Are you looking for the best plants, materials and techniques to use in your landscape? If you are an avid gardener, you may want to deviate from the list below, but for most of us, this is the list that works year after year. My “go for it” list is simple, proven, reliable and can be time savers in the garden.
Use zinnia. It’s tough, easy to grow, colorful and attracts butterflies. Plant in full sun.
Use pine straw, black mulch or mini pne bark nuggets. Install 2 or 3 inches deep.
Use landscape fabric.
Use arborvitae “Green Giant” instead of Leyland cypress.
Use cherry “Okame” instead of Bradford pear.
Use lorepetalum instead of privet or barberry.
Use hollies instead of mahonia.
Use rose “Knockout” or “Oso Easy” instead of hybrid teas.
Use metal edging installed 1 1/2 inches above ground around all beds that touch the lawn. Brick works well, too, but it’s expensive.
Use tough annuals that behave like perennials, such as Mexican heather.
Use a bird bath, armillary, sundial or statue as a garden focal point; less is better.
Use the non-spreading variegated liriope.
You just can’t go wrong with any of the new varieties of abelia.
Use dwarf purple fountain grass, muhly grass or pink muhly grass instead of pampas grass.
Use plants in groups of five, seven or more for impact.
Use tamer vines such as mandevilla, crossvine “Tangerine,” clematis or rose “Zephrine drouhin.”
Use your county extension to get a soil test for your lawn.
Use bright, sunny colors on seat cushions and umbrellas.
Use bluebird houses. Bluebirds eat lots of bugs.
Use quality outdoor furniture. Aluminum frames are the only way to go, because they rarely rust.
Buy plants that are as large as you can afford.
Use large 22- or 24-inch-thick terra cotta containers with saucers.
Use high quality potting soil, fertilizer and soil amendments.
Use shovels, rakes, hoes and hoses with lifetime warranties.
In-ground irrigation will save you lots of time and money in the long term.
Todd Goulding provides residential landscape design consultations. Contact him at www.fernvalley.com or 478-345-0719.