Softscape Ideas & Inspiration

The first step in any landscape project should be finding ideas and inspiration that align with your goals. While you look through this guide, consider your own personal style, existing landscape, and main objectives to spark ideas.

Color through the season

Plant material is a great way to bring color and seasonal interest into your homes landscape. Below are some trees and shrubs that provide color, flower or fruit throughout the seasons. Our garden center is another great resource for inspiration.

Spring Interest

-Trees: Lilac, Crabapples, Magnolia, Dogwood, Redbud, plum trees

-Shrubs: Azalea, Rhododendrons, Lilac, Serviceberry, Viburnum, Forsythia, Dogwood

-Perennials: Bleeding Heart, Creeping Phlox, many types of Iris

Summer Blooms

-Shrubs: Clethra, Hydrangea, Ninebark, Roses, Potentilla, Smokebush

-Perennials: Day Lily, Sedum, Russian Sage, Coneflower

Late Season Interest

-Trees: Maples, Ginkgo, Blue Beech, Mountain Ash, Oaks

-Shrubs: Dogwood, Euonymus, Smokebush, Serviceberry, Winterberry, spirea, hydrangea, sumac

-Perennials: Joe-pye weed, aster, Black-eyed Susan

Another great way to bring in seasonal color is through annual planters. These planters can be switched out through the season (spring, summer, fall, winter). For more information check out the annuals section in our garden centers.

Native Plants and Pollinators

We have the opportunity when designing a landscape to incorporate plants that are native to the region and mutually beneficial to our local pollinators. Small contributions from everyone can accumulate to a pollinator friendly environment that more closely resembles their native habitat.

Pussy Willow, Wild Lupine, Purple Coneflower, Swamp Milkweed, Joe-Pye Weed, Bee Balm, Oregano, and Purple Prairie Clover are all native plants that pollinators will love.

In addition to these plant recommendations, consider eliminating pesticide use, supplying a water source, and leaving a portion of you landscape wild to provide habitat and nesting sites for pollinators.


Often, trees and shrubs are used to screen an unsightly view or block wind and sound. Conifers are typically a great way to accomplish this. Whether you need a small hedge or a large tree planting, below are a few go-to conifers for screening.

-Fir, spruce, Pine, Larch (deciduous conifer), Hemlock, and Upright Juniper.

Planting canopy trees with an under-story planting is another way to create privacy screening.

Low Maintenance

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as no maintenance. The key is getting ahead of your yard work. This is the difference between enjoying your landscape versus falling behind and making the whole thing feel like drudgery. Refer to our seasonal maintenance guide for some tips and tricks. Additionally, Sargent’s has a highly qualified Garden Services division. We would love the opportunity to take over your landscape maintenance while you sit back and enjoy the seasons!