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Many homeowners garden to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. Creating a colorful and unique outdoor space is possible with a variety of ornamental grasses, vines, ground covers, trees and shrubs. Attractive landscaping can also increase the value of residential homes, making it possible to receive a higher price at the time of sale.


Most of us plant trees to add shade or beauty to our yard. However, trees can be a functional part of a landscape setting. When shade trees are properly placed, they can reduce energy bills by as much as 20 percent. Trees can also be used as a border, a wind screen or to block road noise. Oak trees are popular in many residential areas. Pin oak, red oak, willow oak and live oak are some of the most popular varieties. Some other popular trees include sweetgum, dogwood, cypress, maple and sweetgum. If you want more color in your landscape setting consider flowering varieties such as Japanese maple, magnolias, flowering cherries and crabapple trees. When planting trees, be sure to consider the size of the tree at maturity to avoid over-crowding. Pruning your trees in the spring will encourage new growth and keep the tree in the desired shape.

Shrubs And Ornamentals

Shrubs can add personality and color to our yard or garden. These plants have multiple stems and more than one trunk. If you prefer non-flowering shrubs consider boxwood, holly or hawthorn. Flowering shrubs can brighten up your landscape. Hibiscus, plumbago and knock-out roses are excellent choices. Ornamentals such as crape myrtles can be pruned into shrubs or allowed to grow into taller trees.


Annual vines are great for adding color or covering unsightly areas. These plants also add dimension and make small spaces appear more spacious. Vines also add shade and privacy to a home. Vines can be grown in trellis planters, hanging baskets, on walls, window boxes and in flower beds. Certain vines such as night blooming Jasmine, produce a distinctive scent in the evening hours that many people enjoy. Choosing non-toxic vines will attract potential home buyers with children and pets.


There are several ways to increase the efficiency of your landscaping. Choosing plants native to your state is always the best choice, as they are well-adapted to the climate. Native plants are easier to grow and maintain than exotic species. Avoid plants on the invasive species list. These plants can grow at rapid rates and compete with native plants in your landscape setting. Installing an irrigation system is key to watering efficiency. Placing a timer on your system will allow you to control watering time, duration and frequency. Adding a rain sensor will keep the system from watering your lawn when it is not necessary. Placing mulch around your plants will hold in moisture and create a manicured look in your landscape. Avoid using colored mulches that fade quickly. Pine bark nuggets are quite buoyant and float away during periods of heavy rain. Choosing cypress mulch will create a neat, well-manicured look that will not need to be refreshed for a month or two.


Landscaping adds value to your home and makes it more attractive to potential buyers. For best results, choose plants that are easy to maintain. Gardening projects can be fun for homeowners that enjoy do-it-yourself projects. Landscaping contractors are available for homeowners who prefer to hire a professional.

This article was contributed by landscaping experts American Tree Masters who offer Phoenix tree removal.