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Low Maintenance Landscapes: Tip 7 — Plant Selection and Placement

By Clayton Ditzler

Photo courtesy of Clayton Ditzler

What exactly makes a good low-maintenance plant? For starters, it must be hardy and look good. It must also be appropriate for the allotted space. Will the plant have the right soil, proper moisture and adequate light to grow to its mature size? Low-maintenance plants should also be minimally invasive, relatively pest- and disease-resistant and should not require staking, deadheading or excessive amounts of pruning. That’s not asking for too much, is it?

Fortunately, even in more extreme climates, there are suitable plants to be found. Instead of resorting to trial and error, consider acquiring the services of a professional landscape designer for plant selection, as their expertise will likely save you a lot of time and money. A good designer will even be able to work around your colour preferences and specific likes and dislikes to come up with a planting scheme that will look great with minimal maintenance.

Where possible, consider native plant species, which are naturally adapted to your local environment and well established in the ecosystem, making them less susceptible to pests or disease. While native plants are gaining popularity, beware—just because a plant is native doesn’t necessarily make it suitable for a low-maintenance garden. Some of these plants are extremely invasive; others are hardy and low-maintenance, but not overly attractive. In many cases, there are suitable choices that have been bred from native plants with superior traits. Plant breeders are constantly trying to improve on nature, and in many cases, non-native species are the most suitable plants for a low-maintenance garden.


This is tip 7 of 10 in Low Maintenance Landscapes

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