Landscaping adds beauty and value to our property. As I pointed out in a previous blog, it can ad as much a 15 percent to the value of your property. That’s why I recommend careful maintenance.
Careful maintenance doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. By careful maintenance, we mean efficient maintenance. Here are a few tips on how to carefully maintain your landscape to keep it as healthy as possible:
- Keep It Simple. This starts right at the design stage. Don’t plant more than you can maintain. Group your plants according to type of maintenance they need, especially their water requirements. Plant in such a way that your desirable plants cover most of the ground and choke out weeds, rather than vice versa. If this sounds like a good idea, but you already have a high maintenance landscape, this might be the year to renovate to a low maintenance landscape.
- Don’t over water. Some people overwater their landscapes while others do not water enough. Landscape plants need an inch of water a week. In our area, we seldom have to irrigate, except in the midst of a drought. We usually have enough rain and snow to keep established plants sufficiently hydrated.
Grouping plants according to their watering needs will reduce the amount of water used. Also, you won’t be over watering some plants in the group while under watering others. You’ll know if you’re overwatering; the leaves turn yellow and drop.
- How much maintenance do you want to do? How much time do you want to spend maintaining your landscape and how much are you willing to invest in hiring others to do the work? If you choose to do the work yourself, you will probably choose more easy-care plants. If you don’t enjoy landscaping and have the money to hire professionals, you might be able to include plants that are more labor-intensive. Remember, though, circumstances change. We aren’t getting any younger and maintenance tasks that were fun a few years ago may not be so today. One thing to remember, though, is that there is no such thing as a completely maintenance-free landscape.
- Mulch to protect plants. Mulch your planting beds and the area around the base of trees with two-to-three inches of organic matter, such as composted wood chips. Mulch holds moisture in the soil and moderates soil temperature. Mulch can also reduce weed growth. This alone reduces maintenance. However, when mulching around trees, do not pile the mulch up against the trunk in a mulch volcano. Keep it an inch or two from the trunk.
As you can see, a substantial part of careful landscape maintenance is in the planning. It’s like the old carpenter’s adage, “Measure twice, saw once.” Take sufficient time to plan the maintenance needs of your landscape and you’ll have more time to enjoy its beauty.