Nearly every client we meet asks for their landscape we are about to design to be “low maintenance.” This has been a theme for several years now, but recently seems to be really gaining some serious traction. So, what do we mean by a low maintenance landscape and how might it be different that what you currently have? Here are our insights into having your very own low maintenance landscape.
- It all begins with your soil, your living soil. Nutrient rich and living soils work for the plants, trees & grasses all the time. As time presses on they should require less input from you in the form of less fertilizers and moving to zero pesticides. This living soil also has the ability to hold greater amounts of water than a soil devoid of organic matter and “life.”
- Right plant, right place. Simple right? Might seem so but it is amazing how many times we are asked to plant something in the wrong light condition, or wrong soil condition or to close to a structure. The truth is that all the plantings in your garden will need some attention, this is because it is a cultivated space and not a naturally occurring space like in nature.
- A plants best food is its own foliage. What this means is that for deciduous shrubs & trees the best practice is to use their leaves as a natural mulch over the winter. This organic material can then be later cultivated into the soil or a decorative mulch layer can be placed lightly over the top.
- Fill up your beds! Add more plants to the open spaces to help choke out invasive weeds. Remember that in nature, weeds are there as a cover crop to go over an area that was recently disturbed or are barren. So, don’t give the weeds a place to grow.
- Consider removing some of your lawn and adding more planting bed space. Remember, lawns use much water and require a high level of input to maintain a thick, green appearance year round. Maybe you could increase your back yard patio size, add a seating wall to surround it and then finish with some beautiful low care native varieties.
- If you must keep your lawn use the simple tactic of mulch mowing or “grasscycling.” Turf grass research shows that by using proper mowers it is better to return clippings to the turf for nutritional replenishment. One side effect is a lower reliance upon fertilizers as you are now naturally fertilizing your lawn each time you grasscycle.