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Let Us Be Your Planting Service

Jun 1, 2022 | Gardens, Lawns

Perhaps you can envision the perfect landscape for your home. A neat and structured front yard, bountiful blooms of varied heights alternating with robust greenery, partially shaded with large healthy trees.

The backyard is an ocean of green with repeating patches of colorful flowers and plants of varying textures, easily accessible by a stroll down a winding pathway. Benches and a few chairs offer a spot for relaxation and complement the fire pit and gathering area for friends and family.

An arbor entryway to a hidden area reveals another room-like spot with a dining table and chairs, a grill and a bar. A few raised beds are located in sunny spots, providing the perfect area to grow vegetables and herbs. A row of attractive shrubs offers privacy from the neighbor’s view along with spring blooms and fruit later in the season.

Further to the left is a wall, covered with blooming vines that produce late summer color and fragrance. Perhaps you know exactly what to plant, when and where, for this desired result. Maybe you know what you want in the landscape, but have no idea where to start. Or maybe you have a front and back yard that needs improvement, but that’s all you know.

Let Johnson’s Landscaping handle these situations and all those in between. Using the right plants, trees and shrubs for your area and your individual yards, we can achieve the perfect landscaping result.

If you have a plan and know what plants you want to use, we advise if they are right for your area. Some plants need soil that is rich and fertile, while others happily grow in lean soils with few nutrients. Some specimens need lots of sun; others offer the best results when planted in a partially shaded patch of ground.

Our years of experience make us aware of what various plants need and what to expect from them. We know where to find healthy plants that give the desired result. And, so important, we put the right plant in the right place for proper development and growth.

What a Planting Service Should Consider

When selecting plants, shrubs, and trees, landscape designers focus on the following visual factors to balance the space and make it visually appealing:


Size, along with height, helps define a space. You don’t want your large landscape elements (like towering trees) to overwhelm other structures (like a house) or to obstruct natural views. Try to create patterns and layers with various sizes of plants.
Smaller plants are given additional weight by arranging them in masses or clusters.


Height is the most important factor in defining a space. It can have a huge visual impact when used correctly. Heights should be varied from front to back so that smaller plants are not hidden behind larger ones. Heights should also vary across the vertical
horizon, undulating from taller to shorter and then back again.


Color is the most variable component in landscape design – it can change from season to season and even from morning to evening. However, it is also the component that carries the most visual weight. Brushing up on your color theory comes in handy when
choosing a layout for your design. It’s helpful to know how analogous, complementary, and contrasting colors work together to make a beautiful palette. Keep foliage, bark, flower, stem, and fruit in mind when considering colors.


Fragrance is the most overlooked factor in landscape design, but it’s a wonderful way to engage visitors and encourage them to spend a little more time. Keep in mind that flowers are not the only plant part that have a fragrance. Many shrubs and even trees add their own scents to a yard. 

Planting in Shady Areas

Most landscapes have shady areas, depending on the trees on and around the property. Sometimes homeowners ignore the shady areas and plant just in the sunny spots. But, comprehensive overall landscape planning takes the shaded areas into account, filling
in a spacious design with shade-loving plants, shrubs, and trees.

Different Amounts of Shade

Many shaded areas in the landscape actually get some sun during the day. The amount of sun varies when deciduous trees are bare and when they have leaves. Determining how much sun the spot gets and when it receives it is part of the science of landscape

Let the pros at Johnson’s Landscaping take a look at your shady area and determine which plants, shrubs, and trees will work best in your yard. There are a multitude of choices, so don’t worry that your shady spot will be dull.

Plants for shade or those for partially sunny spots provide a diversity of blooms and foliage somewhat different from those found in full-sun plants. Trees and shrubs for shade or part shade offer a range of forms, sizes, and colors. Many shrubs have colorful fall foliage, and some provide fruit. Often used to block an unsightly view and provide privacy, shrubs are often planted in rows.

Proper Soil

Plants, shrubs, and trees frequently need a specially developed soil, similar to that of the forest floor, where many shade plants originated. Johnson’s Landscaping professionals are experts at soil improvement and the knowledge of what each plant needs
for optimum growth and development. Don’t leave those shady areas bare and unattractive. Let us show you the perfect landscape design for your entire yard, coordinating both the sunny and shady spots.

Winter Plantings

If you spend a good part of winter wishing it would snow just so that it would cover everything in the yard up and make it look beautiful for a while, it’s time to correct the problem. The right plants can help you create low-maintenance interest and color all year long that can make your winter garden seem like it has a touch of magic in it. Here are two suggestions you can use.

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is one of the most striking plants that you can add to your yard because it starts blooming long after most other plants are done. While this large bush gives off a gentle fragrance all year, it doesn’t start to flower until its leaves fall off for winter. Depending on the variety you choose, the flowers range from a bright gold to a fiery red. Many people are familiar with the gentle skin cleanser made from the witch hazel’s bark, but most people don’t realize that the flowers give off a sweet, clean smell all winter. There are two varieties commonly in use: the American species blooms in November and December and the Asian species blooms in January and February. Plant a mix of these and your yard will have color and scent through the majority of winter, even in the snow. One of the best parts about the witch hazel is that it’s very low-maintenance—as long as you give it space to grow.

While technically a shrub, it can reach heights of 30 feet and grow up to 15 feet wide so many people refer to it as a tree. They’re fairly non-fussy about where you plant them, as well. They’ll adapt to different soil conditions, temperature zones, available water quantities, and can tolerate both partial shade and full sun.

Ornamental Kale and Cabbage

If you’re looking for something that’s a little smaller but just as startling in look as witch hazel against a bleak winter background, consider planting a few varieties of ornamental kale or cabbage. You can even plant them in pots, for easy arranging around your walk, steps, and doorway. Ornamental kale and cabbage have an almost supernatural ability to thrive throughout the colder months. Different varieties can have dark green leaves, striking purple centers, or even vibrant reds. For the most part, whether you plant them in pots or directly in the ground, they’re fairly easy to maintain. Just watch out for insect activity and treat the plants with an insecticide if necessary.

The right landscaping – plants, shrubs, and trees chosen for their ability to transform a winter yard from bleak to brilliant – can help you enjoy your yard all year. If you’re having trouble figuring out what works best for you, contact us for assistance. We’re more than happy to help you pick the right plants for your yard and get them going.

If you don’t have a plan, no worries. Our professional landscape designers will survey your yard and offer various options. Look at our portfolio for ideas and to see a few of our successful installations. As spring approaches, get ready for the landscape of your visions. Contact us soon to get started.

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About the Author

Matt Johnson grew up in a family of landscapers and gardeners as the grandson of Raymond Johnson (Founder, 1933, Johnson's Florist and Garden Center) and son of James and Carol Johnson (Founders, 1960, Johnson's Landscaping Service, Inc.). Since 2007, he has led Johnson's Landscaping Service with his brother, Charlie.  Matt and his wife Jaime live in Petworth in Northwest DC with their 3 sons and 2 big dogs.

We answer phones Monday-Friday 8-5. If you have questions, please call (301) 656-6414.

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