In Illinois, which is where Medina Lawncare is located, we are in zone 5A. As mentioned in our previous article “landscaping in your zone” a zone is used to determine the plant hardiness. Refer to the USDA plant hardiness zone map.
As you plan your landscape it’s hard to know where to begin. Keep in mind that in our zone 5 we can select a variety of perennials, broad leaf evergreens which include boxwoods and hollies, evergreens which include pine and spruce and deciduous shrubs for your backdrop, or what we refer to in our industry as the “specimen” plants.
Specimen plants can fill an empty space pretty quickly, so choose these carefully. Know the fullness of size when the plant becomes mature before you plant. Spacing is very important both for the health of the plant and presentation. Specimen plants are excellent for defining a property line, and are most commonly used as a wall also known as a “hedge”. Trees may also be used as part of your landscape. Usually choosing one tree, for a smaller space, can be plenty to draw the eye to the center or focal point of your landscape.
Some of my recommendations for trees which will add color and texture are Japanese Maples, Red maples, beeches, Birches and hornbeams. (link here to foots) These trees can be selected in a variety of sizes and cultivars. For example regarding the Japanese maple, the cultivars include but are not limited to: Lace leaf maple, bloodgood, Oshi-beni and tri color. Each feature unique foliage, form and color, but all enhance the overall appearance of your landscape.
Next, a landscape should include a good show of perennials. It helps reduce the cost year to year of replacing plants as these come back every year as long as they are cared for thru the growing season. We always recommend a spring and fall clean up as this will help minimize the loss of some of these valuable plants.
A few perennials which are easy to find in zone 5 are hostas, ferns, bruneria, heuchera, cone flowers, lilies to name a few. These add color and some fragrance to your garden. Perennials are usually used to add seasonal splashes of color and a variety of height and texture to your landscape.
Not all perennials have flower buds, but not to worry. This is a role for flowers! My favorite part of gardening! Annuals technically do not apply to any zone because they are available “annually” but will die at first frost no matter what zone your in; however, they do make for interesting color and make wonderful and beautiful center pieces especially when arranged in a n attractive container garden. Don’t be afraid to choose brilliant varieties of color and shapes when choosing your annuals.
Draw out your design on paper first, or call an expert to help you create, design and plant as this can be an overwhelming but rewarding experience.