I happen to live next to an amazing gardener. Shirley is retired and now spends a good amount of time every day in her stunning garden. And she loves it! This isn’t to say that in order to have gorgeous landscaping you need to work for many hours on it every day. There are ways to make it simple, yet beautiful.
The first step is to plan out exactly what you have in mind. Make sure it’s realistic for the amount of time you can and want to spend creating it and maintaining it. Shirley’s front yard is simple: thick green grass, a few well-trimmed bushes and ground cover (which requires little care) next to the house, and a few types of Japanese maple trees that add color and unique shape to the front yard. In the back, she enjoys a lovely garden that wraps around the edges of the yard. She loves foliage and includes much of it for the great variety of textures and colors it adds to her garden. Below are some tips I got from her.
You should know how much sun a plant will get every day, because some plants can’t handle much direct sunlight or shade and others need a good amount of one or the other. You should also know how much water a plant needs, then how much it will get by sprinklers or if you’ll need to hand water it. Make sure to buy the plants that will thrive in your climate. Yes, we live in a desert, and as heartbreaking as it is, we just can’t plant all the same gorgeous flowers and plants as you see in some magazines or TV shows.
As you buy flowers, remember which parts of the year you’ll have them blooming. You don’t want them all to bloom in the spring for a few weeks and then have a bloom-less garden for the rest of the year. You could plant them in different parts of your garden so that you’ll have blooming flowers throughout the warm parts of the year. If your garden is next to a fence or the house, place your tallest plants behind shorter ones so they don’t cover them up. That might seem obvious, but you may not think about it when it’s just a small plant or bulb, etc. Know how big they’ll get when fully grown. You don’t buy a St. Bernard as a puppy and expect it to stay little forever, right?
Also remember to give your plants some room. If they’re planted together too closely, some are aggressive and could overpower weaker ones, or at least they’ll inhibit each other’s growth. Going along with that, one of Shirley’s biggest points of advice is, “don’t be afraid to give your plant a haircut!” In other words, don’t be shy about cutting things back—no matter if it’s a shrub, tree, flower or foliage. There are millions of possibilities for creating a beautiful garden or luscious landscaping. Drive through some Ivory communities to get ideas, and then figure out what works for you!