Choosing Plants With a Purpose in Landscape Design in Fitchburg, WI

Choosing the right plants for your landscape design—whether you’re starting from scratch in a new development or updating your landscape—will make all the difference in terms of your enjoyment of the space. While this can feel like an overwhelming prospect at first, it’ll be made easier with these tips on choosing plants with a purpose in Fitchburg, WI.

Just like any element of landscape design, start with the intended use of the space. Do you want a comfortable place to hang out with family and friends? A private and serene getaway? A place for backyard games? A lush garden where you can putter to your heart’s content? The possibilities are endless.

Here are some useful plant functions to consider:


Choosing Plants With a Purpose in Landscape Design in Fitchburg, WI

This is the biggest reason people choose specific tree species. Planted strategically, trees provide a delightful place to relax. They also aid in reducing your cooling bills. If you want only seasonal shade, plant more deciduous (leafy) trees on the south and west sides of the home. If you want trees to act as more of a permanent privacy screen and windbreak, choose conical evergreens such as spruces, but plant them some distance away from the home, as they won’t allow much sunlight to filter through and can make a home feel very dark.

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Soil Stabilization

Ground covers are a wonderful way to stabilize a sloped lot. Many groundcovers also love shade, so they provide a wonderful, virtually maintenance-free way to green up an otherwise erosion-prone slope.

Water Management

Some plants are quite thirsty, so strategically planting them in areas that are prone to surface water movement or collection (natural drainages and low-lying areas) will serve double duty in providing natural beauty as well as soaking up surface water.


You can think of your overall landscape as one or a series of outdoor rooms. Plants on the “floor” direct traffic and guide the eye, such as low succulents along a walkway leading into a lush “carpet” of lawn. Plants on the walls guide the eye a bit further into the landscape: lilacs, dogwood, taller perennials, and evergreen shrubs are the “pictures” that hang on the walls, and just like walls, they can provide a sense of privacy and enclosure. And, of course, trees define the ceiling. You can opt for a lush canopy of green, or intersperse the canopy with “skylights” of blue sky between the trees.

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Special Functions

Plants can be used to highlight architectural features of your home, such as an entryway. Or, they can be used to soften the angular look of a foundation or retaining wall and help manmade structures blend into the landscape.


Seasonal color and year-round interest are also key features to look for when choosing plants. It can be best to mix things up: Some annuals for a pop of cheerful color, perennials with foliage that livens up the landscape in fall, and a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs for a much-needed bit of green in the bleak winter months.

Edible Delights

Fruit trees and fruit shrubs (raspberries and blueberries) are favorites not only for people but for local wildlife. A helpful rule to go by is “don’t fight the site”—in other words, choose plants that will thrive in a specific location. Your yard is actually a series of micro-climates depending on the exposure, wind direction, amount of sunlight, and water each area receives, so keep that in mind when your landscape is being designed.