One of the most important decisions to make when designing a landscape plan is to determine how much maintenance you’re willing to do once it’s installed.
Landscape maintenance is more than just mowing the lawn. Basic tasks such as mowing, trimming, edging, weeding, mulching, blowing leaves and removing debris apply to your yard and beds, but hardscapes need maintenance, too. There’s a lot to consider. Below are a few tips on how to determine your landscaping maintenance needs.
Landscape vs. Hardscape: How much of your total property or the area you’re landscaping will be covered by grass? How about concrete, brick, stone, tile or other patio/deck/piazza/courtyard material? If you live on a small lot and install a large patio or courtyard bordered by beds and little or no grass, for example, you may choose plants and flowers that require more care and maintenance since your time or money won’t be spent on maintaining a large lawn. Conversely, if your property is almost entirely made up of grass, beds or natural (unlandscaped surroundings such as woods or meadows), you’ll need to budget a greater amount of time and money toward landscape maintenance. That’s not to say that you should forego grass for concrete, but this step is the first consideration you’ll need to make when figuring out what maintenance level you’d like your landscape plan to be. Keep in mind that pergolas or arbors with vines or other climbing plants will need maintenance, as well. Any fencing or walls should be considered part of your landscape plan, too.
Low maintenance plants vs. high maintenance plants: Once you determine how much of your landscape design will include plant life or grasses, be sure to design your beds and gardens to fit your maintenance needs. Annuals such as pansies or begonias are hearty and easy to maintain with the right amount of watering and sunlight, but they must be removed and replaced during the appropriate season. Low groundcovers such as junipers or mondo grass can ease the responsibility of seasonal change-outs, but must be weeded. Evergreen shrubs such as boxwoods or arborvitae provide foliage and privacy and require little weeding once mature.
Cost: Your landscape maintenance costs time and money. Even if you handle all the responsibilities within your own household without using an outside lawn maintenance service, there are costs involved, such as lawn care equipment, seed, fertilizer, mulches, and annual flowers. If you are able to afford an outside maintenance service, get an estimate from the company based upon a drawing of your landscape design or through a home visit. Be sure to point out all plants, beds, trees, shrubs, lawns, vines and potted plants for which you expect them to care. Once you have an estimate, you can make an informed decision about your landscaping maintenance.