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Backyard Landscaping 101: Types of Plants to Consider

Plants are the to shaping your backyard as you want. But the wrong plants can be a lot of work, or worse, they die quickly. Choose the right plants, though, and you’ve got a backyard you’ll want to hang out in.

In this article, we’ll break down your options—think trees that add shade, flowers that bring in color, and shrubs that are easy to maintain.

6 Types of Plants Best for Backyard Landscaping


Trees are a universal symbol of nature and greenery. Depending on the size of your backyard, a few trees are sufficient and important for shade. But they provide more than just shade; trees can serve multiple purposes.

Evergreen trees, for instance, offer year-round privacy, while deciduous trees can provide a delightful color change with the seasons. For smaller spaces, dwarf fruit trees are an excellent choice. They fit into tighter areas and offer the bonus of homegrown fruit.

Floral Dynamics

Flowers are the go-to for an instant pop and aesthetic appeal, but picking the right types can be more complex than you think. Annuals like pansies offer vibrant colors but have to be replanted each year.

Perennials, such as daylilies, are always as showy but will return year after year, making them a cost-effective and long-lasting choice. Balance is key: combining both can yield a rich range of color from spring to autumn.


Often overlooked, shrubs provide a robust and versatile theme to any backyard landscaping project. A flowering azalea bush can bring a splash of color, while a hardy boxwood can define a border or act as a windbreaker. Some shrubs, like the butterfly bush, even attract local wildlife, turning your yard into a small, ecological haven.

The best part is they come in all shapes. You can choose upright, round, standing, arching, and cascading shrubs to suit your style. Besides that, you can prune your shrubs into any shape with basic gardening tools.

Low-Maintenance Plants

Not everyone has the time or the green thumb for extensive garden care. Low-maintenance options like succulents, which come in various shapes and colors, offer a lot of visual interest with minimal upkeep. Native ornamental grasses like blue fescue can add texture and movement to your landscape without demanding too much attention.

Native Plants

If you’re aiming for a yard that’s not just beautiful but also eco-friendly, native plants are the way to go. They’re well-adapted to your local soil and climate conditions, making them more resilient and easier to care for. They also attract local fauna, from pollinators like bees to birds, giving your space a more natural, vibrant ecosystem.


While most of us focus on filling horizontal space in the garden, taking your plants vertical can add a new dimension to your backyard. Vines are the perfect candidates for this. Whether you’re looking to create a natural privacy screen against a fence or turn a plain wall into a lush backdrop, vines have got you covered—literally.

But not all vines are created equal. What’s crucial is to consider your specific needs and conditions before choosing a vine. Do you need something that grows fast to cover a new pergola quickly? Or are you looking for a flowering vine to add a touch of romance to an archway? Your answers to these questions will guide your vine choices.

Key Takeaways

Every plant serves a different purpose in the backyard. Some provide shade and year-round greenery, while others add colors and aesthetics. But with the right selection and planning, you will have a backyard you love showing off and spending time in.

Planning your plant selection around these six categories will make your space visually harmonious and functionally robust.

Jeff Campbell