What’s your landscape philosophy?

Huh?  Don’t have one?  I get it.  You’ve got other things to think about.  Well since I’ve been thinking about and working in landscaping since the 1970s and before, I’ve got one. 

Work with nature to create a pleasant environment with a minimum of maintenance.” 

Just about everyone I meet with will start the conversation with “We want low maintenance”.  Then they proceed to tell me the things they want that aren’t necessarily low maintenance.  But, on the other hand, I’ve come to realize that some people actually want HIGH maintenance, as long as they are not the ones doing it!  Low maintenance is first achieved by getting the right plant in the right place.  So you must “know” the plants and make a plan.  Then go for a “natural appearance”.  All plants have their own natural shape that should fit in the space allotted.  You shouldn’t have to shear everything into boxes and circles!  I met a fellow the other day that told me his grandson worked for a landscape company.  “He’s real good at making bushes into circles”  That is soooo wrong!  When I travel to other regions with totally different plant life it’s funny that I see the same boxes and circles in the average landscape.  The common denominator is man!  We like to dominate over nature.  Work with nature and it’s much simpler.

This has been a wonderful year for weed growth.  It seems that every weed seed that blew into your beds, sprouted thanks to daily rains in spring and now the heat for growth.  Should you put down weed mat to control the weeds?  NOOOO………I think I’ve beat this topic to death but weed mat doesn’t work.  Weeds don’t come up from beneath.  They sprout from seed blowing on top of that layer of mulch.

More mulch?  Not necessarily.  If your beds are filled with ground covering plants, you don’t need a lot of mulch.

Edging?  If you use plants that are low for “fronting”, you simply mow up to the edge and the plants form a natural border.  Digging a deep edge just refills with debris, not to mention the likelihood of cutting those shallow telephone and cable lines!   Placing rocks or blocks along the edge doesn’t keep the grass out of the beds.  It only gives you something else you need to trim against.  I use herbicide along the edge to easily keep the lawn from encroaching into the beds.

Don’t like pulling weeds?  Me neither.  There are many different herbicides for different purposes.  There’s a “preemergent” for preventing seedlings from sprouting.  There’s a grass killer that doesn’t hurt the flowers.  This is perfect for grass invading the groundcover beds.  Of course there’s the broadleaf weed killer (2,4-D) that you use on your lawn which doesn’t hurt grass.  This also works in ornamental grass beds.  And for everything else there’s “roundup”.  This is actually one of our safest herbicides for people, pets and the environment.  Its toxicity level is relatively low and its effectiveness is excellent.

Enjoy your summer!