There’s no denying that a well-groomed yard can tremendously boost the curb appeal of your home, but did you know that landscaping can add 5 to 15 percent on to your home’s overall value? In fact, landscaping is one of few home improvement investments that add value to your home almost immediately. But before you head outside to start uprooting your own yard, let’s talk about how to get the most bang for your buck with a low-maintenance landscaping plan.
Make a Landscaping Plan Prior to beginning your landscaping project, take a look around your yard as it is right now. Measure and divide your yard into zones keeping in mind the areas dedicated to growing, play, relaxation and entertainment, as well as noting the placement of large trees and shrubs and any paved areas. This breakdown of your yard will allow you to design a cohesive landscaping plan that can be used for years to come.
After you have identified the areas for growing, it is important to consider the following questions:
“What do you already have?”
“What do you want?”
“What are you willing to do?”
While you may love the look of a certain variety of flowers or shrubs, their upkeep may require more time and energy to maintain than you are willing or able to devote on a regular basis. Instead, strategically choosing a mixture of hardy perennial plants and flowers will allow you to test your gardening abilities with minimal risk of wasting your time, money and energy.
Spending a little extra time on the front end to properly prepare your flower beds will undoubtedly pay off in the long run in helping you to achieve a beautifully-landscaped yard that requires very little maintenance. Conducting an annual soil analysis test, for instance, helps you identify the nutrient content and composition that you have a better grasp on the plants and flowers that will thrive in your yard and what you can do to make your beds better for the long-term health and growth your plants. You’ll quickly learn that mulch is a gardener’s best friend. Adding a thin layer of fresh mulch to your flower bed not only helps to prevent the growth of weeds, it also helps to retain moisture and moderate soil temperature.
Buying the right gardening tools and equipment can help to make quick work of time-consuming tasks. It’s important to keep tools sharp and clean to prevent the potential spread of disease to your plants. One gardening tool you may consider purchasing is an automated irrigation system or a soaker hose with a programmable timer. Although it may be paired with an up-front cost, installing this automated system helps to ensure your plants get just the right amount of moisture while helping with water conservation efforts, saving you time, money and energy in the long-run.
Picking the Right Plants
Once your beds are prepped and ready for planting, it’s time to do some digging—digging up facts, that is!
The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map uses the average annual minimum winter temperatures to determine the plants most likely to survive in your area—Lafayette, Louisiana, falls under USDA Zone 9a. When selecting your plants, you’ll want to choose varieties that can survive in zone 9a or lower. Plants that are too tender won’t last, leaving you frustrated with wasted time, money and energy.
It’s a good idea to research the plants your considering prior to purchase so that you know what they need to survive, as well as the best time to prune or move them to prevent disruption in their growth down the line.
Choosing a combination of hardy perennial plants and flowers suited to the local environment that flower throughout spring and summer will add year-round color to your yard without breaking the bank. Keep in mind that it’s better to go for fewer plants with big impact rather than crowding a wide variety of plants requiring different levels of care into a small area.
When you have made your final decisions on which plants are going to be the best fit for your yard and lifestyle, be sure to buy healthy plants from a knowledgeable grower. Buying from a local nursery that knows their plant selection and is familiar with their desirable habitats can answer any questions you may have regarding performance and maintenance.
Although you have strategically chosen plants and flowers that require minimal upkeep, that doesn’t mean you are out of the weeds just yet. Schedule time for regular maintenance and tend to problems as they arise. Pulling stray weeds and deadheading flowers on a regular basis will ensure your plants stay healthy and continue their typical growth and bloom cycles for many seasons.
Initially, making changes to your landscaping can seem maintenance-heavy, but once you have established a master landscaping plan and carefully chosen a variety of plants best-suited for your yard, your patience and persistence will have paid off leaving you with a beautiful low-maintenance yard.