Gardening can be like cooking. Some of the best recipes are the simplest. Those that use a lot of ingredients are complicated to prepare while many recipes with only a few ingredients are tastier and much easier to prepare. Gardens can be beautifully simple and easy to maintain or they can be very complicated and maintenance intensive.
If you’re planning a new landscape, a renovated landscape or new gardens within your present landscape, I have a few thoughts for making it simple while lowering your maintenance.
Start with native plants. However, you don’t have to limit your palette to native plants. You can mix in introduced plants that have acclimated to this area, if they have built up resistance to insect and disease attacks. The inability to fend off pests is one of the things that has prompted the current native plant movement.
It’s a good idea to use local topsoil and soil amendments to help maintain an indigenous environment. If you source hardscape items like pavers and decorative rocks locally, you may be able to save money by reducing freight costs. If you source items like patio furniture and garden art locally, it’s more likely that its style is in sync with local styles and that it can survive in our harsh climate.
Using slow growing plants can also reduce the time you spend on garden maintenance. Slow growing plants need less pruning, trimming and shaping. Slower growing perennials don’t need to be divided as often, and slower growing turf grass doesn’t have to be mowed as often.
If you are planting trees around electric wires, be sure to plant slow growing trees that won’t grow to more than 20 feet tall. Tree pruning is a significant part of a utility’s annual budget. If enough people plant shorter trees near wires, utilities may be able to hold the line or even reduce rates. They will also be pleasantly surprised when they receive fewer calls from irate citizens upset with the radical pruning standards forced on them.
Finally, buy eco-friendly products for your garden. This includes biodegradable nursery pots, organic fertilizers and natural pest controls. This can result in less work for you, happier plants and a cleaner environment.
If you would like some advise about simplifying your specific garden, we would be happy to help you.