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Landscaping with Low-Maintenance Plantsfrom: Lawn and Garden Magic
The prospect of landscaping may seem like a daunting task if you consider what might be inconveniences associated with taking care of plants and gardens and trees and having to do it without spending a great deal of money to have someone else do it. However, there are many people who enjoy working endlessly on their landscapes, which is commendable. On the other hand, there are those who want to have as little trouble and spend as little money as possible on their home's yard. This is also acceptable.
Fortunately, for those who want to have a beautifully adorned home, it's possible to do so with a low-maintenance landscape. By carefully choosing plants that need little care, it's quite possible to have a nice-looking property while at the same time saving time and money on its upkeep. The key strategy is good plant selection and the proper establishment of the plants in their places.
So that's the place to start — choose plants that require very little maintenance. For those who dislike raking leaves or pine needles, trees that frequently shed are not desirable. Instead, choose plants such as spruce and Alberta pine because they're moderate growers and they don't drop leaves or needles as often as other trees. Also, avoid fruit-bearing plants that make a mess. Crabapple trees with resistance to apple scab hold their fruit well (even against birds) and aren't prone to summer defoliation
Flowers such as rhododendrons, pansies, tulips and wildflowers don't 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 don't require a lot of attention and don't make a mess.
When you choose plants, search out quality plants. Find reputable nurseries and suppliers. This saves money in the long run because you won't have to buy new plants when the first don't survive their plantings. Planting is a stressful time for any plant and if it's 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, so it's wise to purchase from a store or nursery that offers a guarantee at no extra cost. If you encounter a problem down the road, your place of purchase will replace the ailing plant for free.
One of the best things you can do to keep your landscaping costs down and your involvement 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 learn 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's 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'll find that, if you've chosen wisely, they need very little of your attention to thrive. When planting, it's best to make the hole shallow and wide. Don't 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 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's also important to remember that you will need to ensure adequate water at first, until the root system is fully developed.
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