There is quite a bit to consider when choosing the plants and other features you will use. Several factors come into play. First, find out what works best in your climate. The plants you choose must be able to survive your seasons. Your local nursery is a good place to check. Generally, everything they stock will be something you can grow in your region. Also, take into consideration how plants might be affected by environmental conditions, such as the amount of sun and water your yard gets, and the condition of your soil. If your yard is too wet, or if the soil is too sandy, you could have problems bringing your landscape design to fruition.
Use a soil-testing kit to determine if it has enough nitrogen, phosphorous or potassium for your plants to thrive, depending on what you're growing. Nitrogen helps plants have strong stems and healthy leaves. Phosphorous helps flowers and fruit grow well. Potassium makes roots and stems healthy. When it's time to plant, plan on first using fertilizers and organic amendments such as peat moss, compost or manure to ensure a healthy landscape.
If you're planning a flower or vegetable garden, and have planted one before, jot down what worked well previously and what did not.
It may be time to try growing a different variety of plant this year to replace plant types that may not have fared so well the previous garden season. Taking note of which plants worked and which plants didn't is important. Rotating plants in and out every year, or at the very least, moving plants to a different part of the yard or garden will help keep soil healthy. The soil can "wear out" after repeated planting of the same plants in the same location year after year. Changing them out helps the soil replenish necessary minerals.
Many gardeners keep notes or a garden journal to track previous seed or plant purchases, successful and not so successful crops, articles and clippings, planting dates and ideas for their garden. You should do this as well.
Trees are a great addition to any landscape and each time you plant one, you're doing your part to help Mother Earth. Trees improve our environment every day by moderating climate, improving air quality, conserving water and harboring wildlife. The more you can plant around your home, the better. Not only do trees provide summer shade and shield against harsh winds, but they also improve air quality by releasing oxygen and absorbing harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide. Trees also reduce storm runoff and inhibit flooding.
Plant deciduous trees on the south side of your home to provide maximum shade for your landscape during the summer. Plant evergreen trees on the north side to protect your landscape from prevailing winds during the winter.
Way to go! You're on your way to a landscape that looks professionally designed, without paying for the professional designers. You'll also have the satisfaction of knowing you designed it yourself.