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Planters-Lawn-Maintenance

Low Maintenance Plants for your Yard

Low maintenance plants for your garden

If you like to garden but prefer not to spend every waking moment nursing along the plants that you play host to, I totally get it. We love to poke about, water, weed and generally putter, but nobody wants to spend their season trying to keep limp, needy plants alive. During the planning stages of your garden, it pays to know what plants will survive in your zone and the mini climates of your yard. Different areas of your yard offer different benefits and draw backs.

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No need to resuscitate

Most of the time, it’s not that plants are needy, but that people try to grow them in the wrong places. The first step in looking for low maintenance plants is to ensure that you’re putting your picks in spots where they can thrive. Check for drought hardiness, the ability to take a little standing water, wind resistance, cold resistance, and how much shade or full sun it needs. What soil requirements does your plant need to thrive and does your yard offer a hospitable home? Plant accordingly.

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What are your plants special needs?

Is your plant a heavy feeder? Does it need a lot of watering? These types of plants can be wonderful but they may also take a little more of your time than other selections. Does your plant require staking or does it sprawl across the garden bed? These types may also require some of your help to stay neat and tidy. Does your plant of choice drop lots of leaves or flowers that will need to be raked up? Will it need to be pruned every year? How quickly will it grow and how often will it need to be divided? These are all things to consider when looking for a plant that will need little more than your daily admiration.

Easy perennials

As long as you plant them according to their needs most standard perennials will thrive and offer years of low maintenance enjoyment. Tiger lilies, irises, ornamental grasses, bleeding heart, yarrow, sedum, and ligularia are all relatively carefree garden companions. They’ll come back year after year, and will need a spring clean up or dividing every couple of years, but otherwise you can simply enjoy them. Most perennials have a limited flowering period of 2 to 4 weeks. Shasta daisies, for example, look wonderful in June but flowering is typically over by mid-July. For continual displays, chose perennials that flower at different periods. Be vigilant and cut back those aggressive growers that want to take over the garden. Black eyed susan, many varieties of grasses and lilies, have no problem taking over when you aren’t looking!

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Easy annuals

If you’re looking at annuals, these types of plants will need to be replaced every spring with new stock. They grow, flower and die every season, although some of them will easily offer up seeds which you can collect and plant for the next year. Marigolds, cosmos, verbena, nasturtium and portulaca (moss rose) are all great lazy gardener choices that will brighten a space without any fuss. Although you’ll need to replace them the following year, this gives you an opportunity to switch up your pot displays or garden spaces without much investment.
The better you understand the needs of your plants, the better a show they’ll provide you during the season. (And in the case of perennials, the next season too!) Visit the rest of our website for all of your landscaping and lawn maintenance needs.

Garden Designs and Landscaping Ideas

Garden Design / Landscaping Ideas

Whether you’re a gardening guru or a newbie looking at a clean slate, there is always room for yet another idea, or a change up if you’re bold with old designs.  Here are some tips to get you started.

Space

Gardens come in all shapes and sizes, and if you don’t have a yard, you’ve still got container options.  One really great tip is to start small.  If you dive in with a huge plot to plan, plant and maintain, you can easily become overwhelmed.  I’ve seen so many gardens that started with the right intentions but have turned into renovation nightmares.  When choosing plants, especially trees, consider their mature size, not just the size they’re at when you buy.  Don’t overplant.  Give them room to grow and fill in.

Garden Types

There are gorgeous garden options no matter where you live, and many zones have a variety of options to choose from.  Plan your garden, incorporating spaces to sit and enjoy your hard work.  The best seating area will be just outside your back door.  Make it inviting with great seating and shade to make it comfortable in the hottest part of the day or first thing in the morning.

Colour Scheme

You may have read about “colour rules” for your garden, but if you find something you love, go ahead and plant it; just do a little research to be sure it’s going to be a good fit, long term.  Size matters.  Consider foliage colour as well as bloom colours.  Many perennials have fairly short blooming periods and then you are left with the foliage which may not be all that attractive.

Garden Centres vs Big Box Stores

You might be tempted to shop at the nearest big box store where they advertise the cheapest rates for garden plants.  Remember, you get what you pay for.  Your local garden centres carry what they know will survive in your climate.  Big box stores carry what sells.  Case in point, my girlfriend who decided she wanted to include roses in her garden and headed out to drop $500 in the nearest box store.  Yes they were beautiful and yes they lasted all of about a month.  If she’d gone to a local garden centre, she would likely have spent far less, been armed with a host of roses, the knowledge of how to care for them and roses that would actually survive the season and many more seasons to come.

Perennials vs Annuals

A perennial is a plant that will come back year after year, generally with little maintenance.  Examples are daisies, lilies, foxglove, hostas, peonies, etc.  An annual is a one shot deal – the plant blooms, dies, and won’t reappear. Some annuals will need dead-heading to keep them blooming; geraniums for example.  Petunias, begonias, impatiens, coleus for example are consistent bloomers right until frost.  Consider annuals for shots of colour in well placed containers.  They will also supplement your “backbone” perennials in spaces that you won’t often want to change.

Whatever type of garden you plant, enjoy the process. Gardening will get you outside and improve your health in a host of different ways.  Whether you are doing the work; weeding, digging, watering and hauling compost, or simply enjoying the benefits of the most welcome space in your home, enjoy.  Take the advice of your horticultural trades professionals.  Explore your options!

 

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