For many, the prospect of landscaping fills them with dread as they contemplate the inconveniences associated with taking care of plants and gardens and trees without spending a great deal of money to have someone else do it. There are people who enjoy endlessly working on their landscapes (and this is commendable), and there are those who wish to take as little trouble, and spend as little money, as possible about their homes yard. This is also acceptable.
Luckily, for those who want to have a beautifully adorned home, it is possible to do so with a low-maintenance landscape. By carefully choosing plants that need little care, it is possible to have a nice-looking property and save time and money in attention to its upkeep. The keys are good plant selection and the proper establishment of the plants in their places.
The first thing to do is choose plants that require very little maintenance. For those who dislike raking leaves or pine needles, trees that frequently shed are not desirable. Plants like spruce and Alberta pine are moderate growers, and they do not drop leaves or needles as often as other trees. Avoid fruit-bearing plants that make a mess.
Crabapple trees with resistance to apple scab hold their fruit well (even against birds) and are not prone to summer defoliation. Flowers such as rhododendrons, pansies, tulips, and wildflowers do not need much care. Most bulb flowers (irises, tulips, crocuses, etc.) are fairly self-sufficient, as they store up nutrients in their bulbs.
Choose perennial flowers that bloom every year rather than annuals that last one season, die, and then require the purchase of more plants. Shrubs and low bushes (like mugo pine and juniper) are also hardy varieties that do not require much attention and make very little mess.
When you choose plants, search out quality plants. Find reputable nurseries and suppliers. This saves money in the long run, as you will not have to buy new plants when the first do not survive their plantings. Planting is a stressful time for any plant, and if is already weakened by disease, environmental issues, or pest problems, then it may not recover.
Choose plants that look vigorous and healthy, and check them closely before purchase for things like pest problems and disease. Some home improvement warehouses, like Home Depot and Lowe’s, actually offer guarantees on their plants, as do many nurseries: these warranties last anywhere from 6 months to 1 year. Purchase from a store or nursery that offers these guarantees at no extra cost, and then if you encounter a problem down the road, your place of purchase will replace the ailing plant for free.
One of the best things that you can do to keep your landscaping costs down and your involvement in it minimal is to choose plants adapted to the growing conditions in your area. A visit (usually for free) to the local master gardener will allow you to find out which plants grow best in your area.
Keeping up your landscape is much easier when you are not fighting nature to ensure the survival of your plants. Choose native plants, or choose plants that are native to a climate similar to the one in which you live. Ornamental grasses, trees, and shrubs that grow well in your climate and with the conditions of the soil in your yard make excellent choices for low-maintenance landscaping.
Finally, it is imperative that you follow sound planting practices when you begin your landscaping. Any initial landscaping will take a certain amount of work, but once you complete the proper installation of plants on your property, you will find that, if you have chosen wisely, they need very little of your attention to properly thrive.
Best Planting Practices
When planting, it is best to make the hole shallow and wide. Do not plant your flowers, trees or shrubs in holes deeper than the planting container. If the soil is of a harder variety, you should dig the hole deeper than you want (the hole should be two or three times as wide as you need it in any case) and then fill in with a planting mix or loosened soil to the desired depth. This will make it easier for your new plants to take root. It is important to remember that you will need to ensure adequate water at first, until the root system is fully developed.