Part of landscape design is incorporating plants with function. To narrow down options, think about the ways in which you use your yard. Then focus on how to either improve upon what you have, remove what you do not like, or plan an overall redesign.
Think of the outdoors and ways to create separate outdoor rooms. Just like inside your home, the great outdoors has potential for many different kinds of spaces.
For example, creating an outdoor eating area with places to sit in both sun and shade is perfect for entertaining when the weather is pleasant. Strategically planted trees can make that happen.
As when you have guests inside your home, think about alternative seating so company can mingle, sit, and talk in different places outside. Casual benches or seatwalls built in place should be strategically placed so people can face each other and chat. Separate areas by incorporating shrubs or a trellis with vines.
Don't forget an outdoor room for Fido. Dog play areas can be one way to keep your pet out of flower and vegetable beds. Enclose a space with fencing and a gate. Provide a patch of grass for rolling, a sand box for the inevitable digging, and a non-tipsy water bowl.
Start a vegetable garden or plant edible landscape plants
Do you know if something should happen to our food sources or transportation system, grocery shelves would be empty within just a few days? Consider planting a vegetable garden to provide your family with a back-up source of food. Plant enough to freeze or can food for later use. Have it close enough to the house to make harvesting convenient; but not too close as off-season gardens can be unattractive.
Or, incorporate vegetable plants or fruit trees into your landscaping. Just remember vegetables need a minimum of six hours of sun per day.
Plant for wildlife
Do you feed birds with store-bought seed? A better option is to incorporate plants into your landscaping that produce seeds and fruits birds love. Plants native to your area will attract native birds, but adding a few plants to attract migratory birds adds interest both in design and the different kinds of visiting birds.
A good landscape design goes beyond planting certain plants in specific places. If you feel overwhelmed, hiring a design professional is money well spent to get you on track.
Linda is a landscape architect and certified arborist in southern Arizona. With over 20 years experience in landscape design, she also has a passion for all plants and gardening. As a freelance writer for a number of websites, she has produced hundreds of articles on plants, plant care, and design.