As I drive through Southside neighborhoods, I see many overgrown shrubs and trees just begging for a pruning, division or the grave! Unless you are diligent in maintaining the health, height and width of your landscape specimens, your home quickly loses its curb appeal.
Some common mistakes that the lawn-companies-turned-landscapers and the I-can-do-it-myself homeowners make are: not having a plan, planting too close to the house, overplanting, choosing incorrect greenery for the location, planting too many kinds of bushes or trees and never touching the plants once installed.
Once a sketch of the area to be planted has been drawn and the number of plants needed has been estimated, visit a nursery or garden center, where you can view the materials, read the tags and ask for help.
Share with the sales person where you will be planting, whether the site is full sun, dense shade or a combination of both or wet or dry.
The tag on the plant will tell you exactly how tall and wide it will grow. It is essential that you pay close attention to this information.
Purdue Extension offers a website (www.hort.purdue.edu) that offers a plethora of information to help you succeed with your plan. Some additional tips that I recommend are: Put the signature trees in first; don’t plant shrubs outside the landscape bed; accent the entryway with a low- or medium-growing shrub – nothing tall – soften corners of the house with rounded plants and stay below the window lines.
When you are ready to plant, a good rule to use is dig wide, not deep. Don’t forget to amend the soil and make sure the plants’ roots are not compacted. If they are, score them with a knife or loosen them by pulling downward to make sure they will not continue to grow circular as they have for weeks or months in the pot.
Proper mulching is also important for the life of your plants. Apply no more than 2 to 3 inches.
“The garden has a curious, innocent way of consuming cash while all the time you are under the illusion that you are spending very little.”
– Author unknown