Our design philosophy is to plant the right plant in the right place to reduce maintenance and contribute to a successful, long-lasting landscape. We design new, renovate, or work with existing landscapes to create a balanced whole. This year design requests have been for front and side yards, whole backyards and planting around patios to soften edges and bring color up front.

Perimeter Screening

Tanya Howard, Landscape Designer for The Growing Place, says many people are asking for low maintenance plants and perimeter screening. Why? Let’s face it. We lead busy lives. Once home, we want seclusion, a place to unwind and relax. Many are too tired to do more work, so low maintenance plants are necessary.

“The front porch has moved to the back yard,” says Tanya. “People want screening for privacy with a courtyard feeling.” So what does she suggest? Plants are chosen based on site conditions including light, moisture, proximity to water supply and how often they will be maintained. Arborvitae, dogwoods, lilacs and larger hydrangeas are a few shrub choices for perimeter screening. “A perimeter design is more for screening and a bigger punch of color. I’d use a taller Baptisia or Amsonia, something you can see from far away.” These perennials layered with the shrubs will add texture and color to the yard.

There are many homes with mature trees and owners are adding to their shade gardens. Tired of only looking at hostas? Brunnera, Astilbe, hydrangeas, as well as gold and chartreuse ornamental grasses are great additions to brighten up a shade garden.

Patio Privacy

Landscape Designer Tanya says “To create privacy around a patio, I usually layer and keep it lower to keep the views open. I look at the plants for texture, smell and visual around the patio. I’ll use taller shrubs than perennials in the front.”

Does your area have restrictions on fence heights? Tanya recommends adding a trellis with clematis. Smaller arborvitae or a chokeberry paired with perennials are low maintenance and add year-round interest. Tanya likes perennial butterfly weed/milkweed, rudbeckia, and Joe Pye weed for butterflies. Annuals in a planter always accent the landscape design.

Plants for Pollinators

People have become more aware of pollinators. They want to know what plants to use for butterflies and bees. Tanya plants milkweed and Joe Pye weed in her own yard because her girls enjoy raising monarch butterflies. Monarch eggs are only laid on milkweed. When they hatch into caterpillars, the girls take the milkweed leaves and caterpillars and put them in a mesh net cage to protect them from birds. “We keep putting milkweed leaves in there for them to eat and watch them grow. They crawl up and form a chrysalis right on the net. You have to watch them because once they come out of the chrysalis they are ready to go. They come back to the Joe Pye weed with the bees. We maintain the swamp milkweed because it can become kind of invasive. My kids are 18, 16 and 12 and really enjoy it.”