How one can Discover the Proper Crops For Your Residence’s Model

An attractive, compelling garden does not exist independently from the building it surrounds. It serves as a natural extension of the quirks, patterns, and personality of a specific dwelling. It resonates with the materials, the colors, the architectural philosophy, and the overall vibe.

On your next stroll through the neighborhood or travel to a distant land, take note of a garden you find appealing. Could its unique landscape design and plant selections apply to any home without alteration? Probably not. Could the prairie garden that surrounds a midwestern bungalow surround a mission-style home in the desert? Not without looking out of place and unhealthy.

A home and its garden are intricately related and should be in harmony. While there are no official rules for selecting plants to accompany a certain home style, there are definitely materials that lend themselves well to different aesthetics and design principles. Read on for a look at some of the most common home styles and an exploration of the gardening principles that apply to each one


Create a garden with a timeless charm by incorporating classic, old-world plants.

A cottage-style home is typically one to one and a half stories tall with a brick or stone facade, a gabled roof, a prominent chimney, and maybe a small porch. It’s usually casual and asymmetrical but balanced. This style applies to farmhouse, English country, Cape Cod architecture, and many lakeside and woodland dwellings. 

A cottage garden is typically full of color and whimsy, employing brick walls or shale stepping stones to lend casual structure and pick up elements from the home’s facade. It curves freely around the property, weaving annuals, perennials, shrubs, garden structures, and art elements together in a natural tapestry.

Choose classic, old-world plants to include in this kind of garden. Mix climbers and ramblers in with cutting garden favorites and kitchen herbs. Fill some pots with annual standards and let them coexist with the spring bulbs. Invite the birds and bees to dance among the chaos. 

Cottage garden plants

    • Rose
    • Clematis
    • Dahlia
    • Zinnia
    • Geranium
    • Daffodil
    • Hydrangea
    • Daisy
    • Delphinium
    • Hollyhock
    • Lavender




The formal garden style emphasizes structure and control.

Homes that fall into the category of formal style include members of the Georgian, Colonial, Victorian, Tudor, Greek Revival, French, and Italianate architectural families. These homes have strong vertical elements with tall windows and steep roofs. Many have columns or balustrades and an imposing facade that signals wealth or royalty. 

Formal gardens employ many of the same plants as cottage home gardens but with far more emphasis on structure and control. Gardens may center around a central axis point, using rigidly clipped evergreen plants as topiary statues or to wall in unruly perennials. Plant palettes may also have a limited color scheme to ensure an orderly aesthetic. 

A formal design often serves as a clear extension of the home’s architecture, extending outward in knots and mazes that reflect the central building. To implement a formal design, start with evergreen anchors and beds and then fill the spaces they create with perennials, annuals, and shrubs. Be sure to include spring bulbs and fall bloomers for four-season interest. 

Formal garden plants

  • Boxwood
  • Yew
  • Spruce
  • Vinca
  • Holly
  • Tulip
  • Hyacinth
  • Clematis
  • Climbing Rose
  • Peony
  • Begonia
  • Hydrangea
  • Cranesbill

Arts & Crafts

abundant shrubs surround an arts and crafts home.Consider bloom colors and foliage that complement the home’s exterior colors and materials.

Homes in this style were a reaction to the oversized, overly adorned formal homes popular in the late 1800s. With a philosophy of functional beauty and a preference for the workmanship of local craftspeople, Arts & Crafts style homes became popular at the turn of the century. 

Bungalow, prairie style, and four square homes all fall under the Arts & Crafts aesthetic, employing low-slung roofs, large wooden beams, and exposed rafters to harmonize with the surrounding landscape rather than stand apart from it. Some homes feature leaded glass, copper cladding, and other hand-made materials that speak to local roots and simple beauty. 

When planning a garden for an Arts & Crafts home, start with plants that are native to the region. Use grasses, trees, and perennials that grew on the land for centuries before the home appeared. Choose bloom colors and foliage that will accentuate the home’s exterior colors and materials. 

Arts & Crafts garden plants

        • False Indigo
        • Turtlehead
        • Hollyhocks
        • Spirea
        • Ninebark
        • Smooth hydrangea
        • Serviceberry
        • Geranium
        • Fern
        • Ornamental grass
        • Coneflower



Spanish garden design prioritizes mimicking the natural landscape.

The homes we know as Southwestern, Mediterranean, pueblo, or mission style are all influenced by early Spanish architecture. With features such as arched entryways, stucco or adobe brick walls, wood trim, elaborate tilework, and clay roofs, homes in this style can withstand intense levels of sunshine and warm temperatures. 

Spanish garden design is free-flowing, with an emphasis on mimicking the natural landscape. Walkways are usually paved with gravel or sand, and beds are bordered with rocks or bits of terra cotta. Succulents, cacti, and drought-tolerant perennials feature alongside fruit trees, tropicals, vegetables, and sun-loving annuals in colorful clay pots. 

Spanish garden plants

  • Agave
  • Rosemary
  • Yucca
  • Olive
  • Sage
  • Penstemon
  • California poppy
  • Agapanthus
  • Aloe Vera
  • Fig
  • Tomato
  • Citress
  • Cypress
  • Lantana


Use evergreens and shrubs as anchors, supplemented by grasses for structure.

You will sometimes hear the terms modern architecture and contemporary architecture used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Modernism was a movement in the mid-1900s that emphasized function over form, featuring flat roofs, minimal ornamentation, open floor plans, low-slung masses, and clean lines. Architecture in this style includes mid-century modern, ranch, and California modern homes. 

A modernist home features linear and radial bed lines and an emphasis on extending the home into outdoor living “rooms.” Subtle color palettes and plant selections take the stage, with a preference given for low-maintenance materials that add texture and sculptural interest. 

When choosing plants for a modern-style garden, select evergreens or small trees and shrubs to serve as anchor plants in a geometric design.  Fill in with grasses, perennials, and ground cover plants that will keep the color scheme simple while adding structure. 

Modernist garden plants

  • Dogwood
  • Holly
  • Arborvitae
  • Japanese Tree Lilac
  • Birch
  • Prairie dropseed
  • Sumac
  • Feather reed grass
  • Sedge
  • Sedum
  • Pachysandra
  • Canna
  • Bird of paradise


Curved flower beds frame a small suburban house. Plant choices reflect the region where the home is located.

The term ‘contemporary style home’ applies to anything built post-20th century that does not strictly follow the rules or form of any previous architectural movement. There may be elements of some or all home styles incorporated into the buildings, but they are generally more free-flowing and customized. Most industrial renovations as well as upscale new home urban and coastal construction, are part of the contemporary style. 

Contemporary can be constructed from steel and glass with an emphasis on natural light. Floorplans are usually open and may be curved, linear, or both. Most have sustainable designs, often with solar panels, rainwater management systems, and high-tech smart home features. 

Contemporary garden plants are usually reflective of the region in which the home is built. Hardscapes might be tiered or stratified, especially in mountainous areas, and plants are usually native and/or low maintenance. A contemporary style home garden in South Carolina will feature lowlands plants and will be very different than a contemporary style home in Washington state that features western hemlock. 

Contemporary Garden Plants

Materials for a contemporary garden will vary, depending on where the home is located. Here’s a quick breakdown according to climate:

  • Yucca
  • Aloe
  • Portulaca
  • Sage
  • Yarrow
  • Sea oats
  • Sea holly
  • Lavender
  • Juniper
  • Yarrow
  • Cherry
  • Mock Orange
  • Elderberry
  • Grapeholly
  • Aster
  • Crape myrtle
  • Dogwood
  • Star jasmine
  • Hibiscus
  • Azalea
  • Hosta
  • Fern
  • Bleeding heart
  • Phlox
  • Birch
  • Mountain palm
  • Mandevilla
  • Canna
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Plumeria

Final Thoughts

There is no ‘wrong’ way to design a landscape. If you want to grow tropical plants in the backyard of your Midwest bungalow or marsh plants around your contemporary mountain home, go for it. Gardening is a very personal form of artistic expression, and there are no hard and fast rules about plant selection

However, it can be argued that the most appealing landscapes are those that feature plants that complement a home’s overarching style. Chances are pretty good your home falls into one of the architectural categories we’ve discussed here. Choose plants that resonate with that style aesthetically, philosophically, and regionally, and you’ll likely feel at peace with your landscape.

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