Search the web Search this site

Plant Landscaping Ideas Top

Landscaping Plants

Regardless of where you live, by selecting plants that are from your area, or from an area with the same climate, you eliminate the majority plant plant problems that can occur. We suggest here plant selection ideas that will lead you to a beautiful, maintenance free landscape. We'll use mediterranean and desert landscaping plant guides as case studies, so to speak. However, the general rules for plant selection apply to any climate.

  • Mediterranean Landscaping Plant Guide We characterize a mediterranean climate as one with dry mild temperature summers and cool, but not freezing, very wet winters. It's a two season climate. The mediterranean climates are near large bodies of water, such as the Mediterranean sea, which is the dictator of land climate. The sea or ocean keeps land temperatures from freezing in the winter and from getting too hot in the summer. Although the summers are very dry, many summer days are overcast with fog. Communities closest to the ocean, get a high enough amount of condensation that many native plants thrive under these conditions. On California's north coast, from the Monterey Bay to Del Norte County, the fog supplies enough water to grow some of the tallest trees in the world, called the Coast Redwood tree (Sequoia sempervirens). These magnificent trees can grow to more than 100 meters (300 feet) tall.

    Within the mediterranean climate there are many micro-climates. These are localized climates that deviate from the dominant climate. They are primarily influenced by the topology of the land. Foot hills block the coastal influence from reaching the interior valleys, changing the climate drastically. On a typical July mid-day, you can drive within 1.5 hours from 100 degree F. in Walnut Creek to 60 degrees in San Francisco. If you buy a plant at a nursery in San Francisco during this time and bring it to Walnut Creek, you can almost guarantee the plant will wilt and die. So when choosing plants for the landscape you must be aware of your dominant climate and your micro-climate characteristics.

    Although California's coastal mediterranean climate is influenced by the Pacific Ocean, most fresh water comes from dammed man made lakes and the glaciers of the High Sierra Mountain Range on the eastern edge of the state. With the mild winters and summers, just about any plant can be grown with supplemental water from artificial sources. Agriculture is the largest income producer for California because of this. Periodic droughts of dry winters happen about every seven to fifteen years. They deplete the reservours and put a strain on agriculture. Near the coasts, dry winters can cause salt water intrusion, which makes fields unsuitable for crops.

    Although most wild-lands have been replaced by "modern agriculture", then housing tracts, mediterranean climates supported an abundantly high diversity of plant species. There is an attractive community of native plants that are adapted to every micro-climate. In addition, plant communities in mediterranean climates around the world will do well in your mediterranean climate. The three climate zones where plant material come from that do well in mediterranean climates are Southern Europe, Southern Africa, and Coastal California. The highest diversity of plant species comes from Southern Africa and many have been exported to Southern Europe and Coastal California.

    Being that the mediterranean climate is a two season climate - wet and dry, most native plants go dormant during the stressful dry summer season. They do the most growing in late winter through spring when the rain water has saturated the ground. If this natural culture is maintained in the landscape, the plants maintain a nice compact mound shape that is very attractive. If watered too much in the summer, they will become leggy and more open; needing trimming. It's best to stop or minimize watering of native plants after they are established.

    We're going to suggest a small list of native and mediterranean climate plants for coastal California, then refer you to extensive information on many more plants. We'll break the list down into four categories: south coast, central coast, north coast, and coast inland. Take a look.

  • Desert Landscaping Plant Guide Most deserts are dry as the result of being on the wrong side a mountain range that blocks rains from the oceans (in a rain shadow). Although deserts are very dry, most have one or two rainy periods. Mosts deserts have a summer monsoon season, where short, but strong thunder storms dump large amounts of water to a dry compacted surface of the desert floor. However, because the ground is so dry most of the rain just runs off the top, carrying gravel, sand and silt with it. Very little water penetrates the ground. However, if you could retain a portion of the water that falls on your property during one of these events, you could have all the water you need to support your landscape We call this rain water harvesting.

    Then there is the milder, but longer winter rains. They typically come from the mediterranean - ocean climates. The winter desert rains are usually much softer, slower, and longer. In a wet winter, the rain water gives the ground a really good saturation. If the temperatures were mild, then the desert wild flower display in the spring is spectacular.

    Although deserts are considered to be hot places, many deserts have freezing temperatures. The Great Basin Desert, for example, exhibits winter temperature well below freezing most of the year. It has only a very short hot summer.

    Even though deserts appear to be stark landscapes, the sheer number and diversity of plant species is staggering. In the Southwest USA, there are officially four main deserts. There is the Mojave, Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Great Basin deserts. Each has it's own distinct dominant plant communities, as well as plants that are adapted to micro-climates within the main desert. There are similar analogies on just about every other continent. There are deserts in South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. They all have their own unique plant communities.

    We're going to suggest a list of native desert plants for the four American deserts, then refer you to extensive information on many more plants. We'll break the list down into three categories: wet-warm deserts, dry-warm deserts, and dry-cold deserts. Find out more here.

  • Landscaping With Native Plants Landscaping with native plants is the best solution for having a great looking maintenance free landscape. Native plants typically, can not be found at major retail garden centers. Independent nurseries may carry a few varieties. Your best chance to find native plants would be local colleges, botanical gardens, water authorities, garden clubs, and parks. Many of these facilities and associations have native plant propagation areas for restoration projects in the wild-lands or for demonstration areas in their gardens.

    Invasive grasses and weeds, that have escaped private landscapes, spread throughout the wild-lands surrounding private property. The weed seed germinates very easy during the wet season. When the dry season arrives, fires, caused by lightning, high hot winds (Santa Ana Winds), or arson, happen very easily. Because the dry weeds have filled in the spaces between the native shrubs, the fires spread very quickly, taking the shrubs and trees with them. Government agencies repair the damaged land by contracting with local colleges, native plant nurseries, and botanical gardens to collect and propagate native seed. These local propagating stations typically have sales to the public in the spring and fall.

    So, if you are having trouble finding native plants for landscaping, check your local newspapers for native plant sale announcements. Call your local colleges and botanical gardens. If still no luck, contact the nearest Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the Department of Forestry. They should be able to point you in the right direction.

Page Tags

Plants for Landscaping, Landscaping Flowers, Flower Bed Landscaping Ideas, Landscaping Bushes, Landscaping Plant Guide, Landscaping Trees for Landscaping, Landscaping Under a Tree

Landscaping Ideas Menu

Try Cactus