(ARA) - With so many plant choices, picking the perfect plants that will thrive in your garden can seem overwhelming - even for experienced gardeners. Rather than randomly buying plants that are attractive in the displays and hoping they'll live once you get them home, there's a smarter way to shop.
Check out these tips from the experts to make plant selection easy, fail-proof and fun:
Talk to your friends and neighbors for suggestions. Look through garden magazines and visit online for ideas on what's new and tried-and-true.
With one click in the comfort of your own home, you can browse beautiful images, plant descriptions and info to help you choose the right plants for your needs. Plus, there are tips for designing gardens, creating container gardens, using indoor plants and learning which plants work well together.
Sketch a garden plan.
Look at your home's architectural features and landscaping. "Start with the 'bones' of your home and landscape -- they'll make your yard look good all year long," says Justin Hancock, senior garden editor at BHG.com, the Better Homes and Gardens online magazine.
What kind of garden do you want, formal or informal? Decide if you want edibles, annuals or perennials in a garden or containers filled with herbs, veggies and perennials. And don't forget the indoors. Include houseplants to change the look of your home; it's easy and economical.
Sketch what you want to plant -- and where.
"No matter what you want to grow, gardening success starts with a good design plan," says Bobbie Schwartz, president of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (apld.org). "Photograph your home and landscape, print out the photos, lay tracing paper on top and then sketch out your ideas."
Schwartz suggests not worrying about specific plant varieties. "You can fill in those later. Begin by deciding on features such as shape, color, and height texture and bloom time."
After you have a general idea what you want, you can start having fun by picking out the plants.
Create a shopping list
"Come up with a list of plants suitable for your garden conditions," advises Hancock. "Hostas may come to mind, but if your yard is a deer magnet, coral bells are a better choice."
Educate yourself on exactly what works best in your garden before you go shopping. Learn the plant's water, sun and care requirements. Is it deer-proof, drought tolerant, or low maintenance? Answering these questions can be a garden saver.