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Ten Points to Consider When Designing your Landscape

With a great big 'Thank you!" to our friends at Gerten's Landscape design in Inver Grove Heights (, we reprint these 10 general tips to help you make the most of the landscape you have available.


Track patterns of sun and shade in your garden and choose plant materials that are appropriate for your light conditions. Add golds & white to brighten dark areas and use strong colors for "pop" in sun areas. Don't forget to develop shady areas for gathering on hot and sunny days.


Sandy to clay. Dry to moist. let your garden's soil guide your plant selection. Do you need a clay busting cone flower or a drought tolerant barberry? Consider amending your soil to give your plants the best changes of survival.

Zone and Microclimate

Northern Minnesota is on the edge of being Zone 4, and many plants succeed very well. (All plants sold at Beier's Greenhouse will grow here; some are grown as annuals because of the weather.) In some yards with protection, a micro climate is created that lets you get away with some zone 5 plantings. Questions you should ask yourself before thinking about going out of zone 4 plants: Which plants thrive in your zone? Which plants require winter protection? How exposed is your garden to the elements?


How will your space be used? For outdoor entertaining or a child's play area? Do you need to improve drainage, retain a slope, or create some screening? identify your needs for the garden and create spaces that have purpose.

Color and Texture

Think bold and subdued, like Purple Smokebush and Russian Sage, or smoothing and rough, like Cut Leaf Sumac and Pine. Flowers, foliage, bark and hardscape materials will have color and texture. Think about what materials will compliment, create contrasts, and provide seasonal interest.

Scent & Sound

Place fragrant plants near outdoor gathering spaces and near windows to take advantage of the scents. Incorporate the sounds of water, birds, the rustling of leaves or wind chimes to enhance the garden experience and to mask distractions.


Is your garden in a small urban backyard or in a rural field? Can your site accommodate a six foot Hydrangea tree or a sixty foot Catalpa tree?Be sure to use appropriate sized plants and hardscape materials to best enhance the scale of your site.

Personal Style

What has special meaning to you? Cottage flowers, formal hedges, prairie grasses, garden sculptures? Do you require low maintenance natives or formal, sculpted ornamentals? Incorporate your personal style and let others see that this is your garden.


Compliment the style of your home in the garden. Formal architecture fits best with formal landscape, as prairie style fits best with a more informal landscape. try to bring smaller architectural pieces into the garden through arbors, gazebos, decks, patios, fences, and more.


Carry similar plants, colors, textures and themes throughout your garden. Unify separate spaces through repetition. Mass plant instead of trying one of everything. this will make your garden flow from one space to the next.

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