Basic How-To’s for Planting Plants [Video for Exmark]


Redeem Your Ground & Exmark | Basic Planting How-Tos |

Long story…but a number of months ago I was asked to be the guy in front of the camera for some how-to videos being produced for the premier lawn mower company, Exmark (see below for more on Exmark). Never did I ever think that this Redeem Your Ground journey would land me there. But sure enough, there was exactly where I found myself.

Now fast forward to this month and you can see the first of 6 Exmark ‘Done-in-a-Weekend’ project tip videos on and Crazy right?! This one is essentially about the basics of planting plants…how-to choose the right ones, how to place them in your yard, and how to put them in the ground.

So if you want to see it for yourself…click here or watch it below.

If you watched it you know that there was a ton of information crammed into 3 minutes and 42 seconds. So I’ve taken the time to write-up the high-level take-aways. You’re welcome.

Picking the Right Plant for Your Space

If you’re going to spend your hard-earned money and the little bit of margin of time you have on the weekend to plant plants…you want to make sure they don’t die and the don’t outgrow their home by this time next year. That’s why it’s critical that you pick the right plant for the right space. Unfortunately many of us see something we like at a big box store or nursery and buy it like it’s a pack of gum in the checkout line and are surprised when we put it in the ground willy-nilly that it dies or it grows way bigger than we want it to. I know. I’ve done it.

So the basic tips below may seem…well, basic…but they are critical when choosing the right plant for the right space.

  • Growing conditions: Make sure the growing conditions are right for the plants you’re putting there. Sounds obvious, but…I’m just saying, a lot of people don’t think about it. Pay particular attention to the sun exposure. And remember, the sun changes position all day long…so see how much sun that specific spot gets during the entire day.
  • Size: Plants grow. Therefore, get a plant that fits the space you’re planting it in when it is full grown. Otherwise you’re setting yourself up for a ton of work keeping in the size you want it. And no one will like that…you or the plant.
  • Labels: All the above information can be found on the label of each plant you buy. So read it. The info is actually really quite helpful. [Another cool thing about this video is that I was able to feature some plants from my friends over at Monrovia…the end-all-be-all of plant companies.]

Redeem Your Ground & Exmark | Basic Planting How-Tos |

I told you they were basic tips…but I know I’m guilty of ignoring the basics at times and I’ve suffered the consequences. So I just thought I’d remind you.

Texture, Layers, & Drifts

From a design perspective, you should also think in terms of texture, layers, and drifts. When addressing the overall texture of your planting beds, choose plants that vary in form, size, color and leaf structure. This will create a much interesting and visually appealing space to hang out in.

Redeem Your Ground & Exmark | Basic Planting How-Tos |

As for layers, think of your landscape beds in terms of a painting…where you have a background, middle ground, and foreground. The plants in the background should be higher and typically evergreen…particularly when up against the foundation of your home.  Plants in the middle ground should be lower in height when mature than the background plants.  This is also where you can have perennials, since when they are not in bloom or leafed out you will look right past them to your evergreen background plants.  Lastly, your foreground is where you will plant your smallest plants and where you can add a bit more color or other interest.  These can be annuals, perennials or an evergreen groundcover.  Each layer helps transition to the next.

Redeem Your Ground & Exmark | Basic Planting How-Tos |

Lastly, drifts. To create a more harmonious space think in terms of drifts of plants vs. individual plants. Doing so will help you fight against those impulse buys of individual plants to fill in gaps…resulting in a yard that is haphazard and not in a shabby-chic-English-garden-kind-of-way. This is another reason why it’s so important to read the labels…don’t space your plants for the size they are today, but for how big they will be when they are mature.

How to Put a Plant in the Ground

There are 8 basic steps to putting a plant in the ground. Some plants require special steps or attention, but if you follow the steps below on the vast majority of plants you’ll be good to go.

Redeem Your Ground & Exmark | Basic Planting How-Tos |

  1. Begin by digging a hole that’s about 2 times the diameter and as deep as the pot that the plant came in.
  2. Then give your plant what it needs to thrive by amending in organic material that you’ll find in compost or soil conditioner.
  3. Add slow release fertilizer, if you’d like…and mix well.
  4. Place the plant in the hole, making sure that it sits at or just above the level it did in the pot…and this may take a few tries.
  5. Then backfill with soil…stopping to add water when the hole is about ½ way full.
  6. Fill the rest of the hole and then firmly press down.
  7. Soak with more water.
  8. Finish by adding mulch…making sure to pull it away from the base of the plant a few inches.


Like the video, this post is choc-ful-o information…but I hope you found it helpful. Please reach out if you have any questions…I’d love to help where I can.

Make sure you check back here over the next couple three months for a write-up on the other 5 Exmark ‘Done-in-a-Weekend’ project tip videos…or you can check them all out at once at Your choice.

And by the way, if you have a couple acres of land or more and are looking for the best lawn mower ever made, you really need to consider Exmark‘s Lazer Z family of mowers. Exmark has been around for over 30 years and hands-down makes the most durable, comfortable, innovative, and highest quality mowers on the market today. To learn more…check out these videos on their YouTube channel.

Happy Spring Y’all,

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