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Plan for a low maintenance landscape

28 May 2013
Plan for a low maintenance landscape

We all want an attractive landscape, but we don't all have hours of time to spend taking care of it. If you're balancing garden care with work, child care, and other responsibilities and activities, here are some suggestions for getting the most garden payoff for the least amount of time spent.

Rely Trees and Shrubs
Use properly chosen trees and shrubs in mulched beds as the backbone of your garden design. They'll provide long-term structure and seasonal interest for the least amount of effort over time. Once they are established, trees and shrubs that are well-adapted to the conditions your landscape offers will perform well with a minimum amount of care. Grouping plants in mulched beds will help to keep weeds down, conserve moisture, and make mowing easier.

Start by evaluating the conditions in your yard -- climate, soil conditions, light, and space. Consult gardening references, experienced gardeners, and knowledgeable garden store staff for advice on plants that are best suited to the conditions that exist in your garden. Checking out nearby native vegetation can give you an idea of what plants might do well in your garden. But don't assume that just because a plant is native to your general geographic region that it's a good bet for your yard. Only plants that are adapted to the specific conditions found in your garden are going to thrive, whether they are native or exotic.

Size Matters
Here is one of the most important pieces of low-maintenance advice: learn the ultimate height and spread of the trees and shrubs you choose, and plant them where they will have adequate room to develop. Don't plant anything that will eventually get too tall or wide for its location unless you are willing to remove the plant before it outgrows its space, and you'll save yourself countless maintenance headaches over the years.

Read more tips on the National Gardening Association website.