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How to landscape for your region

Michelle Maffei is a freelance copywriter covering a variety of topics both online and in print, from parenting to beauty and more. Combining her two favorite loves, writing and motherhood, she has found joy in even the most challenging ...

Landscaping designs that last

Before you pull on your gardening gloves and put your ideas for landscaping to work, you'll need to do a little research. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the country can be divided into several basic climatic regions, which means landscape design for your outdoor space is not a one-size-fits-all undertaking. From choosing drought-resistant plants for your soil to attracting the right birds and bugs, discover how to landscape for your region so your yard will thrive.

Pruning veggie garden

1Check temperatures

Since plants flourish in a specific temperature range, check for average temperatures by referencing an agricultural map such as the National Gardening Association's hardiness zone finder or heat zone map. Once you determine your highs and lows, you can easily look at plant label stakes, tree tags or seed packets for tolerance levels and integrate them into your landscaping design.

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2Gauge moisture

The amount of moisture in your soil will determine how much you'll have to water, as well as what types of plants you may want to choose. Drought-resistant plants, such as cacti, can suffocate in moisture-rich soil, while high-wind regions can dry out the soil and kill delicate plants.

Recent weather conditions should also be a factor when measuring up moisture, advises Dennis Stevens, landscape designer. "In California, where [his company, Lindeman/Stevens is] based, it's going to be a really good season to plant a cutting garden -- especially roses -- because of the rains we've had. The ground is swollen with water and natural vegetation is cleaned off."

Moisture should also come into play when it comes to laying out your landscape. Ideas for landscaping that improve drainage, like raising and lowering areas in your yard or planting groundcovers to keep moisture locked into dry soil, can make your dream landscape a reality. Without determining moisture before you break ground, a few months down the road you may find that your hard work planting has turned out to be in vain.

3Assess soil

Determining the type of conditions you're planting in is an important step in landscaping for your region. Poor soils can be made rich with compost, while unstable soils, like those in sandy deserts, require tilling every year. Once you've evaluated the ground you're working with, be sure to adjust the pH rating to optimize soil conditions for your vegetation.

Find out more about soil types >>

4Note animals and bugs in your region

To ensure your revamped landscape continues to prosper, take into account the types of animals and bugs in your region. Attract good bugs, such as butterflies and ladybugs, with vegetation these beneficial bugs love. Then appeal to birds that eat the bad bugs by providing bird houses and bird feeders for your feathered friends. And when wildlife like deer are present in your area, consider deer-resistant plants or flora that wildlife in your region will be less likely to eat.

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Ultimately, taking the time to incorporate these environmental factors into your landscaping design now will mean a lot less work in the future. Choosing regional plants that make sense for where you live will mean your plants survive and thrive, and make maintenance of your landscape much simpler, advises Stevens. Now that you know how to landscape for your region, you can choose a theme and turn your ideas for landscaping into an outdoor makeover that will stand the test of time.

More landscaping tips

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DIY water garden
Shade gardens

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