Landscaping 101: The Many Benefits of Landscaping, Plus 7 Plants To Get You Started

If you’re wondering whether or not you should invest in your landscaping this year, the answer is a resounding yes.

Landscaping has been proven to have a myriad of benefits, ranging from raising the value of your home to improving local air and water quality and even bettering your own personal well-being.

Keep reading for a more detailed explanation of these benefits and how to start landscaping your own yard today!

What is landscaping?

Landscaping is the art of designing outdoor spaces, incorporating features such as ornamental plants, trees, and shrubs.

Gardening and landscaping are often used interchangeably, but the two words actually have slightly different connotations. Gardening implies the care of individual plants or a designated growing area, while landscaping encompasses the maintenance of an entire yard, patio, or property.

The act of landscaping is to improve a space by changing it. This is commonly done by adding new plants, removing old ones, or perhaps transforming an outside space to be more beautiful or accommodating.

You can hire a landscaping crew to do the work for you, but if you’re looking for a project this year, you can easily do your own landscaping. The hardest part of landscaping is designing the space and picking out the perfect plants to fill it out. After that, the planting is easy! 

What are the benefits of landscaping?

The benefits of landscaping are many, and are both environmental and personal.

  • Protection of soil and water

Trees, shrubs, and perennials help prevent soil erosion by anchoring the soil in the ground. More soil means that the ground is better able to capture surface water runoff, filtering water before it has a chance to enter the public water supply.

  • Improved air quality

It is common knowledge that plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen back into it. But how big of a deal is this exchange? According to research by the Arbor Day Foundation, a fully-grown tree can remove more than 48 pounds of carbon from the air in a single year!

  • Reduced energy usage

Cornell University Cooperative Extension Rockland County published research with the claim, “well-planned landscaping for energy efficiency can reduce heating and cooling costs by 10 to 30 percent.” Trees and taller shrubs, especially when planted on the south and west sides of a home, cast enough shade to significantly lower the home's temperatures.

  • Aesthetic

One of the most obvious benefits of landscaping is the beautification of any natural space. Landscaping can help you create a gorgeous, tranquil environment to enjoy nature and make your outdoor space more inviting.

  • Increased property value

Landscaping is known to raise the value of a home or a property, depending on the market and where you live.

  • Noise blockers

Having vegetation, especially shrubs and trees, can drastically reduce the noise of nearby roads and machinery.

  • Privacy screen

Mature hedges can serve as a natural privacy screen, protecting your home and your family from unwanted attention.

  • Exercise and sunlight

Physical exercise and sunlight are two things everyone’s bodies desperately need, and what better way to get that than by spending some time at home, beautifying your space?

  • Improved mental health

Green spaces are directly correlated with an improvement in mental and physical well-being. Studies have found that just looking at plants is able to minimize the body’s stress responses, including lowering blood pressure. Plants are also known to ground us in the present moment, reducing anxiety and restlessness.

Overall, landscaping your space with plants directly improves quality of life by adding value to the property and to your experience with nature. Spending time in green spaces lowers stress levels, boosts moods, and creates a safer environment for us all to live and work in.

What do landscapes include?

Landscapes can include anything you want them to. Most people opt for a mix of trees, flowering shrubs, perennials, groundcovers, and grasses, but your landscape can be optimized for your wants and needs.

Plants aside, landscaped gardens often contain other structures as well, including water features like bird baths or pools, fences and walkways, arbors and benches, and maybe even a fire pit or a stone sculpture.

The beauty of the landscaping is that it’s personal. You get to choose what plants you like and add the structures to your landscape that you will use and enjoy. 

Landscaping starter pack: 7 essential plants

As we said, landscaping is not one-size-fits-all, however; we do think that the following perennials and shrubs provide a good backbone for your landscaping pursuits.

  1. Azalea
  2. What’s a Southern garden without an azalea or two (or three or four)? These evergreen shrubs are particularly well-suited to the Southeast and come in nearly every imaginable color. Azaleas are easy to maintain once established, and these hardy plants have few problems with disease or pests.

  3. Fern
  4. No, ferns aren’t the most eye-catching of plants—but sometimes you need something hardy and reliable. Ferns are easy to grow and they thrive in shady areas, so they’re perfect for plugging holes in the garden that are cast in shadow for a good portion of the day. Plus, they spread quickly.

  5. Rose
  6. This one is a no-brainer. A rosebush can easily elevate your garden to an elegant landscape. Imagine the sweet scent of rose petals wafting through your window on a summer morning. You walk out your front door and cut a few stems to put in a vase on your kitchen table. We’re sold.

  7. Spirea
  8. As lovely as roses but not as popular, spirea will surely bring pollinators to your landscape. Bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds will flock to your yard for a sweet nectar snack as spring turns to summer.

  9. Hydrangea
  10. We’re obsessed with hydrangeas (who isn’t?) because the blooms look gorgeous on the plant, and the dried flowers hold their color so well.

  11. Hosta
  12. Of course, hostas had to make the list. Foliage plants provide essential contrast to flowering shrubs, especially hosta varieties that boast variegated foliage and lovely lilac blooms. Hostas are another shade-loving plant with minimal water needs, so maintaining them from year to year is easy.

  13. Boxwood
  14. Boxwoods are excellent border plants, marking clear boundaries between your garden and the outside world or between different sections of your landscape. Their glossy green foliage looks fresh year-round and is easy to prune. Plant a few boxwoods, and you’ll probably notice a lot more bird activity in your landscape!

Landscaping with native plants 

Landscaping with native plants has even more benefits, including housing and feeding your local pollinator population. Growing native plants is a great way to re-establish plants that might be threatened or endangered in their natural habitat. Plus, native plants provide a habitat for beneficial insects and predators that may protect your garden from pest infestations.

Native plants should be easy to find in your area. At GoBuyPlants, we have an entire section of Southeastern Natives that are ideal for growing as far north as Virginia and as far west as Arkansas.

Plants native to your area will adapt well to your climate, soil, and prominent weather patterns: they’re so easy to grow!  

In summary

No matter the size or shape of your outdoor space, landscaping can have a positive impact and add value to your home. Whether you’re looking for beauty, privacy, or just to improve the air quality, landscaping can take your yard from average to extraordinary. With the addition of native plants, perennials, and shrubs, your landscape will be a work of art and an environmental benefit for your area.

Ready to start your landscape journey? Shop now.