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Step 7: Planning for Maintenance

  • Who will do the garden maintenance? If the answer is you, how much do you want to do? Is it enjoyable or is it a nuisance? If the answer is someone who is hired to maintain the yard, will they know what to do (watering levels, pruning style, use of chemicals, etc.) for the types of plants and the effect you want to have? This will be particularly true for native plants; few gardeners have much experience with them.

  • Different gardens will require different levels of maintenance. Some examples include:

  • Native garden – low water use, once per year pruning (cut back on some plants), no fertilizer need, no chemical need, little weeding (with mulch), no soil amendment

  • Color garden – high fertilizer, consistent watering, consistent plant changes, consistent tending (ex. cutting spent blooms), high soil amendment

  • Rose garden – high fertilizer, consistent watering, consistent cutting, potentially high chemical use, consistent weeding, high soil amendment

  • Perennial garden – moderate water use, moderate fertilizer need, consistent care (cutting, weeding, etc.), high soil amendment

  • Turf garden – weekly mowing, high fertilizer need, high water need, high soil amendment need

The Bottom Line for Planning Your Garden:

  • Recognize the climate and that water will be limited now and into the future

  • Understand the microclimates around the house (sun, shade)

  • Know your soil type and amend if needed

  • Remember that gardens take time and care. How much time do you want to put into your garden?

  • Large slope areas are best left for native plants that require little water, chemicals and pruning.

  • If over watered, gardens contribute to polluted urban runoff (make your garden a runoff free zone)

Remember, gardens can enhance property values, attract wildlife, save energy and be a great source of pride, enjoyment and value. Take time to plan well.

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