Location, Location, Location!
So you just had your Father’s Day cookout, and realized your yard wasn’t nearly as attractive as you remembered. There’s crispy perennials in the hot sun, spindly shrubs in the shade, and that overgrown tree 5 feet from your house. You water the flowers every day, load the shrubs with fertilizer, and trim the tree every year, but nothing helps. What gives?!
Location and site selection of the plant material you use are key to having a successful landscape.
Site selection can go beyond a shady location and a sunny spot. There are many factors to consider when designing your landscape. Here are just a few.
-Soil: Get a soil test kit from any Fairfax County Library. (There is a small fee of $10.00) You can analyze the soil composition, and pinpoint exactly what you need for specific plants. Beyond the chemical composition, you should look at the physical composition as well. Is it compacted clay with poor drainage with little oxygen, or is it sandy/rocky with great drainage? Certain plants can tolerate wet roots, others will not.
-Mature Size: How large will the plant be at full maturity? It’s important you check the size a plant will be once it is fully established, so it doesn’t overtake the plants around it. Simply pruning a plant every year to maintain a certain size is time consuming, and detrimental to the health of the plant. (Unless your plan is for a Bonsai Garden)
-Sheltered: Are you planting in a location that is sheltered from strong winds? Even on a cloudy day, your plants can lose water through transpiration when there is a constant and strong breeze. If you are landscaping in a windy location, try using plants that are drought resistant. Look for leaves with waxy cuticle, typically characteristic of a rigid shiny leaf. Plants that have smaller or less leaves also help, because the decreased surface area reduces water loss.
There are several more factors that go into a proper landscape, including the possibility of land clearing and excavating.
For now, keep these in mind and it will limit the maintenance of your landscape, as well as increase its overall health. Healthy plants are better at fending off and surviving infections and insect attack. Less maintenance means more time to enjoy life!
If you want an established professional to do the work for you, contact Grigg Design of Northern Virginia at (703)368-7539 to design and install your landscape!