Saturday, March 27, 2010

Low maintenance landscape plants

Landscaping a home can be one of the most rewarding experiences for a homeowner. Designing, planting and nurturing this investment provides untold satisfaction to garden enthusiasts. DIY landscapers often choose to select plants that require little maintenance to limit water use as well as upkeep. Selecting low maintenance plants for landscape gardens requires careful planning and the realization that every plant at some time will require some regular care.

Ornamental Grasses

Few plants equal ornamental grasses for the combination of stunning foliage display and low maintenance. Ornamental grass ranges in size from low-mounding varieties such as variegated liriope to towering stands of pampas grass. The plants offer foliage-centric focus in the landscape without the high maintenance of continual trimming to remove spent flower blooms. Most varieties of ornamental grass requires a single haircut in the early spring right after new shoots appear.

Ground covers

Ground cover plants do just that - they cover the ground to hide soil and create texture in the landscape. Low maintenance ground covers can make garden maintenance a snap. These plants cool the soil with thick foliage and limit the need for excessive mulching to preserve plants. Sedum and vinca minor offer two excellent options for different locations. Sedum likes the sun and will spread readily in dry environment without much attention due to thick, succulent leaves that store moisture for the plant. Vinca happily trickles its way across a shady garden with beautiful, shiny green leaves and purple flowers in early spring.


Xeriscaping refers to the use of native plants to limit landscape maintenance as well as water usage. Thick alpine rock garden and you'll get a basic picture of how xeriscaping works. Plants are chosen for hardiness as well as ability to establish quickly with minimal care. Adding soil amendments to enrich planting sites and promote strong roots for the sturdy plants used in these low-maintenance gardens.

Some xeriscape plants include tickseed, echinacea and day lilies. Remember that xeriscape plants need plenty of water while becoming established. Gradually lessen the amount of water for the plants to acclimate them to require less water. Check with a nearby nursery for recommendations for xeriscape plants for your USDA hardiness zone.

Evergreen Shrubs

A rich selection of low-maintenance shrubs exists to enhance the home landscape. Look for those plants that grow slowly while providing dramatic green foliage to the landscape. Yew and Alberta spruce both feature dwarf cultivars that grow very slowly. Broad leaf evergreens include holly and rhododendron family such as azaleas. These plants add visible texture to the landscape as well as year-round color. Research your choices carefully to determine the correct location for evergreen shrubs. Always consider the mature size of the plant before installing an evergreen into the home landscape.

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