Step 1 of 4
Collect Data


Step 2 of 4
Site Analysis


Step 3 of 4
Initial Design


Step 4 of 4
Complete the Plan

Plants are Part of the Plan

Make final location decisions

With the plant selection list completed and a general idea of what plants go where, the project is ready for the critical and complementary task of final placement decisions. 

In this step locations are chosen for the plants on the plant list, then incorporated into the final design drawing that includes details on all plants and their placement, complete with an itemized plant list to aid in shopping.

These points should guide final plant location decisions:  

  • Locate and space plants where they can grow to their natural, mature size without interfering with buildings, other plants, sidewalks, etc. Know a plant’s mature size. 
  • Compatible, complimentary plant communities shall be established by grouping together plants that have similar water needs into hydrozones.  
  • Only compatible plants should be located in areas with any identified microclimates, topography and soil conditions. 
  • Placement decisions must avoid damaging septic systems and other such underground infrastructure, and to not impede their function. Deep-rooting plant types are incompatible with septic systems. 
  • Trees should be selected and placed with consideration of root impacts on paved areas or other hardscape. Where space is limited, root barriers can be installed adjacent to hardscape to avert root damage. 
  • Plants should be placed so as not to create dangerous sight obstruction problems adjacent to driveways or roads. Certain plant types adjacent to driveways and roads may reduce sustainability because they will require pruning to maintain adequate visual clearance.
  • Plant placement should complement the various functions and movement patterns of the property. 
  • Plant placement should promote home energy conservation. Deciduous trees positioned on southerly side of a house provide shade in summer while allowing direct sunlight in winter. Trees and large shrubs also can be effective wind breaks. Placement around solar panels should not impede solar access. Try to shade at least 50% of paved areas. 
  • Plant placement should be considerate of neighboring properties; particularly with respect to privacy and valuable views.  
  • If applicable, plants should be selected, placed and maintained to provide defensible space for wildfire protection.​​​​​​

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