After you have determined the plants that are appropriate for your planting site, group the plants into categories, such as groundcovers; annuals and perennials; low, medium, and tall shrubs; accent plants; and specimen and canopy trees. This will be the "plant palette" that you will select from as you lay out your planting plan. It is helpful to include a photo of each plant and a symbol or note that depicts its light, moisture, and other preferences. After the plants have been divided into groups, you will be able to see what microclimate they prefer. This is a good way to experiment with various combinations of plants and to see how certain textures and flower colors will work with each other.
Consider the specific purpose you have in mind when choosing plants to include in your plant palette. If you need to screen an undesirable view, it may be best to select shrubs or trees that are evergreen. These are other examples of specific uses:
• Canopy trees for shade
• Specimen trees
• Foundation plantings
• Accent plants
• Hedges and screens
Ask yourself what function a plant will serve before you add it to your plan. Plants can serve more than one purpose. Trees and shrubs that screen your property line may also provide you with food, such as figs, blueberries, pears, or mayhaws for jelly. Plants can also act as shelter for wildlife or provide cut flowers or fragrance.