Annuals - Herbaceous plants that are not hardy to our Zone 5 winters. They die in the winter and do not come back in the spring unless they self-seed. Annuals generally have brighter colors and bloom longer than perennials.


Perennials - Herbaceous plants that are hardy to our Zone 5 winters and summers and they come back year after year.

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental Grasses - Grow in clumps or as ground cover, that give seasonal interest, texture, and color. They are annual or perennial. We mostly use perennial grasses, unless they are for pots. Ornamental grasses are best planted in the spring or summer.


Bulbs- Spring, summer or fall blooming. Spring blooming bulbs have foliage that generally dies back later in the summer.

Ground Covers- Annuals or perennials that form large mats or colonies.

Deciduous Shrubs

Deciduous Trees or Shrubs - Woody plants that lose their leaves in the winter.

Evergreen Trees or Shrubs - Woody plants that have needles (instead of leaves) that remain over the winter. Some evergreens are deciduous - they lose their needles in the winter (such as bald cypress).

Semi-Evergreen Trees and Shrubs - Woody plants with leaves (such as holly or boxwood) that generally stay green throughout the winter and have leaves instead of needles.

Native Plants

Native Plants - Naturally from this area, and were not imported as people moved west to settle America. Native plants are uniquely adapted to our soil & climate. They have evolved defenses against many local pests & diseases. Non-natives (like Buckthorn, Canadian Thistle & Box Elder) can get too aggressive and become invasive, thus killing off the good native plants. Some non-natives can also be less hardy & more disease-prone. Native plants are self-sustaining, low maintenance (once established), drought & disease tolerant, can attract butterflies and birds, and their root systems can be very deep, breaking through our tough clay soil. This in turn can increase soil porosity.

Edible Plants- Do you want fruit trees or bushes, herbs, or a vegetable garden?

Water Plants - Plants that grow in or near water.

Special Types of Plantings

Rain Garden in Swale

Bioswales & Rain Gardens are 'green' solutions to provide a low-impact way to manage storm water, and they can be a very attractive addition to your landscape. Storm water is becoming a huge problem to municipalities. More and more of our land is paved over, or covered with impervious surfaces. When our lawns are heavy with thatch, the rain water can't soak through the lawn either. Plants used in rain gardens & bioswales need to be tough, able to take conditions ranging from extremely dry to wet, with some periods of standing water. Generally native plants are used, as they have adapted to our clay and droughts by having root systems that go extremely deep, breaking through the clay soil to get to the good soil and water below.

Bio-swales are drainage or detention areas on a property that are planted with water-tolerant plants (and use gravel and soil) that will filter and break down pollutants in the storm water. They have sloped sides that direct the flow of storm water to other areas. The plants also help to control erosion on the sloped sides of the bio-swale.

Rain Gardens are a way to use the storm water that comes out of your downspouts when it rains, or to handle a consistently wet area. Rain Garden plants act as a natural sponge, breaking through our tough clay with their roots, allowing moisture to penetrate deep into the soil. Rain Gardens generally aren't designed to handle heavy rains, but average rainfall.