Most people don’t take into consideration spacing plants when they are installing a new landscape.  Spacing plants may not seem like that important of task initially, but it can lead to quite a few problems down the road.  When choosing plants for your landscape you should consider their growing habits.  How tall does the plant get and how wide does the plant grow?  It is also important to find out how fast does the plant grow.  If you don’t want your shrubs and perennials growing into each other, it is important to plant them in the right place from the get go.  Keep in mind a few things.  Perennial plants can be cut to the ground each fall and new growth will emerge in the spring.  If you don’t mind your plants getting out of control at the end of their growing season, then you can plant them closer together.  If you want stand alone plants, make sure to leave at least six inches on each side of the plant after you determine its mature size.  If you have a perennial that grows to a mature size of 12″ wide, you should leave 24″ for your plant to grow.  You will want to install your plant right in the middle of this measurement.

Spacing Plants

Spacing plants such as shrubs.

Shrubs are a different beast when it comes to planting.  They generally will only tolerate light to moderate pruning during the growing season.  Most shrubs will not respond well to ground cutting which is the process of removing all of the growth of the plant to the ground.  When spacing your shrubs you will want to follow the same spacing idea as perennials.  The difference between shrubs and perennials is that you can train your shrubs to a certain size through pruning.  Say you have a dwarf korean lilac shrub that at a mature size is 6′ round.  If you prune this shrub semi annually, you can maintain a consistent growing size of 3′ round.  When you decide how you want to start spacing plants during their installation you need to determine how much maintenance are you willing to do.  If you plan on pruning your shrubs on a regular basis to maintain a consistent size, then you can place them closer together.