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Regional Landscaping

Regional climate determines the type of landscape plants that will survive in your landscape. When we use the word climate, we mean a total consideration of sun, rain, and annual average high and low temperatures. In the interest of guiding toward your ideal landscape options, we will discuss six regions of the United States and their attributes: West, Southwest, Northwest, Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast.

The Northeast region comprises the states of Delaware, Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, Maine, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Vermont, Rhode Island, District of Columbia, Virginia, and West Virginia. Landscapes in this region face mild to extreme winter conditions. Northeasterners must take care to choose plants for their landscapes that will survive through winter. For this reason, conifers and evergreen shrubs are commonly planted in Northeast landscapes. Ornamental shrubs will lend color and texture in the winter. A particularly hardy shrub is the Winterberry Holly, a deciduous tree. When it has shed its leaves, its crimson berries find their time to shine, and attract birds.

The Southeast is composed of the states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The dominant features of the Southeast states are abundant sunshine, warmth and humidity, especially in the summer months. Winter weather becomes more variable in deeper parts of the South. Landscapes in the Carolinas abound in canna lilies and evergreens, while in Florida one finds wild bursts of tropical color. Landscapes in Florida are conducive to exotic orchids that grow in intermediate to warm climates. Landscapers in parts of the Southeast region prone to chilly winter weather, such as North Carolina, can strategically plant trees to break wind and shelter homes. This can be particularly helpful in reducing drafts that rack up heating bills in winter. The Southeast region gives landscapers the chance to plant species that wouldn't survive anywhere else in the country.

The largest landscape region in the United States is the Midwest. The northern half includes Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin; the southern half: Colorado, Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois, Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma. The entire region is subject to high winds and dry spells. Some effects of wind and sun can be alleviated by trees, shrubs, and wall-covering vines. This can theoretically cut down the energy used in heating and cooling homes.

The Northwest region is made up of Montana, Idaho, Washington State, Oregon, and Wyoming. The Northwest region sees cool, moist winters during which mountainous areas receive snow. The summers tend to be dry and warm. The Pacific Ocean cools the air. The Northwest fosters beautiful trees such as junipers, pines, spruce, maples, willows and dogwoods. Water gardens, ponds and waterfalls can also make for a lovely focal point in your Northwest landscape. Rock gardens are an increasingly widespread manifestation of landscape design.

The United States' Southwest region includes the states of California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. The dry, hot climate can make things difficult for a landscape design plan. The highs in the summer can reach 100 degrees and higher, so shade will prove a designer's best friend in the Southwest. Employ a combination of softscape and landscape to solve this problem. Trees are very useful, as they provide shade and shelter from the hot sun. Also consider beautiful options such as shade-houses and arbors to make the best of your Southwest region landscape.

And finally, the West Coast region, which is largely comprises California. Temperatures in California vary widely. As a result, landscapers can choose from many different landscaping design styles used in any other region in the country. A highly recommendable technique for a California landscape is the rock garden. Stones can be arranged in impressive yet natural looking relationships to plants. A great effect is yielded by close care to make the arrangement of stones look natural -- like it had always been there. Digging and wedging the rocks so that they are partly exposed goes a long way in adding a natural feel to your rock garden. You should use stones native to California. Whether you live in Southern or Northern California will determine what kind of plants and stones you use in your California landscape design.