The Right Plant for the Right Location:

Deer eating bushes

Soil - Should be amended as needed, to help to improve porosity, pH, or fertility. Not all plants need fertilizer, while others do.

Allium Blooms

Growth Habit - Particular plants lend themselves to a more formal look (can be regularly clipped or hedged - like yews or boxwoods). Other plants look best when left alone (such as Forsythia bushes). Some plants are better for certain situations. You don't want to have to chop back a bush whose habit is to get huge, when it is under a window. A good example is a 'dwarf' burning bush - it can get eight foot high and wide!

Sun Exposure - What sort of sun does your yard get - sun all day, sun in the afternoon, partial shade throughout the day?

Wind Exposure - Some plants can't take windy situations.

Moisture - Is it an area that is always moist or very dry? Do you have an irrigation system?

Problem Critters - Deer, rabbits, chipmunks, groundhogs, etc.

Waxwing Eating Berry

pH Levels - Our soil is low in pH (alkaline). So certain plants that are native to areas with high pH or acidity and will not do well or eventually die if planted here. Examples of pH sensitive plants are: azalea & holly. And pH can even affect the color of a bloom - like hydrangeas that bloom out east are blue, but here they turn pink!

Pollution - If it is to be planted in an urban area, is it affected by pollution?

Salt - If it is by the driveway or street, will salt damage or kill it?

Insect or Disease Problems - If your area is inundated by Japanese Beetles, then certain plants are candy to them. Or if you only have rotary heads for your irrigation system, roses might be a bad choice as they don't like to be watered overhead (black spot disease).

Microclimates - A protected entry to a house with southwest exposure may change the ambient temperature in the winter or summer, thus making that small area a different zone from the rest of the yard. That area could take more zone-marginal plants.

Client Preferences:

Waxwing Eating Berry

Seasonal Interest - Flowers, fruit, seeds, and leaf or bark color or texture.

Color - Some clients want a cool color scheme, and hate orange and yellow, while others want only warm colors.

Care Level - Is the client a gardener, or do they just want it to look good, with as little care as possible?

Flower Type - Terhaps a daisy flower of any type is disliked.

Allergies - Bees, wasps, tree or plant pollen, grasses, etc.

Scent - Some plants smell wonderful, yet to others this same plant is 'stinky'.

Viceroy Butterfly on Aster

Attracts Wildlife - Songbirds, hummingbirds, butterflies, etc.

Personal Preference - Some clients hate the scratchiness of juniper bushes. Or some plants evoke happy memories or emotions - like Grandma's lilac bushes or peonies. Or the scent of lilies reminds someone else of a funeral.

Pets - If you have a dog, does it eat mulch? Does it lie down on your plants? Is the plant poisonous to it? Or does it like to dig?

Small Children - Kids like to eat berries - are they poisonous?