When To Call A Landscaping Professional
If you need help designing and installing your low-maintenance landscape, a pro landscaper has the expert advice youre seeking. Local pros will know the best plants for your area, and they will have the construction experience required for large projects like installing patios and building retaining walls.
Even beyond design and installation, landscaping professionals can make your life easier. Many contractors offer regular maintenance services such as bush trimming, lawn treatments, and leaf removal.
Along with our low-maintenance landscaping suggestions, these pros can help homeowners have a beautiful Portland yard without the hassle of taking care of it yourself.
Bring Your Yard Into The Era Of Automation
An automatic irrigation system can help your landscape through dry spells without you having to get out in the yard with a watering can every day. Simply set the timer so your sprinklers know when to come on, and theyll handle the rest. If you want a traditional lawn and garden but dont want to tie yourself to a watering schedule, an automatic irrigation system might be for you.
The convenience of an automatic irrigation system comes at a cost, though. Installing sprinklers can get expensive, especially since theyll send your water bill through the roof. The average price of a sprinkler system ranges from $2,539 to $4,773. The good news is theyll pay you back in their own way by increasing your homes property value.
Incorporate Tree Logs And Branches
A rustic pergola made from reclaimed logs.
For a rustic backyard that gives a nod to nature parks, make a garden path from tree logs in place of concrete or other artificial materials. This give-back-to-nature DIY is especially useful if you have a fallen tree or branch and are looking for a way to put the scrap material to use. Cut the logs into two-inch chunks, and seal with a waterproof wood sealer. Arrange and connect with heavy-duty wood glue where the logs touch.
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Garden Ideas And Landscape Design
For all of us who have a great passion for creating unique landscapes and artistic gardens here are tips and garden pictures to inspire you.
Not only will landscaping greatly improve your homes value and curb appeal but spending time in a garden can bring about physical, mental, and social restoration.
My blog will have many tips, tricks, and to-do lists for each month to keep your yard and gardens in tip top shape.
Use What You Already Have
A few potted plants, chairs and a side table transform any backyard nook.
You dont have to start entirely from scratch when designing your backyard landscape. Think about elements you already have. Got a shady nook? Brainstorm how you can make it the most useful backyard space for you. A hammock and a small walkway can transform an empty spot into a retreat for a cool afternoon slumber.
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Design For Low Maintenance
Many of the maintenance needs of a garden are determined by the design. By following a few simple guidelines, you can build in ease of care from the start.
Simplicity: Keep the planting design simple. Make certain each plant in the plan serves a purpose. Elaborate plantings require a great deal of attention. Simple plantings, using only a few plant species, can be both attractive and easy to manage.
Materials Selection: Some elements of a landscape need more care than others. Generally, paving such as patios and walks require the least care. They are followed by structures such as sheds and arbors, then trees, shrubs, ground covers, and lawns. Bulbs, annual and perennial flowers, and plants that need special care such as roses need the most maintenance. Since few of us would want a garden without any seasonal flowering plants, the maintenance impact can be reduced by planting high-care plants in limited numbers and where they will have the most impact.
Beds: Planting beds are easier to maintain than many isolated plantings. It is easier to mow around a bed with a continuous edge rather than around individual plants. Gentle curves or straight lines are both easier to care for and more pleasing than complicated curves and shapes. Avoid sharp corners or narrow strips that mowers cannot reach. Beds should be narrow enough for easy access, or be designed with steppingstones or paths through them.
Anchoring A Hillside Garden
The soil on a hillside is often less than ideal. The topsoil tends to wash off quickly, taking the nutrients and fertility with it. It’s not uncommon to have a hillside, primarily rocks, barely covered with a topping of soil. In that case, you may have to create planting pockets and add some additional soil to establish plants.
This gardener made use of two workhorses, astilbe and hosta. Both can grow in the shade of this creek hillside, and both are hardy enough to take hold in the poor soil. She divided the original plants and quickly covered the entire slope within a few years.
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Gardening A Roadside Slope
It’s lovely to have a house situated on a hill overlooking the landscape, but that sometimes means your yard slopes down to the road, giving you the effect of a hell strip in your front yard. As with any other slope, you need tough plants that won’t require a lot of grooming. Shrubs and evergreen are ideal for this situation. Since you don’t want to obscure the view at the side of the road completely, fill in the front section with lower-growing perennials that will not need frequent division, such as hosta and ferns.
Accessorise The Fifth Room
Think about how you can turn your outdoor space into a relaxing sanctuary with cosy garden decor and tactile furnishings. Essentially you want to create a living room look, it’s just outdoors rather than inside, so bear this in mind when on the hunt for decor and accessories.
For example, you could invest in an outdoor rug along with chunky knit throws, lanterns, and outdoor cushions for an inviting and snug feel. Reflect light around your chosen spot with a garden mirror invest in a waterproof speaker choose citronella candles to keep bugs at bay keep warm in the evenings with a patio heater, and last but certainly not least, dot smaller potted plants around the space, much as you would with houseplants.
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A Happy Home For Hardscapes
In place of a garden , you could fill your front and backyard with hardscapes.
What is a hardscape? Hardscapes are the nonliving elements in your lawn, such as patios, fire pits, retaining walls, and pathways. Hardscapes only require occasional cleaning, and they take up space where there would otherwise be grass to mow and plants to water.
Interested in putting in a patio? Check out these prices to see what fits your budget:
- A typical patio professionally installed costs between $2,363 and $5,909.
- A paver patio costs anywhere from $3,476 to $8,872.
- A concrete patio ranges from $1,533 to $4,740.
When you install hardscapes with pavers or flagstone, lay a solid foundation first. While it will be more work in the present, this foundation will save you time and energy in the future because it will keep the stones from sliding and shifting over the years.
For more information: Oregon State Universitys 10-step guide to installing pavers includes detailed instructions on laying the base material.
Curious about how to spruce up your yard with other hardscaping elements? Give these a try:
- Adding a gazebo to your yard typically ranges from $5,364 to $9,027.
- Or try a pergola for an average cost of $2,216 to $8,959.
- If big projects arent your thing, try a fire pit, which ranges from $500 to $3,433.
Showy Succulent Stone Planters
Modern yet rustic, dramatic but easy to care for, this succulent display is perfect for a xeriscape or low water yard. Succulents are available in many color varieties and require very little care. Be sure to use a mixture of textures and types including small yuccas or aloes for height and creeping succulents to fill in gaps for the best results. Western gardeners will appreciate how little water and care this kind of display requires, but this kind of succulent planter can be used in almost any climate. If you live in an area with cold or wet winters, bring your planters inside to keep your succulents happy.
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Frequent Questions People Ask About Container Plants For Full Sun And Heat
What potted plants do well in the full hot sun?There are a number of potted plants that do well in the full hot sun. Among these are cactus, succulents, and certain types of palms and ferns.
Cactus and succulents are drought resistant and can store water in their leaves or stems, making them ideal for hot, dry conditions.
Palms and ferns have large leaves that can act as natural umbrellas, providing shade and protection from the harsh sun.
What flowers do good in full sun and heat?There are a variety of flowers that do well in full sun and heat. Some examples include cosmos, zinnias, marigolds, impatiens, and petunias.
Flowers that enjoy full sun usually have bright colors that can withstand the intense rays of the sun. They also tend to be drought-tolerant and can survive in warmer climates.
When choosing flowers for full sun or hot climate, its important to pick ones that are heat-resistant and can handle being in direct sunlight for long periods of time.
What container flowers do well in full sun and wind?Container flowers that do well in full sun and wind include marigolds, impatiens, and petunias. They are all heat- and drought-tolerant, and can withstand high winds.
What can I plant in extreme heat?There are a number of plants that can thrive in extreme heat. Bitter melon, for example, is a popular vegetable in many hot climates. Other options include okra, eggplant, and chili peppers.
Give Ground Cover A Chance
If you dont like the idea of a fake lawn but also dont like the idea of having to mow your grass during the hot Houston summer either, theres another alternative. Instead of grass, you could use a ground cover plant in your lawn. Ground covers are alive and lush, but they dont require mowing.
There are many kinds and colors of ground cover. Some are simply green like traditional grass, while others bloom through part of the year with colorful flowers. Ground cover plants that do well in Houstons USDA Hardiness Zone include:
The only maintenance most hardscapes require is occasional cleaning, and they take up space in your yard that would otherwise have grass or plants that need care.
When you install hardscapes made with pavers or flagstone, make sure you lay a solid foundation. If you dont, flooding and other issues in the future can easily cause the stones to shift, turning your landscape into a mess youll have to work hard to clean up.
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Creating An Alpine Hillside Garden
Consider yourself lucky if your hillside is basically scree or naturally covered in rocks. You can create a unique alpine garden that will draw the eye upward. Follow this gardener’s lead and use the existing rocks, but reposition them. Larger slabs are used as steps and platforms. She also makes liberal use of hypertufa or artificial limestone, which blends in beautifully with the natural stone. Finally, pea gravel is used as a mulch, to prevent runoff and create a unifying color palette.
Large evergreens give the planting weight, and self-sowing perennials, like corydalis, are allowed to fill in where they will and soften the rocky ledge.
Low Maintenance Evergreen Border With A Pop Of Color
Do you want to steer clear of annual flowers altogether, but still enjoy a flashy bit of color in your front yard? While evergreens certainly keep a yard from feeling bare in the winter, azaleas have the added benefit of producing breathtaking floral displays during the spring and early summer. They come in a wide variety of colors from deep fuschia to white and are adapted to a large number of climates. Mixed with other non-blooming evergreens, as they are in this example, they add interest to an entryway display without the extra work of maintaining blooming annual flowers or bulbs.
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Work With The Architecture And Overall Style Of Your House
Is your home characterized by formal symmetry, with a centered door and equal numbers of windows lined up on either sidesuch as on Georgians, Federals, or some Colonial Revivals?
If so, you may want to consider a design that has some formal elements, with sheared shrubs accenting the entry and mirror-image plantings on each side of it. On the other hand, informal, cottage-style homes and low-slung ranches look best with more casual, asymmetrical plant schemes.
In both cases, avoid competing elements that detract from the main entrance and the house in general, such as tall plantings that block views of your home, or a lone bed in the middle of an open lawn. The area around the entrance is where guests experience your landscape close up, so make this area welcoming with an interesting contrast of plant forms, flowers, and foliage colors and textures.
Elsewhere on the facade, a stretch of bare wall between windows is often an invitation for a larger shrub, a small tree, or even a vine-covered trellis. Around windows, be sure not to cut off light and air with plants that will grow too high.
Tall plantings placed at the corners of the house help soften its edges and tie it into the landscape. They can also give the illusion of extending a small house, making it appear larger.
Ornamental Grass: Ribbon Grass
Deer-resistant ribbon grass is a perennial that can be grown as a groundcover or for erosion control on slopes. Ribbon grasses can spread aggressively, so check with your local extension service office to be sure the plants are not banned in your area.
‘Strawberries & Cream’, shown here, is one of our favorites. Plant ribbon grass in average soil in full sun to light shade its colors are better in full sun, but the sun in hot climates may bleach the flowers and foliage. Prune to the ground in late winter.
Hardy in USDA Zones 4-9, this variety grows to 24″ tall and 24″-48″ wide. In Zone 4-6, plant in spring. In Zones 7-9, plant in spring or early fall. In all zones, mulch after planting and again before the first frost.
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Incorporate A Bench Swing
A bench swing is a playful approach to relaxing.
Though bench swings are common porch additions, this doesnt mean you cant have one in your backyard as well. There are various prefab bench swing options available, or you could design and build one yourself. Although many bench swings can and do stand alone, you could also consider hanging one from a pergola to achieve that front-porch look.
Pay Attention To Your Boundaries
In a small garden, boundary walls, fences or hedges may be the biggest element in view, so it’s really important for them to look good. They don’t have to all be the same but try to provide visual links between them. You could have the same type of fence, for instance, and grow climbers up them in coordinating colours. If you aren’t able to change the fences, whitewash them or clad them with battens or trellis. Check with your neighbours first to establish whose fence it is and ask permission before doing any work.
The materials you choose are key, too. For example, timber posts don’t have to be confined to fencing a garden off from the neighbours. Carefully positioned within a garden, they can be used to frame plants or seating areas and add extra interest to borders or paths.
A really inventive use can be seen in the NHS 70 Garden for Addenbrooke’s Hospital by garden landscape company Bowles & Wyer. They used reclaimed oak posts to frame the view along a meandering path at its centre, positioning them at different heights and angles so that new aspects of the space open up to visitors as they make their way through.
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No Such Thing As Too Much Mulch
Mulch is the aesthetic backbone of most manicured landscape beds, but it has more to offer than just a pretty surface. Mulch suppresses weeds and helps plants retain moisture at the roots. With mulch in your garden, youll spend much less time weeding.
If you use organic mulch , youll have to replace it each spring because organic mulch will break down into the soil, adding nutrients. Inorganic mulch , on the other hand, usually wont need replacing for several years.To put down another block to weeds, consider installing landscape fabric or another weed barrier under your mulch.
Dont Get Irritated Get Irrigated
A water-wise landscape might not be for you, but that doesnt mean you have to tie yourself to a watering schedule. With an automatic irrigation system, all you have to do is set a timer and let the sprinklers handle the rest. Theyll water your lawn and garden for you while you take care of your more important business .
Though installing irrigation systems is usually an expensive project, it can be worth the high price tag since sprinklers make your landscape more low-maintenance and increase your homes property value.
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