the right plants for your landscape can be overwhelming. Along with
maintenance and expense, you need to consider how plants will fare in
Wisconsin’s unpredictable weather conditions.
community’s hardiness zone, which indicates how well a plant will
adapt in a given climate, takes some of the guess work out of deciding
what to grow. The metropolitan Milwaukee area typically falls into zones
4 and 5.
important that hardiness zones are respected," says Kerry
Mattingly, a landscape architect and co-owner of Treetops Landscape
Design in Grafton. "What’s considered hardy in the South wouldn’t
winter very well here."
also factor heavily into deciding what to plant, says Brian Zimmerman,
senior landscape architect at Lieds Nursery in Sussex. "You have to
consider things like soil type and sun exposure."
Here are five
tough, low-maintenance plants sure to add beauty to any yard:
trouble-free plant is an attractive ground cover with lots of visual
interest. The rambling shrub typically grows only 1 to 2 feet tall, but
spreads to 8 feet wide, making it an ideal choice for flat or sloping
landscapes. In late spring, the shrub is covered with tiny, yellow
flowers. The leaves — shiny and dark green in summer — change to a
rich burgundy in fall. "The leaves turn a great maroon color in
fall," Zimmerman says. "Although they do spread, they’re not
A favorite of
professional landscapers, says Pagoda Dogwood is a native North American
plant that tolerates shade well. "It grows beautifully under a
canopy of larger trees," Mattingly says. Although not as showy as
the Flowering Dogwood, the Pagoda Dogwood produces creamy white blossoms
in early summer, which later give way to blue-purple berries that
attract birds and other wildlife. In fall, the leaves deepen to a
beautiful reddish-purple color.
One of the
hardiest and latest-blooming hydrangeas, the PeeGee Hydrangea bears
large, cone-shaped white flowers in summer that gradually turn
reddish-brown and persist into winter. A fast-growing shrub, the PeeGee
Hydrangea also can be pruned to serve as a small flowering tree.
"They have great pinkish white flowers that continue to bloom well
into winter," Mattingly says.
favorite, the Common Lilac is one of the most popular blooming shrubs
for home landscapes. The shrub, which grows best in a sunny location,
produces abundant, aromatic flowers ranging in color from white to
purple. Easy to plant and care for, Common Lilacs prefer neutral,
well-drained soil. "The lilac is a great plant that most people can
easily identify," Zimmerman says.
Also known as
Korean spicebush, this deciduous flowering shrub has very fragrant
flowers and can reach 4 to 8 feet high. In spring, the shrub’s vibrant
pink buds blossom into delicate white flowers with an intensely sweet
aroma. Blue-black berries eventually replace the tiny blooms. In fall,
the plant’s leaves deepen into a vibrant red hue for continued
interest. "They look great next to the terrace or near your front
door," Mattingly says.