Plants are a key element of almost everything we do. If you look back through the blog you will see plants I love and plants I hate. However, plants often surprise clients who are new to landscaping. Not how great they are, but how expensive they are!
Here in Oregon, a typical 1 gallon shrub or grass can be $8 to $15. A 5 gallon shrub or tree can easily be $35 to $50. A flat of 4-inch walkable groundcover is $40. Take these prices, add delivery, add planting, add warranty and you start to get the picture. A plant budget just doesn’t go as far as some would expect. Does this mean that plants are expensive? Are plants a poor value?
The Value of Plants
Plants may not be cheap, but you have to consider the lifetime of benefits they provide. Well-chosen plants will never go out of style. Well-cared-for plants do not get worn out. Like humans, plants gain character over time. They change and adapt, taking on a personality that helps to define your landscape.
Some plants become very valuable over time. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have Japanese maples that are decades old. Some of these are worth thousands of dollars. Not a bad investment, especially when you consider the enjoyment they deliver every day.
Do Plants Cost Too Much?
Plants will be a major part of a landscape budget. However, unlike so many things on your property, they improve with age and grow in value. My advice: Choose your plants wisely, take care of them well and you will never regret a penny.
By Ben Bowen, landscape manager for Ross NW Watergardens in Portland, Oregon. Find him on Google+.