Easy-Care Gardening

Gardening, Home & Family
on October 8, 2013
park and bench

Everyone loves a nice yard, but not everyone loves maintaining it. Follow these tips for creating an attractive, low-maintenance landscape.

Plan it. A couple hours of planning can save you hundreds of hours of maintenance. Most home improvement stores and nurseries can help you map out where to put trees, shrubs, flowers, grass and other landscape items. In addition to marking locations for shrubs and trees, identify the specific low-maintenance plants and trees you will need. In many cases, you’ll need to plan an irrigation system.

Keep it simple. A simple lawn can be a beautiful lawn. Often, homeowners make invest heavily in landscaping only to let their yard sit in disarray because it’s too hard to maintain. Keep in mind that everything you add to your lawn will add to your maintenance. That 6-foot rock bed, for example, leads to increased weeding and edging. A concrete fountain leads to cleaning and maintenance. Elaborate plants and flowers require pruning and upkeep.

Keep it native. The Agrilife Extension at Texas A&M University in College Station recommends letting nature take care of maintenance by setting aside an area of the yard for native plants and natural landscapes.

Start by eliminating weeds. The best time to get rid of weeds is before you landscape the yard. Weeds are much easier to deal with before turf, grass and other plants are installed. This is especially true of perennial weeds. If you have a rock bed or desert landscaping, lay down weed block fabrics to prevent weeds from coming up.

Mulch the maintenance away. Lay down a thick layer of mulch to deter weed growth and lessen the amount of watering needed. Another benefit of mulch is that when it breaks down it releases nutrients into the soil.

Choose the right grass. Although appearance plays a role in which type of grass you choose, you’ll want to choose a slow-growing type that’s drought-resistant and suited for your region.

Choose plants wisely. Select plants native to your area and not prone to disease or insect attack. Slow-growing shrubs mean less trimming. If you want to add color to your landscape with flowers, remember that perennials require less maintenance than annuals, but still need to be maintained. If you choose to go with flowers, plant them in a location that provides maximum enjoyment with a minimum of maintenance.

Install irrigation. Summer takes its toll on many lawns. Unless you feel like dragging out the hose every morning, you'll want to invest in an irrigation system. Design the system to make sure all plants, trees, shrubs and grass get the right amount of water. Although irrigation systems require regular maintenance and inspection, it's much less maintenance than regular watering by hand.

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