The first step in landscape design is to analyze the site where you will be planting. Look at the topography of the area, including the slope, drainage, and exposure to sunlight. Consider the soil type and pH level, as well as any existing vegetation or structures that may impact the design.
In Michigan, the soil is generally acidic, with a pH range of 4.5 to 6.5. Some plants thrive in acidic soil, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, and blueberries. However, other plants prefer neutral to alkaline soil, such as lilacs, daylilies, and hostas. Make sure to test the soil before planting and amend it as needed to create the optimal growing conditions for your plants.
Choosing the right plants is crucial for a successful landscape design. Consider the color, texture, form, and size of the plants, as well as their blooming period and maintenance requirements.
In Michigan, there are several plant species that are well-suited for landscaping. These include:
- Trees: Maple, oak, birch, aspen, and dogwood are all popular tree species in Michigan. They provide shade, visual interest, and habitat for wildlife.
- Shrubs: Lilac, hydrangea, spirea, and the native ninebark are excellent choices for flowering shrubs. They add color and texture to the landscape and attract pollinators.
- Perennials: Daylily, hosta, black-eyed Susan, and coneflower are some of the most popular perennial species in Michigan. They bloom from spring to fall and come in a variety of colors and sizes.
- Annuals: Impatiens, petunias, marigolds, and zinnias are popular annuals in Michigan. They add bright pops of color and are easy to care for.
When selecting plants for your landscape, consider their maintenance requirements. Some plants may require more frequent watering, pruning, or fertilization than others. Choose plants that are well-suited to the amount of time and effort you are willing to invest in maintaining them.
Once you have selected your plants, it is essential to consider their placement in the landscape. Think about the plant’s mature size, growth habit, and preferred growing conditions.
In Michigan, it is essential to consider the exposure to sunlight when placing plants. Some plants, such as bleeding heart and hostas, prefer partial shade, while others, such as coneflowers and black-eyed Susans, require full sun. Consider the amount of sunlight your landscape receives throughout the day and choose plants that are well-suited to those conditions.
In addition to sunlight, consider the topography of the area when placing plants. If the area you’re considering planting in is lower than the surrounding areas, it may be prone to flooding. Some plants can handle wet roots while others will fail to survive.