01 of 15
Fall Foliage Trees, Such as Red Maple
Each plant appearing in this gallery is used as a representative for the whole group of plants to which it belongs and acts as a gateway to the latter. The red maple tree (Acer rubrum) is an apt "index" to the various other types of fall foliage trees since its colorful leaves may be more widely valued in autumn than those on any other tree. Homeowners are best off growing the Autumn Blaze cultivar: Acer x freemanii (Jeffersred) Autumn Blaze.Continue to 2 of 15 below.
02 of 15
Flowering Trees, Including Weeping Trees
Flowering trees, such as the weeping Higan cherry tree (Prunus subhirtella Pendula), light up the spring landscape. The great thing about such weeping trees is that, in addition to being flowering trees and offering wonderful blooming displays, they also exhibit a plant form that is sure to draw attention, even when the tree is not blooming.
Weeping trees are not the only flowering trees that make major landscaping contributions during seasons of the year other than spring. Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), for example, has colorful berries in fall.Continue to 3 of 15 below.
03 of 15
Evergreen Trees, Such as Dwarf Alberta Spruce
In the North, evergreen trees are an indispensable part of the winter landscape. A few of your choices in evergreen trees are:Continue to 4 of 15 below.
04 of 15
Fall Foliage Shrubs, Such as Sumac
If you live in eastern North America, you may take sumac shrubs for granted because they grow wild there. But take an objective look at sumac shrubs this fall, and ask yourself if there are any other shrubs that have fall foliage to match them. Other than burning bush shrubs (Euonymus alata), there are not many.
For those in eastern North America who wish to avoid planting burning bush shrubs because they are alien invasive plants, sumac shrubs may be your best option. Sumac shrubs are aggressive, too, but at least they are native.
There are different types of sumac. One of the showiest is the staghorn (Rhus typhina).Continue to 5 of 15 below.
05 of 15
Flowering Shrubs, Such as Bluebeard
Bluebeard (common name for the sub-shrub, Caryopteris) begins to put out blooms in late summer and continues to bloom into autumn. The blooms of bluebeard attract butterflies and bees. Other flowering shrubs furnish outstanding fall foliage and/or bear berries that attract wild birds. Of course, many flowering shrubs are best known for the beauty they bring to the spring landscape, such as that erstwhile harbinger of spring, the Forsythia shrub.
Other choice flowering shrubs include:Continue to 6 of 15 below.
06 of 15
Evergreen Shrubs, Such as Holly
Evergreen shrubs are divided into two categories, needle-bearing evergreens and broadleaf evergreens. Non-gardeners usually think only of the needle-bearing types when they hear the word, "evergreen," such as the shrubs often used in foundation plantings and in hedges.
But gardeners are well aware of the contributions to the landscape made by the broadleaf types, which include such mainstays as holly (Ilex spp.) and Rhododendron (the latter is not only an evergreen shrub but also a flowering shrub).Continue to 7 of 15 below.
07 of 15
Vines, Such as Wisteria
The vines are perhaps the most versatile category of landscape plants.
Some kinds of vine plants climb and are used for such purposes as covering arbors and disguising chain-link fences. Others, because they crawl on their bellies, also fall into the "ground cover" category. Some are prized mainly for their flowers (as is the Wisteria vine), while others are valued for their foliage (such as Vinca vines, although Vinca, too, produces a flower).Continue to 8 of 15 below.
08 of 15
Ground Covers, Such as Creeping Phlox
Ground covers are often thought of as serving a particular practical function, primarily. For instance, ground covers may be installed in an area specifically to control erosion there, or to suppress weeds.
But, sometimes, you get a bonus with ground covers: They can provide beauty, too. In spring, creeping phlox plants (Phlox subulata) produce small flowers in dense clusters. If massed together, creeping phlox plants and other flowering ground covers make a powerful visual statement.Continue to 9 of 15 below.
09 of 15
Perennials, Such as Coreopsis
A popular perennial for sunny areas in a yard, Moonbeam coreopsis plants (Coreopsis verticillata Moonbeam) bear daisy-like flowers and can take quite a bit of heat.
There are other perennial plants that do not care much for direct sun. But that is okay with gardeners because a good shade plant can sometimes be harder to find than a sun-loving variety. An example of a perennial plant grown in shade gardens is bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis).Continue to 10 of 15 below.
10 of 15
Bulb Plants, Such as Snowdrops
You plant a bulb in the ground and, months later, greenery springs up from your buried treasure. Such is the magic of this category of plants. Spring flowering bulbs include one of the earliest flowers to show itself in Northern gardens, snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis).
But while talk of "bulb plants" most readily calls to mind such early spring flowering bulbs, not all bulb plants flower so early. For instance, Stella de Oro daylilies (Hemerocallis Stella de Oro) bloom in late spring and well into summer.Continue to 11 of 15 below.
11 of 15
Annuals, Such as Ageratum
Annuals are somewhat despised by "serious gardeners," who prefer perennials. But if you are landscaping for "curb appeal," for instance, there may be a place in your plantings for annuals. Annuals provide color for long stretches of time, and they do so immediately. Most people buy annuals from nurseries and garden centers, where they are typically sold in-bloom.Continue to 12 of 15 below.
12 of 15
Ornamental Grasses, Such as Maiden Grass
Ornamental grass is one of the best examples of a low-maintenance plant. If there is a small nuisance area on your property that you would rather not have to mow anymore, consider replacing the lawn grass there with a combination of ornamental grass and mulch. Maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) is one of the showier kinds.
Some plants that are not even technically ornamental grasses are grouped with the ornamental grasses because they are used in a similar way. One is lilyturf (Liriope spicata). Lilyturf is deer-resistant and provides colorful flowers in addition to nice foliage.
It is just the opposite with bamboo (such as Fargesia spp.). Bamboo is not usually thought of as an "ornamental grass," but bamboo plants are, in fact, in the grass family.Continue to 13 of 15 below.
13 of 15
Herbs, Such as Lavender Plants
Perhaps you associate the word, "herbs," with cooking. But don't neglect to consider herb plants when searching for options in landscape design. Herb plants can be useful in achieving a certain "look" in a landscape, including particular color schemes.
Like many herbs, lavender (Lavandula spp.) has multiple selling points. Not only is the live plant pretty, but you can dry it to create fragrant potpourris.Continue to 14 of 15 below.
14 of 15
Tropicals, Such as Elephant Ears
You can enjoy the beauty of tropical plants in your landscape even if you live in a region with cold winters. It's just a bit more work, that's all.
Elephant ears (Colocasia esculenta), for instance, is a tuberous bulb plant grown as a foliage plant. Northern gardeners can dig up the bulbs before winter arrives and store them away till spring. Alternatively, treat them as if they were annuals and replace them each year.Continue to 15 of 15 below.
15 of 15
Weeds, Such as Poison Ivy
Not all plants are necessarily desirable; you may also want some help in identifying plants to eradicate (or avoid) while doing yard work. Weed plants are a fact of life in gardening. Some are just a nuisance; others are downright noxious, such as:
Obtain a positive identification on any weed before you tackle it, but especially the noxious ones. You should be studying pictures of the leaves, seed heads, etc. of weeds to become intimately familiar with what they look like. And before eradicating them, you might want to consider the famous definition of the great American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson: "What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered..." [Emerson, Fortune of the Republic, 1878, p.3].
Of course, "virtue" is subjective, so you'll have to make the decision yourself for any given weed. Some gardeners are more lenient with them than others. Some weeds are easier to like than others, such as wild violets (Viola spp.).