Admit it, fellow Baby Boomer! Our changing and sometimes uncooperative bodies can be a reason why garden lovers begin to think about low maintenance landscapes as we get older. We might think a yard full of gravel, sometimes called "zero-scaping" would be easier, although the view outdoors is definitely not the green oasis we hunger for. But giving up on a beautiful garden as age progresses doesn't have to be the case. We Baby Boomers can use to two important aspects of low maintenance landscapes that make maintaining a beautiful garden worth the effort and easier on the body.
Simple but not too simple
One way to keep the level of maintenance for your garden low is to stay simple but rich. Think adding a koi pond or a wildlife feeder would be an easy solution, eliminating the need to weed or replant? Maybe, maybe not. Such options do require maintenance. Ponds must be cleaned or skimmed regularly, especially if your climate is one that encourages moss and algae to thrive. Wildlife feeders require refilling and can be messy, adding clean-up to the maintenance tasks. But, small birdbaths can be a low maintenance option to bring in wildlife to watch while keeping things simple yet interesting.
For true simplicity, reduce the different kinds of plants in your garden, planting them in larger numbers. Designers call these groupings "drifts." Select hardy plants and group them together. The result is patches of attractive plants that can more easily be tended at the same time, low maintenance but adding interest to every view. A simpler design can make life easier as we ease into aging well, and it can be a very modern approach.
Not all plants are equal
Now it's time to buy plants. Make sure your plants are of high quality before buying. Look for healthy leaves with no bugs or scale on the branches. If you're a bit doubtful, ask to have a plant pulled out of the pot at the nursery to check the roots. If the roots are dense throughout the soil and are circling the rootball, the plant is rootbound. These growing conditions can be overcome if you know how, but looking carefully before you buy helps you know how much work will be involved in planting. Check the color of the leaves, too. Some plants with leaves that are yellow-green or grey-green are showing their normal coloring, but others can be struggling. For a low-maintenance landscape that is physically easy to manage, avoid taking on plants you'll have to nurse back to health, even if they are on sale at a great discount.
Just using these two aspects of garden design - simplicity and wise plant selection - can help you reap the benefits of fresh air, mild exercise, and visual enjoyment to manage stress with a low maintenance yet fascinating landscape that ages as well as you do. Ready to make changes? Second Summer can help.