Perennials and groundcovers play an important role in landscape design from many perspectives. One of those functions is to act as “fillers” between the young trees and shrubs. This helps early on with plant spacing and the open spaces that might occur.
When we carefully arrange the young “woody plants” (i.e. trees & shrubs) for future growth, there is often generous amounts of open space remaining in the new garden. Solution? Bring on the perennials and groundcovers!
Although there are exceptions, generally speaking the perennials and groundcovers will not compete with the growing woody plants in terms of space. The shrubs and trees will, for the most part, grow unfettered. This is a good thing.
If you start to see the woody plants overgrowing the nearby perennials and groundcovers, it’s not that big a task to “dig-out” those few fleshy neighbors to make more open space. You can move them to another area of the yard or give them away (a very cool & neighborly thing to do).
Be Proactive With Your Plant Arrangements
The landscape contractor had returned to the jobsite to add the perennials and groundcovers according to my plan. When I stopped by at the end of the day everything looked great except for one daylily that happened to be too close to the ‘Gold Coast’ juniper (see first pic at top). So after a few wise-cracks (I’m used to it), one of the guys easily moved the daylily further away from the juniper by simply switching holes with one of the ajuga groundcovers.
Think about it though. In one or two growing seasons the daylily would be twice the size and the juniper would be bigger too. Surely they’d be touching. Also, I like the daylily by the stone-steps. It helps to soften and meld the steps into the landscape.