Low landscape maintenance is possible with planning

John Young, Gill, Daniel J., Owings, Allen D.  |  8/7/2009 11:37:06 PM

Sustainable Landscape News From LaHouse Distributed 08/07/09

By LSU AgCenter Horticulturists Dan Gill, Allen Owings and John Young

Low landscape maintenance is the goal of homeowners, but it’s possible only through proper planning. With the fall planting season coming soon, begin your planning now.

Home gardeners who enjoy caring for their grounds may find themselves designing an elaborate landscape, which requires high maintenance. A simple landscape design is more manageable.

It is important to consider maintenance at the planning stage. Elevations, trees, flowers, shrubs and projected use of an area all are primary considerations. You can achieve low maintenance in a landscape by adopting some or all of the following recommendations:

– Reduce the amount of lawn care. How many times does a lawn need to be mowed during a given year in Louisiana? Probably 30 times if it is done properly.

– Use ground covers and mulch to minimize weed problems and to fill in oddly shaped areas. You’ll need to maintain and groom these area only once or twice a year to keep things looking fresh.

– Minimize flower beds. Typically, the more flower beds in a landscape, the more maintenance is required. You can select flowering perennial plants instead of annuals to reduce maintenance and long-term cost.

– When selecting plants, remember which plants require the least amount of pruning, watering, pest control and fertilization.

– Use native plants in combination with introduced species to help reduce maintenance. Native plants often require less maintenance and add valuable benefits to a landscape. Pest problems also are minimized.

– Pave heavily traveled areas or use gravel pathways with weed-barrier fabric underneath.

– Use walls, fences or other physical barriers instead of formally pruned hedges or screens. Walls and fences need maintenance only every three to five years, but formally pruned shrubs may need pruning two or three times annually.

– Install an irrigation system. This lessens the amount of hand watering. If you manage the system properly, you will apply water more efficiently and more effectively.

Come to LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is located near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. Go online to Louisiana Yards and Neighborhoods for additional information.

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Editor: Mark Claesgens

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