Thursday, May 31, 2012

Great Looking Landscaping for Less

I have been fortunate to have lived in a house for my entire adult life, and with a house includes outdoor spaces that must be maintained and worked in to keep the outside presentable. There are several tricks and tips I have learned along the way, as well as a few mistakes.

The first year I lived in a house with my husband I was very excited to be able to create the landscaping as I saw fit. I planted many annuals that looked beautiful. I planted petunias, geraniums, and other flowers. The problem with this plan was that I had to remember to water them almost daily through the summer or they would die or look terrible. Then, once fall came around I realized that all my hard work planting and keeping those flowers alive would have to be done all over again the next year!

Plants and flowers cost money to purchase and to keep alive. I very quickly learned that I wanted to create my landscaping but not have to “re-invent the wheel” each year with planting. I have many favorite plants that give texture, dimension, and color to my yard.

My first favorite plant that only requires water in the first few weeks after planting from a pot are ornamental grasses. These plants are great because they provide a tall plant that grows quickly in the spring/early summer. After summer once fall and winter approach they dry out but remain a plant that can be left through the winter. Just remember to cut down the dry grass as early in the spring as possible so the new green growth can be seen the next year. This plant grows in diameter after it has been established and can be divided and transplanted (again in early spring). I don’t find the need to water these plants through the summer.

My second favorite plant are hostas. Like the ornamental grasses, this plant will grow in diameter after it has been established in one spot for a year or two. In the early spring, this plant can be divided and transplanted. Hostas typically like to have some shading during the day, but my variety does fine with sun from sun up to around 4-5 p.m. I don’t find the need to water these plants unless it has been very hot with no rain in the middle of the summer.

My third favorite thing (not a singular type of plant) is to use pots for the pops of color through the landscaping. This is great for a few reasons. You can plant those flowers that only last one season and you can minimize the number of areas that need watered on a near-daily basis. This year, I didn’t even use flowering plants, but I used a single spiky plant for height and color, then surrounded it with two varieties of coleus.

Another favorite plant of mine are day lilies. This plant is much slower to grow in diameter, but once it does they do need to be thinned out every couple of years and can be divided and replanted. This plant can be in full sun, but the plant looks and stays healthier if they are planted under trees. They give landscaping a medium height plus the pop of color from the flower. This flowering plant is a perennial, so it will come back year after year!

As you can see from the picture, pots can look very nice when put IN the landscaping beds, they don’t have to only be for porches, decks, driveways, or corner markers. I had a rather large mound that was the previous home to an ornamental tree that had to be removed, so rather than trying to plant on the top where there were still many roots, I opted to take the focus to the green pots with coleus.

Be wise how you spend your landscaping dollars. Perennials are the plants that will live on through multiple years. Finding plants that can be divided down the road will help you keep consistency of plants throughout your entire yard and will not cost anything in additional plants. It is a great idea to ask friends or family who have a mature yard or growing plants if you can have a small start of their plants. Just make sure you think about it in the early spring before the plants start growing above ground! If you do the work for them, it is likely they will not mind.

Photographs used in this post are from,, and personal photos

1 comment:

  1. Are you going to do a follow up article? Would love to know what happens next.

    northampton landscaping supplies


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