Gardening with Laurie: Well-planned garden saves time, money

By Laurie Garretson
Dec. 12, 2013 at 6:12 a.m.

Wet, cold, cloudy days are great days for garden planning. Maybe it is time for some landscape changes or additions. Maybe over the past few years, you've felt that there are some areas of your yard that just aren't "doing it" for you anymore.

So maybe it is time to come up with a new design plan. The best way to approach a new landscape change is to first draw a plan. Consider all the activities, interests and the overall look that you and your family will want from the change.

Having an overall plan to follow allows you the ability and freedom to accomplish this big picture all at once or to space the plantings out over weeks, months or even years.

In the long run, a good plan will also save you money. Think about all the times you've bought plants that you just couldn't resist and then realized you really didn't have space in your landscape for them.

When coming up with your new design, keep the growing conditions that you will be working with in mind as you pick plants. Texas mountain laurels would not be happy in shady, damp areas for very long.

Choose native drought-tolerant plants as much as possible. Overall, these plants will require less maintenance. One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when planting is to overdo it.

I realize it is easy to want all the beautiful plants you see at garden centers. But getting carried away with your plantings can mean more maintenance for you. Flower beds and vegetable gardens are wonderful and beautiful to have, but they require labor. That's time that most of us don't have.

Other ways to cut down on your routine yard maintenance is to utilize more ground covers. Ground covers, like Asiatic jasmine, are good, low-maintenance plants for difficult growing areas.

Shady and sloping areas are great candidates for ground covers. The less lawn grass you have in any landscape will always mean less water usage and maintenance. This should be a must in these times of drought and extreme temperatures.

Do not forget to add in the cost of soil amendments to your new landscape plan. Lots of compost and organic fertilizers will always be the back bones of any plantings. Mulching all the new and existing beds is another planting essential.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, and 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 or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.



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