Garden Landscaping that Requires Minimal Maintenance
When landscaping a garden, many homeowners make the mistake of using piecemeal tactics, purchasing one plant at a time or addressing one part of the garden after another. The problem with this technique is that it results in a lot of work, extra maintenance needs and increased costs. Creating a low maintenance yard on a shoestring budget does pose some challenges, but it is possible with a little time, effort and planning.
Put a Plan in Place
Start your gardening efforts by making a plan. Walk your yard to get an idea in your head about what you would like to plant and where. Make note of any problem spots such as particularly shady areas or spots that are covered by tree root or rocky terrain. Also, make a list of your yard’s assets such as areas that receive good sun exposure, existing beds that require little tilling or areas where grass grows freely, with minimal effort. Write all this information down, and use it as a guide while making purchases, placing plants, trees and grass or researching information.
Search for Free Resources
After you have an idea of what your gardening efforts will entail, look for resources in your community. Many communities offer free wood chips, mulch or even native plants. If you have a new community being built nearby, contractors might have unused bricks, pavers, lumber or stones. Free services availalbe in your area such as testing the soil or water quality in order to better understand what to plant and where for the lowest maintenance are also of value. Acquiring free items can save you money and help you to create a low maintenance garden, but remember to consider the cost of transporting goods and any labor for installation before making a firm commitment.
Once you have some materials in hand, it’s time to start planting. One of the best ways to reduce the amount of time and money you must spend on your yard is to let go of grass wherever possible. Grass is high maintenance and needs to be mowed, fertilized, weeded, over seeded and watered regularly. Either you have to complete these tasks yourself or pay someone to do them for you. Instead of including a grassy bed in your yard or garden, opt for simpler solutions. A paved gravel path adds a beautiful touch to any yard, optimizes drainage and decreases the presence of weeds on your property. Alternately, you can fill open spaces with a plant like creeping thyme that quickly grows to cover a large area, requires minimal watering and accents any garden beautifully.
Another way to save yourself time and money is by choosing native plants. The bushes, trees and blooms that grow wild in your area are already acclimated to the wildlife, soil, weather and rain conditions. This means that growing them requires less watering, fertilizing, pesticide treatments and general care. Determining which plants are native in your part of the country can be tricky, so it is helpful to discuss your needs with a local gardening expert or do a little Internet research. When researching this topic on your own, locate plants that are native to your state and not the general country. A plant that is native to Florida may suffer or need a lot of extra care if planted in Ohio.
Perennials are Your Friends
When making a decision about flowering plants in your garden, add more perennials than annuals if lower cost and maintenance is your goal. Whereas annuals live for only one growing season, perennials hibernate in the coldest months and reappear in spring. This means less time spent planting and less money spent purchasing new plants year after year. Some of the lowest maintenance perennials include:
Reduce Time Spent Pruning
Finally, fill your yard with mostly plants that require little to no pruning. This involves considering the mature size of your tree or shrub versus the area you want to cover. Choose a variety that does not exceed that amount of space you are covering but is not smaller than the full coverage area for maximum results. Evergreens are hardy in many different climates, and they self-sustain with minimal water and effort. Dogwood shrubs are another beautiful variety that only requires renewal pruning on an occasional basis. The oleander does best if you only prune it once every few years, and rosemary is a stunning but easy to care for choice that fills the air with an enticing fragrance and presents with gorgeous blooms.
Every garden requires some maintenance, but modeling your green space in a way that takes advantage of the assets nature presents you with means spending less time working in your yard and more time enjoying it. Make the right choices, reduce grassy space and use free resources available in your community to create a beautifully landscaped garden and your own easy to care for backyard oasis.