Have the right plant for the right location and understand the mature size of the plant. “A lot of times people will put a plant in, but the natural height is 10–12 feet and they want them to be shrubs. You’re always fighting the plants by constantly pruning.”
Use native plants. “They have a lot higher success rate than the hybrids,” says Schmitt.
Look at the hardiness zones. “Make sure that the plant is appropriate for how cold it will be in the winter,” says Schmitt. “Tropical or southern plants look great, but they don’t really last in the Northeast.”
Select plants that are naturally insect- and disease-resistant. “You don’t want to have to spray plants for insects and mold. Knockout Roses are a favorite of mine to use.” Avoid boxwoods or birch trees. “They are becoming a big issue in our area for insects and disease.”
Plant in multiples of 3s, 5s, and 7s. “You want to make sure you have evergreen coverage,” says Schmitt. “I especially like viburnum, Japanese spirea, hydrangeas — especially the Endless Summer variety — and daylilies.”