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How To Choose The Right Outdoor Plant

Choosing the right outdoor plant for your garden can be tricky. There are so many plants to choose from and understanding what will work in your outside space is imperative. Whether you are looking for blooming pot plants that will add a rainbow of colour to your patio or balcony, you need hardy plants that will do well in the shade or want to discover the perfect perennials for low maintenance gardening that will bring you joy year after year, we’ve got you covered.

Choosing outdoor plant

How To Choose The Right Indoor Plant - Our Top Tips

Choosing plants is arguably one of the most important decisions you’ll make when transforming your outdoor space. There are lots of different factors that you’ll need to consider before making your selection. From thinking about how much space you have to play with, to taking into account how much sun your garden gets, and the different soil types and which types of plants will thrive in them, it’s a lot to work out. Of course, that’s before you get started on the particular look and feel you are aiming for too! Planning your planting scheme is really exciting and seeing your vision come to life even more so.

So let’s break it down and look at the different steps to take to ensure you pick a range of stunning plants that will thrive in your particular outdoor space.

Tip 1 - Assess The Size Of Your Space

If you want your plants to flourish, you need to give them room to grow. The majority of plants require a space of their own to root, and if you crown plants too close together (in pots or flower beds), you won’t give them the room they need to bloom and grow as much as they could. So don’t kid yourself about how much space you have and be realistic about what you’ll be able to grow there. Be precise and practical. Get a tape measure to ascertain the size of your plot and use this as the basis for your plan. If you don’t have flowerbeds and plan only on container gardening, consider different pot sizes and how much room they’ll need too.

Once you are clear about how much room you’ve got, taking into account other factors such as seating areas, hard standing, storage and anything else you might want, you’ll be able to plan much more precisely and choose plants that make the most sense for your space.

Tip 2 - Check Your Soil Type

If you plan to plant in flower beds you’ll need to find out what kind of soil type you have.

The different types of soil are as follows:

  • Clay: Clay soil is clumpy and doesn’t allow for good drainage but works well for shrubs and evergreens and some vegetables will succeed in it too.
  • Sandy: Sandy soil is fine and loose and will run easily through your fingers without clumping together in your hand. Sandy soil needs lots of water. Root vegetables work well in sandy soil and tulips will thrive in this soil type too.
  • Silty: Silty solid is a soft soil that holds together when pressed in your hands. Grasses and trees such as Willows love silty soil, as do lots of shrubs. Adding organic matter to sandy soil can help improve the drainage.
  • Peaty: Peaty soil feels spongy to the touch and looks dark compared to other soil types. If you want to grow a veg patch, peaty soil will work well and some shrubs will also be happy in this soil type.
  • Chalky: Chalky soil feels quite gritty to the touch and trees, shrubs and bulbs are comfortable rooting down there.
  • Loamy: Loamy soil is fine and retains moisture well. If you’ve got loamy soil in your garden, you can count your lucky stars as this well-structured soil supports many different varieties of plants and flowers.

Discovering your soil's pH will also determine the types of plants you can grow. pH neutral soil has a value of 7.0 - anything higher is alkaline, anything lower is acid. Garden centres should have kits you can buy to discover the pH of your soil.

Different types of plants will succeed in different soils so check the labels of plants before you buy. It is possible to alter the acidity to the soil in your garden if you have your heart set on a particular plant.

Tip 3 - Consider Aspect And Climate

The direction in which your garden faces can also play a major role in your plant selection. West or east-facing gardens are ideal for gardeners as most plants will be happy with the amount of sunlight they receive. However, if your garden is north-facing or south-facing this could limit your choices and you may need to think more carefully about your selection.

Your location can also affect your plants as the atmosphere is very different for those who live by the sea, for example, compared with those who live in a densely populated urban environment. Thinking in this level of detail can make all the difference and will determine how tough your garden plants may need to be.

Tip 4 - Decide Who Is Welcome In Your Garden

If you have an outdoor space you are likely to have visitors to it, and some may be more welcome than others! Slugs, bugs and snails could destroy certain plants in your garden, but depending on where you are, you might need to think beyond this. Foxes, rabbits and even badgers may come to your garden and could wreak havoc on your careful planning if they decide to make your space their new favourite place to gather. Taking measures to protect plants from unwanted pests is a smart move.

You may also want to think about which animals you’d be pleased to see in your garden. Bees, birds, hedgehogs and other insects appreciate a warm welcome and your planting plans could take this into consideration if you’d like to help certain species feel at home.

Tip 5 - Know Your Shady And Sunny Spots

While some plants are real sun worshippers, others prefer a shadier spot. Work out where the sun hits your garden and which spots it never reaches so you can plan the placement of your plants accordingly. While not many plants can survive in densely shaded spots, some such as vinca, aucuba, ferns and hosta will be happy here and can provide attractive greenery where other plants simply would not grow.

Outdoor Plants For Every Garden!

Bay Tree 2

1. Bay Tree

A Bay Tree is a fantastic outdoor plant that is common in British gardens and has plenty of interest to offer. This evergreen shrub sports attractive dark green leaves and delicate white flowers appear in spring followed by black fruit.

Euonymus 1

2. Euonymus

Euonymus japonicus is also known as the 'Green Spire' is a perfect choice for gardeners opting for a hassle-free outdoor space. With glossy, dark green foliage, this attractive evergreen shrub gives forth small green flowers in the early summer months then delicate orange berries after.

3. Festuca Glauca

Festuca Glauca, another tough evergreen, with pleasing blue-grey foliage, this hardy plant will produce flower spikes in June and July. Another great option for low-maintenance gardeners, the Festuca Glauca needs little attention.

Over to you... Browse Our Outdoor Plant Range Toda

We hope our tips on choosing the right outdoor plant have made it easier to understand the considerations required for great plant planning! If you would like to talk to one of our expert team for more tips or advice, please get in touch with us here - we’d love to hear from you.

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