Picking a Plant


How to Solve a Landscape Problem

– excerpt from the 1930 Boyd Nursery Company catalog

Every home owner has, at some time, a landscape problem to solve. Every year, right in the busy shipping season, we are besieged by hundreds of letters requesting advice and landscape assistance in developing planting problems. Being nurserymen, growers of quality nursery stock, and not landscape architects, we are not equipped to prepare individual landscape planting plans.
Abelia grandiflora and Viburnum plicatum
Most of these demands come when we are digging and shipping stock and working overtime in order to ship our orders on time. We enjoy giving service and filling all orders promptly, when customers want the stock, so they can be promptly and carefully planted.

We are sure you want your home grounds to be inviting, pleasing and attractive in appearance. A place in which you will enjoy living and to which you will be proud to bring your friends. Only by an attractive and harmonious planting of properly placed ornamental trees, flowering shrubs and evergreens can the exterior of your home assume the aspect, which you wish it to have. The well known slogan “It’s Not a Home Until It’s Planted” has a marked significance here in the South, because in our favorable climate it is extremely easy to provide a wealth of green foliage and beautiful flowers.

With that said, there are several general tips we are prepared to offer when designing a planting plan for your home or commercial landscape. These suggestions are in no way the end all-be all, but are simply some common practices used by both professional and amateur landscape designers. Please feel free to contact us for additional help when considering proposed candidates for foundation planting or other plant landscaping concerns.

> Always make an effort to consider coloration, bloom times, deciduous or evergreen nature, growth habits, soil and sun requirements, and any disease or pest concerns when choosing the plants for your landscape design. Try to keep in mind when certain plants bloom, produce colorful seed, or display fall color so that your landscape can always have a beautiful focal point during all seasons of the year. Also, be mindful of when certain plants produce the most clutter and try to design your plan to adequately account for any maintenance or access concerns.

Japanese Snowball

Keep bloom times in mind when planning your landscape. Aim for a “parade of colors” through every season!

> As you choose plants for the sides of your foundation landscape, a good rule of thumb is to select a gradually decreasing height of plant, creating a multiple level visual effect around the exterior of your home.


Notice how smaller plants appear in the foreground and larger plants in the background. Always aim for a multiple level effect when landscape designing.

> When considering a foundation plant layout, remember that slow growing shrubs and trees with a low or short growth habit can make ideal corner foundation plants. Visually anchoring the edges of your landscape, larger corner plants are often used to obscure the “harsh” vertical lines of building corners.

corner plant foundation

Larger corner plants can help obscure “harsh” vertical lines along the foundation.


Sometimes larger corners deserve larger plants. Just keep in mind that larger plants need more distance away from the foundation.

> In conjunction with the above point, large “sweeping curves” are also recommended when considering how to design any lawn edging or mulching. This rule of thumb is also used when proposing any landscape designs to be implemented throughout the lawn itself.


Sweeping Curves help eliminate boring straight lines and give landscape designs more character.


Landscape curves can further accent sidewalks as well!

> IMPORTANT: Always make proper considerations of growth habit and rate when determining the distance a plant should be placed away from the foundation! Imagine the plant at full size and plan accordingly!

> IMPORTANT: When choosing mulch colors and types, be especially careful of mulches that may attract termites near your home foundation.

A Helpful Service…

What shall I plant? – by the former Princeton Nurseries of New Jersey

To assist in the proper selection of plant material for various conditions, uses and requirements, and to easily classify plants as to fruit, colors, and other characteristics, we refer you to the following lists in pdf format.

Species and cultivar groups (spp. & cvs.) shown with * symbol may include both native and non-native species. (For a very detailed and comprehensive listing of plants by size, hardiness, cultural requirements and function, see: Landscape Plants For Eastern North America, by Harrison L. Flint, PhD., of Purdue University. © 1983, a Wiley-Interscience publication.)


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