How to choose plants for the garden

How to choose plants for the garden

Garden Design Advice

How do you choose plants and use them in the garden?

For many gardeners how to choose plants for the garden can be quite daunting. How on earth can you work out if the Hellebores will grow well next to your Hebes?  There are two questions you need to ask when choosing a plant for the garden:


So for example, you have a sunny border beside the patio and you are looking for plants to grow in it. First and formost, you need to understand the function the plant has to fulfill. In this case, the job descripton could be as follows;

  • The plant must smell nice as it’s where you sit
  • No spiky and prickly plants
  • It needs to grow upright and not flop onto the patio

So now when you are in a garden centre, it becomes easier to choose the plant, because having seen one you think might be right, (scented, tactile and self-supporting), just check the plant label to see if the plant will behave itself where it’s going to be planted.

Check the size it will grow to, so it won’t outgrow the space or grow too tall. Does the label say may need staking, or phrases like ‘great for naturalising’ ‘easy to propogate’ – both these mean the plant is good at spreading itself about. So maybe it’s not a good plant for next to the patio?

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There is a book  to help, it uses this ‘designing with boxes’ approach to gardening, and includes (which makes gardening even easier) at the back of the book an index of lots of plants listed by the shape they grow in. Meaning once you have worked out which shapes of boxes you need, you can use this book to easily find out what to plant.

I Want to Like my Garden by Rachel McCartain available at Amazon and other online bookstores in eBook and Paperback

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Best 50 plants for beginner gardeners

These aren’t the only plants you can have in your garden, but they are some of the easiest to get started with.

50 good plants beginner gardener list of plants

Plants to avoid – if you’re new to gardening!

Not all plants are worth having in your garden – no matter how pretty they look. So we have compiled a list of plants it’s best to avoid if you are new to gardening, don’t have time to be a dedicated gardener or you don’t have a very big garden. All of these aren’t worth having, as these cause a lot of unnecessary work or are just unpleasant to have around!

plants to avoid if don't like gardening list of plants

I would also add Roses to any list of don’t buy these if you want an easier garden. I know they are lovely and iconic British garden staples. However most of the time, Roses look less than iconic, suffering with black spot and aphids. These are high maintenance plant divas. They will look great only IF you pamper, spray and mollycoddle them. Have a Peony instead!

Visit our shop for loads of great ideas for your garden borders

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