Before shelling out money for new plants, consider what’s thrived and died in past gardens. Ask, “Is this plant doing its job? Adding beauty? Providing shade? Creating borders?” Give a pink slip to landscaping that’s not pulling its weight.

If you’re a newcomer to gardening or to the area, scout the neighborhood to see which plants look happy and which wither on the vine.

Keep in mind that even plants appropriate for your growing zone might not work in your personal patch. Your particular soil conditions, sunlight patterns, pest populations, and available water will determine what will grow. Your local cooperative extension service can analyze your soil and recommend amendments and suitable plantings.