Low maintenance Landscapes
There are people who absolutely love working in the garden and there are others who think ‘Who wants to play with dirt? I want to enjoy my yard, not work in it!’ If you’re decidedly in the latter group, a low-maintenance landscape is the way to go. The trick to having a beautiful Cape Cod landscape filled with color and visual interest is selecting the right materials, both the plantings and hardscaping elements.
- When it comes to plant selections, go native. It’s no secret that Cape Cod has a unique climate. Sandy soil paired with salty air can take their toll on plantings. Selecting plants – trees, flowers, shrubs, even grass – which are native to Cape Cod will allow your garden to thrive with surprisingly little maintenance. Once they’re established, native plants will require less water and virtually no fertilizer (bonus points for protecting our fragile environment). This list from the Association to Preserve Cape Cod includes a handful of suggestions along with descriptions on each plant. Click here for a more comprehensive list from Grow Native Massachusetts.
- When it comes to hardscaping elements, go solid. While the look of a clam shell driveway is so classic Cape Cod, they’re actually fairly high maintenance as are loose stone driveways. Each time your driveway is plowed – remember the winter of 2015? – shells or stones end up in the snowbanks. When those banks melt, the detritus from your driveway will end up on your lawn. And while the look of a brick terrace or a patio of loosely-set bluestone have a certain vintage appeal, grass and weeds can create a messy look over time. A solid surface driveway, such as blacktop or concrete, and a patio of tightly-set bluestone or manmade pavers such as those offered by Unilock requires far less maintenance.
- Perennials vs. annuals: what to put where. Opting primarily for perennials is an absolute must, especially in the long term, for a colorful relatively carefree Cape Cod Landscape. The initial expense will be higher, but perennials will spread over the years. They can be divided as well. Incorporate plants of varying heights and textures, and plants with varied bloom times, for the best results. Annuals, such as geraniums, impatiens and fuchsia, will bloom all season long, but require more watering, weeding and deadheading. Consider going the container garden route for easier care and to add color near an entrance or on a deck.
- Much ado about mulch. When used properly, mulch can be a low-maintenance gardener’s best friend. It gives a landscape a finished look, even a newly-planted one where plants may not have had time to fill in. Applied at the right depth, mulch also helps retain water and will also work wonders in keeping weeds to a minimum. The ‘right depth’ is an important part of mulching; add too much and your plants will be at risk of molding, too little and you won’t realize the full benefits.
Whitten Landscaping offers landscape and hardscaping design and installation as well as a variety of maintenance programs. We can assist with spring and fall cleanups or arrange full-service weekly visits to mow, weed and prune. Please contact us with any questions or to arrange a complementary consultation.