Now that you have tested your soil, you have a much better idea of which types of plants and soil amendment to purchase. But, where in the yard do you plant them? This is where a planting plan comes in handy.
First, you need to get to know your yard. This is especially true if you’re a new homeowner. Spend time in your yard — as much time as you’re able to — and pay attention to the following: which areas receive full sunlight, which areas receive partial shade (morning sun and afternoon shade and vice versa), which areas are mostly shady, and the areas that are exposed to wind.
Do you have a concrete driveway or an existing garden bed directly underneath a window? Or do you plan on building a garden bed in either of those areas? If so, keep in mind that windows reflect light and concrete absorbs heat which explains why areas closest to windows and concrete driveways are the warmest, especially during the summer months. For these areas, you will want to plant hardy perennials that are both heat and drought tolerant. Conversely, frost tends to settle in shady areas sooner than in sunny areas and lingers longer in those areas.
Once you have spent enough time in your yard, you will have an even better idea of which plants to purchase. When it comes to planting, group plants according to their species, hardiness, light, and soil requirements. For example, plant lavender with sage, stone crop sedum, and yarrow in areas of your yard that receive direct sunlight for more than six hours a day (*I will be writing more in depth on this topic in a later post). Choose native plants as they are already well adapted to your region and hardiness zone, so they will thrive in almost any type of soil conditions. This is a perfect choice for a low-maintenance garden! To maximize colour in your yard, plant plants that flower at different times of the year. For variety, include early spring blooming hyacinths and tulips with late spring and summer blooming hydrangeas, peonies, dahlias, and fall blooming stone crop sedums and chrysanthemums. If you live within hardiness zones 5 – 9, you can also include winter heather (Ericaceae) to add colour in the bleak, winter months.
If you are planting trees or shrubs that require a depth of more than two feet, make sure to locate property lines, utility lines, and septic drain field (if you have one) before you begin digging. The last thing you need is a ruptured utility line or angry neighbour. The cost spent on hiring a local land surveyor will be well worth it as it could save you potential thousands of dollars in damage or fines for digging in the wrong location.