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With busy schedules and little extra time, most homeowners request a landscape with no maintenance. But unless you have the Rocky Mountains or the Pacific Ocean for your yard, there is no such thing as a “no maintenance” landscape. However, with these tips, you can easily have a landscape that is LOW maintenance.

Low Maintenance Tips

  • Decrease the use of herbicides, fertilizers and mowing by reducing the amount of grass and replacing it with planting beds. Install an evergreen groundcover like Pachysandra or Vinca to give the same look of green turf.
  • Install masses of perennials and shrubs, 5 to 7 or more, instead of planting a couple of plants here and there.
  • Install the right plants in the right place. Make sure they are hardy for the area. Amend the soil with organic materials before you plant. Make sure the plant doesn’t overgrow its space. Avoid putting trees and tall shrubs under utility wires. Let larger shrubs like Forsythia grow to its full size and place them in outer beds. Tidy, narrow plants can be placed in smaller areas. Plant heat-seeking plants in dryer sunny areas and shady loving plants under trees and on the north side of buildings.
  • Mulch planting beds with up to 2 to 3 inches of Eco-Rich! bark mulchto help keep weeds down and reduce soil erosion. Put a mulch ring around trees for easier mowing, decreasing the likelihood of damage to the tree. Create a nice clean edge along planting beds.
  • Save time on pruning and consider letting plants grow to a more natural look instead of shearing them down to little balls.
  • Choose healthy, disease-resistant plants with a moderate growth rate. Select perennials that don’t spread or re-seed easily.
  • Practice good planting techniques. Install plants in holes that are wider then the pot or planting ball. In our heavy clay soils, it’s a good idea to plant trees and shrubs a few inches higher than the existing grade to prevent downing. Water the plants adequately, until established. Spend a little more time with your plants in the beginning, and it will take a lot less time than if you need to replace them later.                                                                   

 

 

 

 

Plant masses of Pachysandra for a groundcover instead of installing sod.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create a planting bed or a mulch ring around trees for easier mowing and reduce damage that can be done to the tree from string trimmers and mowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plant shrubs and perennials in masses like this Astilbe for a simple look and easy care.

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Wisconsin winters can be very hard on your landscaping. Protecting your plants and hardscape now can prevent damage and save time and money in the spring.  Here are some simple TIPS to get a step ahead of Mother Nature and those hungry critters. 

  

 

·     Deer and Rodent Protection:  Build a wire cage around trees and shrubs they prefer, such as Japanese Yews, Burning Bushes and Korean Spicebushes.  Secure stakes in the ground around the plant and attach chicken wire or hardware cloth to them.

 

·     Winter Burn Protection:  Harsh, drying winds and sun scald can increase moisture loss, causing evergreens like Dwarf Alberta Spruce and Boxwood to turn brown and eventually die.  Wrap the evergreens loosely in burlap, or if you rather see them during the winter, spray an anti-desiccant on to help seal in moisture.

  

 

 

 

·     Water Your Plants:  Make sure your plants have adequate moisture.  Give evergreens and newly planted trees and shrubs a good drink of water before the ground freezes.  When you’re finished, don’t forget to take in the garden hose and turn off the water to prevent water pipes from bursting.

 

·     Protect Groundcovers and Tender Perennials:  Cover Pachysandra, Vinca, and newly planted perennials with evergreen boughs to help insulate the ground, prevent frost heaving, and protect the plants from drying winds and sunlight.

 

 

 

·     Protect Plants from Heavy Snow:  In general, heavy snows on plants should be left alone.  Knocking the snow off can cause more damage to the plants.  You may want to tie the top branches of Arborvitaes with a wide strapping to prevent them from bending over from heavy snows.

 

·     Apply Safer Ice Melt Products:  There are alternative ice melts to rock salt, like Morton’s Safe-T-Plus, that are safer for your plants and paving surfaces, minimizing damage to concrete and joints. 

Wandsnider Landscape Architects


We strive to create beautiful outdoor environments for your enjoyment. Inviting livable spaces that capture your vision and add value to your home.

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