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Green Garden

Programa de Capacitación para Voluntarios Watershed Masters

Create Interest with Variety

Often, landscaping uses repetition of very few plants in a symmetrical design. While it can be attractive, using a variety of plants adds interest and beauty. It also reduces the possibility of significant plant failure due to disease and/or pests. (Since  many pests and diseases are host specific, if you have only one type of plant an infestation will do a lot more damage than if you have a variety of plants, because they won’t all be susceptible to the pest.)
Having a variety also increases the food and shelter benefits to wildlife such as birds and bees.


The Beauty of Color

Of course, color can make a big difference in art.
The gardener’s color palette is made of plants. Elderberry, viburnum, hebe, fruiting shrubs, Groundcovers, perennials, flowering bulbs, etc. show color in their leaves, their flowers, their fruit, even their bark. 
There are many varieties and colors of plants suited to the different landscape environments. Pay attention to the needs of the plants, but don’t be afraid to try new plants. Remember variety is beautiful and decreases the likelihood of many problems.
You can combine subtle hues with splashes of color, use a lot of bright colors, or coordinate hues of a single color palette in your landscape. 

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When selecting plants, consider the form, color, and texture, as well as light, soil, and moisture requirements.

Season of interest
Spring Summer Fall Winter


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Bloom time
Spring Summer Fall Winter

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From the group of site appropriate plants, choose a
combination plants of
different sizes, shapes, colors, and textures



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The Canopy is the topmost area.

The Understory is made up of

  • High Shrubs

  • Low Shrubs

  • High Plants

  • Low Plants including Ephemeral and Ground Covers

  • Vines

The Root Zone consists of soil, roots, and a variety of organisms necessary to plant and land health

Not only does including a variety of plant heights look better, but it also benefits a greater variety of birds and other beneficial creatures.

Consider both the vertical area (that stretches from your soil to the treetop canopy) as well as the horizontal area (the size of your lot).

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Structural Diversity  -Vertical layering

Vertical layering is an artist technique using multiple layers or mixed borders, such as a tree with varying heights of shrubs and/or ground covers underneath.
Vertical layering increases the variety of plants in an area. That is not only beautiful, but can provide more food for pollinators, wildlife and people and more habitat for beneficial wildlife. It also reduces the amount of maintenance needed for the landscaping.

Keep the soil covered by plants or adding mulch.  It will greatly reduce the amount of water transpiration, soil erosion, and weeds that will germinate in your garden, 

Textural Diversity adds beauty and interest

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Something upright,
              something bold,
something delicate

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Choose a variety of plants, including shrubs, flowers and grasses, to create variety in color, height and texture.


Consider the year-round look of your rain garden – clumping grasses will hold their shape throughout the winter, and many types of shrubs develop striking red branches in the colder months.


Consider your home’s existing landscape, and the landscaping of the surrounding neighborhood.

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If the garden is near the road or easement, keep in mind sight lines and setbacks

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In selecting, vegetation, consideration should be given to height, density, and other growth patterns, visual appearance, anticipated use of the planted area, and other maintenance needs. Dense vegetative cover, long flow path lengths, and low surface slopes provide the most effective vegetated filters.

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