Plants are to a garden designer what words are to a writer. The larger a writer's vocabulary, the better they are able to communicate with their audience.
Unfortunately many garden designers have a very limited 'vocabulary', and they tend to only plant those few plants that they know, regardless of the conditions or what might be appropriate to the site or design.
Every landscaper or garden designer does have their palette of plants that they prefer to use, but those preferences should never be at the expense of good design.
I have been seeing a profusion of 'landscapers' lately, that seem to have a very small range of plants that they use, with the result being that all their gardens start to look the same. In some cases I've had to fix some of these gardens that have been planted up with plants that are not suited to our coastal conditions. All this because garden designers are either lazy and/or have a very limited range.
I believe that the only justifiable excuse for getting stuck using the same old plants, is when we have to revert to plants that need to be easy to look after. In these cases, when the person caring for the garden has limited skills, then its defensible to stick to safe and easy plants. The challenge then for us as landscapers is to be looking for easy-maintenance plants that we can add to our repertoir for situations like these.
How can we as garden designers not be continually learning, reading, watching and testing. We should relish the chance to try new plants, and experiment with new combinations. We should be constantly stealing from others (with our eyes of course)!
But really, how can we justify always using the same old boring plants?