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Making Your Landscape Low Maintenance Without It Looking That Way

Low maintenance landscapes don’t have to look unkempt. The amount of care your landscape requires depends on both the design and the particular plants you select. Keep in mind, though, there’s no such thing as a maintenance-free landscape. Here are some ways in which you can substantially reduce the time it takes to make, and keep, your landscape picture perfect:

• Plant Evergreen Shrubs. Boxwoods, taxus (yews), some junipers, euonymus and dwarf evergreens require little or no pruning and they are green the year around. Besides looking nice during the growing season, they add color, other than white or brown, during the winter. The branches on evergreens are very flexible. Snow can bend them to the point that you want to go out and knock the snow off. Yet, if you resist the temptation, they’ll return to their normal position when the snow melts.

• Select Native Plants. Plants that are native to an area have adapted to the environment. As a result, they’re able to live in the native soil and survive on nature’s precipitation. Of course, they may need some fertilizer or compost if you have very bad soil with virtually no nutrients in it. And they may need water when your area is hit with a drought. Native plants also attract birds, wildlife and pollinators. Check with one of our landscape designers or a garden center horticulturist to be sure your plant selections are native. Many maples, for example, are from other places, and there are many cultivars of native maples.

• Plant A Cottage Garden. Small yards lend themselves to cottage gardens, but you can also set aside an area in a larger lot to plant a cottage garden. Cottage gardens are a staple in England and they’re catching on here as well. These informal gardens, composed of herbaceous perennials, give the impression that the plants just grew where the seeds were dropped but they are really very carefully designed. Here’s another place where native plants will be your best choice. Be sure you’re selecting the right plant for the right place. Add topsoil or compost if your soil is less than the best. Position the plants close together to discourage weeds and mulch between them. Then sit back and enjoy a sea of color all season long and for many seasons to come.

• Replace Some Turf With Groundcover. Your lawn is, arguably, the most labor-intensive portion of your landscape but few people around here want to part with it. An increasing number are willing let go of some grass and replace it with groundcover. Lawns require weekly mowing, multiple fertilizations and weed control applications during the season. Groundcover requires none of that.

These ideas should be viewed as thought starters. Bringing your low maintenance landscape to fruition will require research online, as well as visits to garden centers to read plant tags and consult with staff horticulturists. Or you could just work with one of our landscape designers. After you discuss with them what you have in mind, they will have already done much of the research and are able to make recommendations, which will save you a lot of time. The designer can then present you with a plan that has all the right plants in the right place, and our installation professionals can build your landscape so all you have to do is enjoy it.

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