Planning a Low-Maintenance Garden

Gardening is a lot of fun, and there’s little more soothing than being surrounded by healthy plants you selected yourself. However, gardening can also be time -onsuming and expensive. Fortunately, with a little planning, you can have a healthy landscape with minimal upkeep.

When you’re researching plants, the first thing to look at is their hardiness zone. The USDA has assigned zones to different parts of the country based on average temperature.  Check with your county extension agent.  In the Twin Cities this is especially important, because the surrounding northern and southern communities are now in different hardiness zones. As you’re shopping, check the plant labels to verify their zone matches the one you live in.

Different plants require different amounts of sunlight. To determine how much light your property gets, take some time on a day you’re home to observe how sun hits your property. It’s ideal to check about every hour and make note of how the light moves.  This way, you’ll be able to place your plants more accurately according to their needs.

While some plants do wonderfully in well-drained soil, others need soils which hold a good deal of water.  Before you go plant shopping, check the type of soil you already have. If you can pick plants that flourish in what’s already there, you won’t need to alter the existing soil.

A plant’s appearance in your unique garden also depends on its size. Most labels indicate how tall and bushy the plant could ideally get.  Checking this will help you do two things:

1.  Determine where the plant will look best.  A large plant will look better towards the back of the garden instead of in front.

2.  Figure out the spacing of the plants:  When you know how bushy your plantings can get, you’ll be able to space them to accommodate.

As charming as rabbits or deer look, they can still destroy foliage.  An effective way to dissuade them from doing so is to select species they don’t enjoy. If you have a deer problem, planting daffodils will turn them away, due to their dislike of the flower.  There are also other pungent plants which can deter certain wildlife.  If you’ve had rabbits causing damage to your plants over the winter, see our earlier post on how to repair rabbit damage as well as prevent it in the future. 

With a little  planning, you can enjoy beautiful landscaping throughout the growing season while saving yourself time, money, and stress.