The Native Plant Society of Texas is a Texas not-for-profit conservation organization that promotes the “conservation, research and utilization of the native plants and plant habitats of Texas through education, outreach and example” for Texas landscape design.
How Texas SmartScape™ program help us to have a sustainable landscape design?
Texas SmartScape™ program is helping to promote education on pollution prevention through efficient and, effective water use for the benefit of all citizens and landscape design. A Program of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, Regional Stormwater Management Coordinating Council.
We have simplified the landscape design process and plant selection for you. This table of plants list plants specifically for North Central Texas (Dallas Fort Worth) and West Texas area. As outline by the Texas Smartscape program, these selection of plans have been filtered for you. These plants are native to Texas or Adaptive, which means the grow naturally well here. It is also is great for water conservation.
Like any living things, plants have desireable habitats that they grow well in. On the opposite side, they will probably die if in the wrong environment. These factors are very important: Sun, Water, and Soil. For this table, we will assume that you soil is mixture of Clay, Sand, or Silt or can be amended to these conditions. At this time we have not created a table specifially for Clay, Sand, or Silt type soil that plants grow well in.
Step 1. Determine your Sun Exposure Level.
This is something that is easily determine base on your flower bed location. Depending on the location relative to your house/building you will knowif iit gets Full Sun or Parial or Full Shade.
For example, South side of the house usually gets Full Sun.
- If the bed is on the North side and close to the house, it should get full shade from the house. Of course if its too far from the house it would not get any shade.
- If the flower bed is on the East or West Side of the house it should get Partial Sun. Remember the sun rises in the East and sets on the West.
- Also, keep in mind your neighbors house or fence, they would provide shade also. If your bed is in the ally between both houses it is likely Full Shade.
- Trees also provide shade, like a building determine if your bed’s location relative to the tree
Sun Level specified:
- Full Sun – 6 or more hours of direct sunlight on the plant
- Partial Sun/Shade – 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight on the plant.
- Full Shade – Less than 4 hours of direct sunlight on the plant.
Step 2. Choose your Water Level.
Watering Levels is something you can choose, unlike the sun exposure – you usually don’t add a tree or building to create shade on your flower beds.
If you don’t want to manually water or add irrigation/sprinklers to your yard, you would want to choose Very Low – Low water level. This would be great for native Texas rain levels in the summer. Even if it rains a lot in the spring or fall the plant will be fine as long it is well drained; meaning the bed or area is not moist for too long a time or it does not puddle. You would choose drought tolerant plants for a Xeriscape Landscape maintenance – stay in the Very Low water level Category.
If you don’t mind watering your plants, you can choose Low to Medium water level category plants. At this time we don’t recommend High watering needs plants – these plants are usually for shady and wet areas, which is not common anyway.
Medium water level plants for sure will need sprinkler systems to maintain the watering amount. If you’re sprinker or drip irrigation is not working be sure to contact your local pro to fix it.
Note, some plants are versatile and can be on multiple categories of water level and sun exposure.
Step 3. Select your Plants.
Now that you have narrow down your plants to one section of the Matrix base on sun exposure and water level, you can select your plants.
You can select in one combine process of picking the color and height of the plant. The color of the plants are color coded in the text. Everyone has their own preference so have fun or stick to a color theme. The height is more important. The number next to the plant name is their typical full grown height. So depending on what structures are next to your bed, like a window or fence, you would want to select your plant height to be taller or short. Most people don’t want to cover their windows.
And rememeber, Landscape desgin is like viewing a family portrait, you want the tallest plants iin the back and shortest ones in the front. That is why we included the height in the plant name.
You may have a large selection left after the decsion matrix, at that point it is up to you base on preference of foliage. Click on the named links to see their picutres and get more details.
Also note, tall shrubs/bushes are great for hedges, above 4′. They not so great for in beds next to your window as it may block the window. We even sorted the plants from tallest to shortest.
We hope you find this Plant Table Selection easy to use for Landscaping Design in Texas. We love to hear your feedbacks. If you need landscape installation we be happy to help.
This table uses the 2 common plant types: shrubs and perrenials. To add more seasonal color and fill in gaps in your bed, go to the Annuals Selection table. Annuals don’t last more than 6 months that is why they are seasonal. We love shrubs and perrennials because they stay year round, which is why they are the core of your flower beds. But some perrenials need to be cutback “deadheading” or “shearing”.
You will need to make sure your soil is adequate. It should not be too much clay or sand or silt, it should be well mixed. It should not be compacted. Compost will help with the aeration and add nutrients. And dig deep enough so your soil is better amended giving your plant a more habitable environment for growth.
Also make sure it is well drained. Sand mixture will help amend the soil. But if your area has poor drainage because lack of gutters or other foundation issues, you likely want to install French Drains or other drainage system. They are great investments to protect your foundation and control moisture for your flower beds.
Cobble stones or other crushed granite and gravel can help with drainage and erosion too. And they can also accent your flower beds if done right.
Mulch is a must for flower beds. Not only they accent your beds, they retain moisture on top of your soil while still maintaining proper drainage. They also help with weeds. They don’t completely cover the flower beds preventing germination of weeds. We recommend installation of weed fabric and application of weed preventer with every mulch installs. It is great to do it annually in late winter before the spring.