5 Simple Tips for Creating a Low-Maintenance Portland Landscaping Design

May 2012

Low-maintenance landscape design is one of the most common requests a Portland landscaper receives. If you’re too busy with your fulfilling work, family and social lives to dedicate much time to landscaping maintenance, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful yard. Landscape maintenance can be easy if you follow these low-maintenance tips:

1. Mulch to stave off weeds, nourish soil and add beauty

Garden Drainage SystemMulch may seem very humble in the grand scheme of things, but it’s actually crucial for the health of any landscape design. From discouraging weed growth to adding a unified look, mulch serves many purposes. At its most basic, it’s a layer of nourishing insulation for your garden beds. If you’re wondering what type of mulch is best for your yard, speak to a Portland landscaping professional. Mulch options run the gamut from chopped-up yard debris to high-end organic black beauty mulches.

Mulch is the landscape design MVP and very beneficial to your garden. Composed of organic materials such as wood bark, chopped up leaves and even lawn clippings, mulch provides a blanket of protection for the soil. Not only does mulch regulate soil temperature, but it also discourages the growth of weeds. Covering any bare soil with mulch will save you hours of backbreaking weed pulling later. In this way, mulching is a very important part of low-hassle landscape maintenance. Finally, mulch provides a crucial diet of nutrients as water runs through it all winter long. Mulch: It’s the secret weapon of lazy green thumbs. Landscaper fabric can also be laid down under mulch to prevent nearly all weeds from popping up.

2. Place plants according to their water needs

Fountain Water FeatureWatering is one of the most time-consuming aspects of landscape maintenance. “Go with the flow” could be the motto of low-key landscape maintenance. Xeriscaping is one way of designing your landscape with natural water conditions in mind. For instance, if the infamous Pacific Northwest rain leaves big puddles in one corner of your yard, consider adding a rain garden there to soak up excess water. Meanwhile, Portland landscaping contractors often find that some soil protected by eaves or covered structures can be dry.  A xeriscaped kitchen garden with protected eaves or a covered structure could include borage, hyssop, lavender, oregano, rosemary and thyme, all of which thrive in dry soil.

In sum, gardeners can minimize maintenance by placing plants where their water needs will naturally be met. For instance, it’s smart to plant water-loving specimens in areas where water tends to pool in your yard.

3.  Install an irrigation system

Home Drainage RepairWe’re betting that nearly every Portland landscaper has an irrigation system set up in her or his own yard. Irrigation cuts landscaping maintenance time by ensuring that every plant gets the water it needs. To make irrigation systems even more convenient, most manufacturers offer timer based controllers so you can “set it and forget it.” Finally, forward-thinking landscape design companies will offer smart controllers that utilize on site weather sensors that keep the system from running when water is plentiful. (There’s nothing more wasteful than running an irrigation system during a rainstorm.)

Landscaping maintenance experts recommend irrigation systems for several reasons. First, they cut down manual landscape maintenance hours by watering plants for you at designated times (usually in the early morning and evening). And because they deliver water right to the roots, irrigation systems save water over manual sprinkler systems. (Just be sure that you call a Portland landscaping professional to winterize your irrigation system in the fall to avoid any broken components in the spring.)

4. Choose low-maintenance plants

Many coniferous and flowering shrubs require little pruning to provide years of splendor. Likewise, bulbs and other flowering perennials come up every year whether you get out your gardening gloves or not. Choose perennial, low-maintenance specimens that won’t ask for a lot in exchange for their dazzling beauty.

Carefully reading the specimen tags will help you find the best species for your needs. Landscaping supply store employees are happy to provide more information on pruning and maintenance requirements for various plants, as well. In general, flowering and coniferous shrubs will fill your landscape design with beauty while requiring very little upkeep.

5. Complement your landscape with paved walkways and patios

Landscaping Pavers and StoneThe more open soil in your landscape, the more weeding and landscape maintenance work you’ll have to do. Now we’re not suggesting paving over your whole yard just because you don’t have a lot of free time. As the previous tips show, it’s possible to enjoy a beautiful garden even if your Day-Timer is chock-full. Instead, we’re simply pointing out that hardscaping such as patios and walkway pavers minimize the space that must be maintained. And, as a bonus, these structures make it easier for visitors and family alike to enjoy your garden.

If you’re looking for a trusted and award-winning Portland landscaping professional who can help you design the low-maintenance landscaping of your dreams, look no further! Contact Landscape East & West today and talk with one of our experts and get a free estimate. We proudly serve the Portland-metro area, including Clackamas, Beaverton, Hillsboro,West Linn, Lake Oswego and more.

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