plant, the changes in your yard may be cohesive and more likely fit with what you want.

Photo was taken at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha last September. Keeping plants tidy at the end of the season is a challenge in most yards. Notice the bold swath of lime sweet potato vines as a groundcover with mums. Low to the ground horizontal line of these plants contrasts well with the shrubs and small trees behind. Sidewalk curb adds a clean border as you view the bed. Urn fountain is the crowning touch.


Thanks for your visit to Plant Exchange Blog. Lots of other topics await you, as you see in the right hand column. Please visit again next week.



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