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What exactly is a low maintenance landscape?

Planning both the planting lay-out for your particular situation and the selection of plants that meet the requirements is a lot to think about and can be overwhelming for most beginners. Matching the right plant to the right place, as well as proper spacing of the plants is extremely important for the success of your plants. You can purchase rulers to help you with the spacing of plants if DIY is more your game. If you're not a "do-it-yourselfer" we have talented Landscape Designers who can help put together a plan to ensure spacing is properly planned out and install your plants, too.

When selecting plants, low maintenance can be view in several ways:

  • Uniform growth habit

  • Minimal pruning

  • Use of large shrubs vs. trees

Uniform Growth Habit

Photo: Intermedia Barberry

Selecting plants that by their nature have a slow uniform growth habit, and thus require less pruning and maintenance. Some of the most popular and trouble free of the slow uniformly growing plants are: Intermedia Barberry, Dwarf Burning Bush, Miniglobe Honeysuckle, Palibin Lilac, Holmstrup and Emerald Arborvitae, and Grefsheim Spirea.

Minimal Pruning

Pictured: Pink Beauty Potentilla

These are plants that need only a single, easy-to-do pruning each year, usually early in the spring. Among the best of the plants requiring a single, heavy pruning early in the spring are: Potentilla, Spirea (bumalda & japonica types), and Hydrangea Annabelle.

Use of Large Shrubs vs. Trees

Pictured: Royal Star Magnolia

The use of large shrubs grown as small ornamental trees is an under-used method of creating a low maintenance landscape. When located properly, this group of plants may be left alone to grow into attractive small trees, many having ornamental flowers, fruit, and fall color.

For example, instead of a conventional landscape corner planting of an Arborvitae and Junipers, try a Blackhaw Viburnum planted around six feet off the corner with a few small low maintenance shrubs grouped in front. This will not only reduce the needed maintenance of this area, but also greatly increase its seasonal interest.

Plants that work well when used in this manner are: Serviceberry, Pagoda Dogwood, Compact Amur Maple, Peegee Hydrangea, Royal Star Magnolia, and Viburnum.

**As always these are suggestions. Please be sure to check which plants work in your zone, sun requirements, soils, etc. Contact Story Landscaping today!

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