Read these 12 Planting Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Lawn tips and hundreds of other topics.
One important element of a symmetrically formal garden is the use of two main axes that intersect at the midpoint of the garden, dividing it into areas that match symmetrically.
In an asymmetrical formal garden, the plan is still geometrical, but the axes intersect at a point other than the midpoint, dividing the garden into areas that can be used differently. Small or urban gardens take well to a formal design.
When planning your landscape, anything that can be done in the design to reduce time and effort it takes to keep it looking neat is good. Hedges should be low enough to allow for easy trimming, planting beds should be narrow enough to reach into for efficient weeding, perennial and rock gardens should not be larger than the available help can handle. As an aid to maintenance, consider hard surfaced paths throughout the garden area which will make it much easier to run a wheel barrow or garden cart.
If your lawn is planted in fescue, rye or bluegrass, then plan your Autumn activities from August 1 to Labor Day. Get your soil analyzed, order seed for overseeding, stock up on compost for topdressing, check rates on rented equipment, etc. If you have a good plan, you'll know what you need when you need it, and you can spend more time enjoying your cool season lawn!
The first thing in planning your garden is to make a rough sketch that shows existing trees, shrubs, and large features. Study your site—how much sun it gets and when; soil conditions – sand or clay, moist or dry; prevailing winds. Match plants to the soil and light conditions of your property, not vice-versa.
Nature detests monospecific cultures, and a lawn with a single species and variety of grass is monospecific. For a long lived, lower maintenance lawn, select a mix of grass species and varieties. Most seed companies have already done their homework and mixed the seeds for you. But you can also 'roll your own' and buy pure seed packages. Just blend these together in the proportions you want, and plant as usual.
A well planned and executed landscaping will add a great deal to the enjoyment and value of your home, and will also increase the resale price of your property as it matures. The average landscaped house is worth 10-15% more than the bare house and lot. Your landscaping may represent a value of 5,000 to 20,000 dollars! So, it is important that you take the time to plan your landscape carefully. Find out as much as you can about landscaping and plantings.
In considering the plants already on your site, plan to keep as many of the better varieties as possible. Established trees and mature shrubs will become important components in the overall landscape design. Even if a shrub is overgrown, it can often be pruned back and rejuvenated.
Till your entire area and remove all of the debris. Sow your seed according to the rate and depth listed on the package. Roll the lawn to ensure good seed contact with the soil. Top the seedbed with a quality straw mulch (not hay). Water the seedbed at least daily--twice daily if necessary--to keep it moist.
It is important that you analyze the way the sun moves across your property. By doing this you can track the shady areas on your landscape and have an idea as to where shade-tolerant plants can be used. If the sun shines on the house too much during the summer, mark areas where you can plant deciduous trees which will provide shade to the house in summer but allow the sun to shine on the house in winter when their leaves have dropped.
Bermuda and Meyer Zoysia are the only two really desirable warm season grasses reliably grown from seed. Centipede can also be established from seed, but it literally takes years for it to develop into an acceptable lawn. Instead, warm season grasses are usually established vegetatively--they're planted as sprigs, plugs or sod because their seeds are either sterile or they take too long to grow into a lawn. This makes establishing a warm season grass lawn more expensive, but it's worth the extra cost. Warm season grasses are among the most aggressive competitors among the grass species. Once they get going, they don't stop until you have a beautiful lawn.
Plant cool season grasses, such as fescue, rye and bluegrass, in the fall. You can plant these in the spring, but the young plants will be ill-suited to deal with the harsh, hot weather of summer. You'll lose a significant portion of your new grass to heat and drought stress. You'll be right back out there in fall, overseeding again and wondering why you went through all that trouble.
Plant warm season grasses, like St. Augustine, Bermuda, Centipede and Zoysia, in spring. You can plant these in the fall, but they will not have had enough time to develop a good enough root system to allow survival against a frost.
Plant the right grass at the right time, and you'll save money and headaches.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|