by Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener, Watters Garden Center
Whether it’s having hardscape features installed, performing chores or selecting plants for the yard, it’s helpful to understand the insider secrets landscapers won’t share. Thinking like a professional saves money, time and frustration.
These tricks can help transform your plantings from a mere collection of plants into a sophisticated landscape design.
Hardscaping is everything nonliving like irrigation, raised beds, ponds and retaining walls. Hardscape features are captivating, but not all are equally necessary. Some types of hardscapes are exceedingly expensive; it is essential to prioritize landscaping on a budget.
Everyone gets excited over the idea of having an elite terrace complete with an outdoor kitchen. But a straightforward patio roofed with a covered pergola is often a better investment. It offers a permanent, shaded retreat for dining, chatting with friends or simply enjoying the nearby flower beds.
Save time with these lawn-care hacks
After you lay down a mowing strip and see how much time it saves, you’ll kick yourself for not discovering this landscaper’s secret sooner. It consists of a row of pavers separating the grass from an adjacent area or structure. You run the wheels on one side of the mower on top of this strip, giving you a clean cut along the border. No need to go back later to edge and touch up.
Save additional time by using a mulching mower. The finely mulched grass acts as lawn fertilizer.
Strike a balance
A way to add style to your design is to vary the viewer’s sightline. A landscape berm is the easiest, but consider growing a variety of different plants in terms of height. Provide transitions between them for a smooth flow.
Let’s say a row of landscape trees line the northern property line. To bring the viewer’s eye level down a notch, plant shrubs in front of them. Complete the three-tiered design with an edging of ground-cover plants.
A great secret landscape design is planting a group of plants together in odd numbers and repeating this grouping elsewhere in the yard. This could be three Gold Star Potentilla grown together in a flower border at the driveway, complemented by a group of five more in a foundation bed. Each group achieves a more significant impact than a solitary shrub, while the repetition brings unity to the design.