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Gardening With Laurie: Make plan before you change landscape

Oct. 25, 2010 at 5:25 a.m.
Updated Oct. 28, 2010 at 5:28 a.m.

Laurie Garretson

By Laurie Garretson

Do you ever stand in your yard and look at your landscape, wishing that it looked different? Maybe it could have more trees, fewer trees, more or less grass to mow, more colorful flowerbeds? Maybe you just don't feel that you're getting the most out of the land that you have.

I think one of the best ways to establish a landscape that will give you and your family everything that all of you will utilize is to make a new overall plan.

The new plan needs to take into account all of your families' outdoor activities and interests.

Many people find it hard to visualize beyond what they already see or have planted. Keep in mind that you are developing a new look, and let your imagination take over. Once you have a general idea of what the design will be, draw it out on paper.

If the overall plan is a big change, you might want to break the job up into sections. Decide which section you'd like to complete first. Then decide when, and in what order the rest of the landscape will be worked on.

Don't worry if you can't complete the whole landscape in one season. With a well thought-out plan, it doesn't make any difference if the job takes several seasons or several years to complete.

If you are doing this on your own and you just don't know where to start, you might want to check out some landscape books for your area. Selecting plants that grow well in your area will be a big factor in the success of your plan. Selecting native plants and plants that are adapted to our climate is a great idea.

Drought-tolerant plants can also be a bonus for any landscape.

When drawing your plan, think practicality. I know we gardeners can be like kids in a candy store when it comes to plants. We want so many of the beautiful plants we see. But, it's not always within our budget or space to have them. The time to care for a large landscaped yard is another thing to keep in mind. Not all beautiful landscapes have to be labor intensive. Many of your plant selections, where they're planted and how many flowerbeds you make can all determine how much maintenance is required.

A good way to limit the number of hours you will need to spend in the new landscape could be to incorporate different ground covers and eliminate some beds and grass areas from the plan. Eliminating grassy areas and high maintenance flowerbeds will help to keep the routine maintenance time to a minimum.

Shady areas under trees are many times harder spots to keep looking good. Tree roots can make planting difficult and dense shade can limit your plant options. Ground covers, such as dwarf monkey grass and Asiatic jasmine make good planting options for these type areas. Ground covers are also good to plant on sloping areas.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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