Choosing plants can be one of the most enjoyable parts of creating a landscape. Though a diversity of plants can be grown locally, putting the right plant in the right location will allow landscapes to thrive.
Begin by finding what is appealing. Take note of plants in this garden or landscapes around town. Look for mature shrubs and trees to see how large they grow. Visit local nurseries to see what is available for the area.
While finding plants, research their growing requirements. Do they need shade or full sun? Will they flower? How much maintenance will they require? Will they eventually grow too large for their intended space? What temperature ranges will they tolerate? How much water will they need?
Temperatures can vary significantly from one side of town to the other. In winter, cooler air settles in lower elevations and along rivers or washes. Plants that are considered marginally hardy for the area are more likely to freeze in such locations.
Be mindful of different “microclimates” in landscapes. Shade created by a home or trees creates cooler spaces that will be better suited to plants that are less heat or drought tolerant.
Conversely, south and west facing walls become very hot. Select drought tolerant plants that can handle the intense reflected heat in these areas.