It may seem a bit early to think about next spring’s landscape renovations, but I assure you it’s not. Planning a beautiful landscape takes time, and you don’t typically have landscaping chores in the winter, so using that time to plan will allow you to hit the ground running, come spring.
All good plans begin with objectives, and your landscape renovation plan is no exception. One objective that many property owners put right at the top of the list is lower maintenance. People today are so busy they have to budget their time, and landscapes often don’t get the TLC they need and deserve.
There are a number of design considerations that can lead to reduced maintenance. Planting the right plant in the right place should be number one. This may seem basic, and it appears in every garden story but people often forget this axiom when visiting a nursery. You may find a plant that you absolutely fall in love with. If it’s not suitable for the site you have planned, I recommend resisting the temptation to buy it and plant it in that spot anyway.
If you just must have it, consider whether you have a more suitable site on your property for your newfound botanic love. If you don’t, ask one of the horticulturists at your garden center if there is a similar plant that’s better suited for the site you have in mind. Planting the wrong plant in the wrong place will, inevitably, sour your love affair with that plant very quickly, and it will cost you more to keep it alive. Since stressed plants are more attractive targets for pests, you’ll spend more on pest control. The plant’s dissatisfaction with its new home will increase its need for fertilizer. If it grows too big for the site, you’ll have to pay for frequent pruning. And the list goes on.
Selecting native plants or nativars (cultivars of native plants) can also decrease maintenance requirements. Native plants have grown here for many years so they have adapted to our growing conditions. There are also many introduced plants that have adapted well to our environment. Making sure you buy only plants that have adapted successfully requires a little research.
Some of the negative factors you’ll experience from planting non-natives or introduced plants that haven’t adapted well is that they may become invasive. This will require them to be cut back constantly. Plants that haven’t adapted well are also preferred targets for many insects and diseases, increasing the need for pest control.
Starting on your design now will give you plenty of time to do your due diligence to be sure you are doing everything humanly possible to assure that the plants you choose will live a long, healthy life with minimal care.
If you aren’t into plant research, or are concerned about the accuracy of your data, you can turn to one of our landscape designers. They already have the answers to those questions that you’ll spend time researching. And, they spend their winters designing landscapes and landscape renovations for early spring installation.