Plant Selection Tips

A major principal of Xeriscaping is based on picking plant material that will prosper in the conditions that exist naturally. A major design principal says that form should always follow function. Consider what you want the plant material to do and the find a hardy plant that fits the bill. For example, plant a large deciduous tree on the south side of your house to provide shelter from the summer sun but allow the sun in during the winter. Evergreens can buffer sound pollution and when planted on the north side of your house they can protect against winter storms. Site exposure will highly effect plant selection in the Chinook Zone. A well treed lot is a sheltered environment that will retain the snow better in the winter and is less effected by rapid temperature change brought on by a Chinook. A wide open space is not an environment receiving protecting from the Chinook winds and the late day sun during the winter months; plants selected for this site should be Chinook hardy.

Identify the issues for consideration and the conditions that exist at the planting site.

  • Sun exposure - Hours of Sunlight
  • Type of Soil - Well Drained, Dry, Moist, gravelly etc.
  • Site Exposure
  • Size, form and speed of growth are also important elements that should be considered. Small spaces should have small slower growing plants where large areas should be filled with larger faster growing plant species.
  • Design concept - Are you looking for a natural look or something more formal or artistic.
  • Consider incorporating native plants that are naturally acclimatized to the extreme temperature fluctuations and precipitation patterns in our region.
  • Habitat creation: Consider what type of wildlife you would like to invite into your space and do some research. NatureScape Alberta is a great book and source of information on creating habitat.


Grow Wild and Support Your Environment!