Secret Formula to Award-Winning Landscapes Part 2: Exceptional Plants

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    You’ve completed step one—created your distinctive design plan—now it’s time for step two of the secret formula to an award-winning landscape: selecting exceptional plants!

    With your design plan in hand, you know which landscape trends you want to focus on. You’ll be selecting just the right combination of “trusted classics” and “improved innovators” to create your perfect landscape. The best plant palettes in any style of landscape combine elements from these two categories.

    Exceptional Plants: Trusted Classics

    “Trusted classics” are some of the best plants for Kansas City. Trusted classics are timeless; not only are they excellent performers in our region, but they also never go out of style. Many trusted classics are locally grown, and although this is a benefit because they are already climate-adapted, it is not a requirement. Examples of exceptional plants that are trusted classics include:


    Evergreens are an essential component of most garden styles, and boxwood is an excellent choice. It is one of the best plants for Kansas City, and it grows well all over the country. One of the advantages of boxwood is its smaller growth habit. It won’t outgrow its area like many other evergreens that can become difficult to manage.

    High Prairie Outdoors offers a variety of boxwoods, including Green Mountain (a good choice for Country Gardens), Green Velvet, Chicagoland Green (both Green Velvet and Chicagoland Green are landscape trends in Formal Gardens), Winter Gem, and Green Tower. The numerous cultivars can be a bit daunting to decide between, but our experts will help make it easy.

    Japanese Maple

    Known for their striking fall colors, a Japanese maple can make a perfect focal point for landscapes. With proper pruning, a Japanese maple can grow into an impressive bonsai that is sure to delight visitors of your Oriental Garden. Two beautiful varieties of Japanese maple available at High Prairie Outdoors are Coral Bark and Crimson Queen.

    Blue Spruce

    This hardy evergreen is admired for its blue-green color. Blue spruce makes a beautiful accent tree and also looks great when multiples are planted closer together to create a privacy screen.

    Golden Privet

    This deciduous shrub is perfect for hedges and looks lovely, especially when paired with green-leaved plants to create color contrasts. In the fall, its golden foliage takes on a purple-red tone.


    Low, spreading shrubs, dense yews are durable and versatile. With dark green foliage backing scarlet, berry-like cones, dense yews make attractive hedges, screens, or borders.

    Exceptional Plants: Improved Innovators

    Combining “improved innovators” with trusted classics will help you to achieve long-lasting and durable landscapes. Each year, High Prairie Outdoors’s team visits trial gardens all across the country in search of the newest, most innovative plants. Staying ahead of landscape trends and bringing new plants to our customers in the Kansas City region is something we love to do! We’ve been able to offer many new cultivars to our customers often years before the wider public is aware that they exist. Other local landscapers tend to “play it plain” by sticking to only the classics.

    Improved innovators include cultivars that provide more impact, durability, color, bloom, or fragrance. Examples of these best plants for Kansas City include:

    Brindabella Roses

    Stunning doubled flowers and clean foliage define Brindabella roses, a collection of durable, bushy shrub roses that deliver superior disease resistance and garden performance. They’re available in both traditional and contemporary colors, and High Prairie Outdoors offers several varieties including Dawn, First Lady, Purple Prince, and Red Empress. Brindabella roses are a beautiful addition to a Country Garden.

    Sunshine Privet

    All summer, this compact shrub maintains its golden color. Sunshine privet may be the perfect choice if you’re looking for an accent, and it also makes an eye-catching border or hedge.

    Poquito Series Agastache

    Beautiful, fragrant, herbaceous perennials, Agastache provide a bold impact. Compact, low, and bushy, the showy, dense flowers of Poquito ‘Butter Yellow’ make it a great choice for borders, containers, or mixed beds.

    Poquito ‘Dark Blue’ is also compact, low, and bushy. It is actually more purple than blue and a hummingbird favorite. Poquito ‘Lavender’ has a dwarf, bushy habit with pink and mauve flowers over bright green foliage.

    Lil’ Ditty Viburnum

    An easy-care, low-growing shrub with large bright foliage, Lil’ Ditty blooms large puffballs of creamy white, fragrant flowers in late spring. In the fall, its little berries attract songbirds to your garden.

    Get Your Own Exclusive Plant Palette Today!

    If you want to create one of the most spectacular landscapes in your neighborhood, comprised of the best plants for Kansas City, contact High Prairie Outdoors today. We’ll help you create your own exclusive plant palette.

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    About The Author

    Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.

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