It is possible to create a landscape that is impossible to maintain. A landscape should be aesthetically pleasing, functional and maintainable.
A pleasing, low maintenance landscape requires some planning and some thought put into correct plant selection and placement. You can think of it as low maintenance by design. Done correctly, you should end up with a landscape that is not only low maintenance but one that costs less in time and money to maintain.
One key in ending up with a low-care landscape is to follow the basic principle of the right plant in the right place. In other words, choose plants that are a good fit for the site.
A common mistake in landscaping is planting a plant that grows too large for the site or space. When a plant becomes too large for its location, the problem goes back to planting the wrong plant in the wrong place. It’s best to know the plant’s mature size in both height and width before we plant.
For example, properly selected and properly placed trees and shrubs need little pruning. Overgrown plants that require routine pruning to “force them to fit” into a smaller space should be considered for replacement with smaller-maturing plants. The real problem is that you have the wrong plant in the wrong place. The person that planted the tree or shrub did not do his or her homework. To avoid having to routinely “butcher” a nice tree or shrub, choose a smaller maturing plant that better fits the space. Plants are genetically designed to grow to a certain size in height and width. The plant that requires routine pruning will regrow again and again to its genetically designed size, requiring pruning again and again.
To help in developing a low-care landscape, the UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteers in Okaloosa County will offer a free lecture on low maintenance landscaping on Wednesday, October 16. This one-hour presentation will begin at 10 a.m. and will be held at the Okaloosa County Extension Office located at 3098 Airport Road in Crestview.
Marie Harrison, local author of four coastal gardening books, will be the speaker. She will share her goals, techniques and photos of her new low maintenance landscape.
Seating is limited for this seminar and reservations are required. Please call the UF/IFAS Okaloosa County Extension Office at 850-689-5850 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat.
You also may be interested in the UF/IFAS Extension publication “Twenty-Two Ideas for a Low-Care, Low Cost Landscape” available online at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep442 or from the UF/IFAS Extension Office in your County.