Spring planting season is in full swing, and as you spruce up your outdoor spaces, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) shares a few important reasons for putting the right plant in the right place. It’s more than selecting full-sun or full-shade varieties of foliage. By choosing the right plants for your climate and lifestyle, and you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful green space your entire family will enjoy.
- Know your climate zone.
Do you have long, hot summers? Are you in an arid region or a wet one? Understanding your environment will help you select climate-appropriate plants that will thrive with minimal input from you. Check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to learn which plants, grasses, shrubs and trees are most likely to succeed in your location.
- Understand your lifestyle needs.
Your grass, flowering plants and trees expand the living space of your home. Without our living landscapes, our backyards, patios, fire pits and pool areas would be hotter and less enjoyable overall. Determine how you use your yard, and then plant accordingly. Do you need a shade tree to sit under during hot summer days? Do you travel a lot in the summer, or will you be home to care for your plants? Do you need a grassy area for your kids and pets to play?
- Plant for pets.
Speaking of pets, you’ll want to keep their needs in mind when you’re mapping out your planting plans. Consider planting a hardy grass like buffalo or Bermuda, which is more likely to withstand pet traffic. When pets are in the picture, you’ll want to keep resilient plants and flowers in heavily-trafficked areas of your yard and save the delicate varieties for raised planters on your porch or patio. Finally, know which plants are dangerous to your pets by downloading the ASPCA’s list of poisonous plants.
- Plant for pollinators & wildlife.
Your living landscapes aren’t only for your enjoyment. They are also vital to pollinators (bees, butterflies and birds) and other backyard wildlife who rely on the certain plants in your backyard ecosystem for food and shelter. Planting nectar and pollen-rich flowers that are appropriate for your climate (see #1) will help nourish pollinators. Let a pile of grass clippings decompose on your lawn (rather than bagging) to shelter insects, worms and other backyard critters. Dead tree branches can create nooks for butterflies, bees, birds and other wildlife.