Having a landscape professionally designed and built can give your yard a whole new look and feel… but that’s only the first step toward creating a gorgeous space that will stand the test of time.
In order for your landscape to flourish and reach its full potential, it’ll need some regular, ongoing maintenance. It doesn’t take long for weeds and invasive plants to completely destroy the look of your lawns and gardens!
If the thought of taking care of your landscape seems a little daunting, don’t worry. You don’t have to be an expert to perform a few simple gardening chores. This primer will give you an overview of some typical maintenance tasks so you can head out to your yard with confidence.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “a stitch in time saves nine”... well this also applies to garden upkeep! Regularly plucking out weeds when you see them is much simpler and easier than waiting until your garden is overrun.
To make the task of weeding even easier, consider applying a nice, thick layer of mulch over your flower beds, being careful not to pile it too close to the base of your plants. This prevents weeds from germinating and makes those that do extremely easy to get rid of.
It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the plants in your garden so you’ll know how to take care of them properly. If you’ve had your garden professionally designed and planted, your landscape designer can give you this information. If you’ve planted them yourself, check the care tags or look them up on something like the PlantSnap or PictureThis smartphone apps.
Over time, soil can become depleted of the nutrients your plants need to thrive and look their best. The best way to know if your soil can support your landscape’s growth is to perform a soil test. You can pick up a DIY test at some big box stores or send your sample to an accredited soil testing lab for analysis (more expensive, but also more accurate).
After you get your results you’ll know which nutrients you’ll need to add to your lawn and gardens and which type of fertilizer you’ll need to buy. The numbers on the bag refer to the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium it contains. A bag labeled 10-10-10, for example, will have an equal amount of each nutrient, whereas one labeld 5-10-5 will have more phosphorus.
If you don’t have an irrigation system, you’ll need to make sure to water your lawn and gardens if there hasn’t been enough rain. An inch or so once or twice a week will do for mature plants, but new plantings and fresh sod should be watered daily until they’re established.
The best time to water is early morning. This keeps the water from evaporating in the hot sun and gives the roots more time to soak up the water.
If your lawn is looking brown despite having enough water, don’t be alarmed. Cool-season grasses, like the kind we have here in Ontario, naturally fall into dormancy in extremely hot weather and will bounce right back when the air cools down a bit.
You should prune your trees and shrubs every couple of years to keep them healthy and looking their best. Make sure to remove damaged branches and limbs too — if left unchecked they could cause a lot of damage.
The best time to prune is in the fall or in the early winter. This allows the tree to recover before the summer heat comes around. Flowering shrubs should be pruned right after they flower. If you wait too long, you might be nipping off next year’s buds!
There is an art to pruning, and if you get it wrong you could ruin the shape of your tree or shrub. If you’re not sure how to prune properly, this is something our maintenance team can do for you.
If you have a pond in your yard, it’s equally important to maintain it. It’s a big subject all on its own, so we wrote a couple of posts dedicated to caring for your pond on our blog: How to Care for Your Pond in the Fall & Winter and How to Care for Your Pond in the Spring & Summer.
Your landscape also consists of hardscapes, like decks, patios and other features. Because they’re regularly exposed to the elements, they need some proactive care.
The joints of interlock and natural stone should be cleaned and topped up with polymeric sand if needed. Moss and weeds should be removed as soon as they appear. Gently power wash interlock yearly, but leave stone to develop a natural patina.
Decks and other wooden structures should be inspected for damage regularly and resealed and stained every 2-3 years.
Other things you need to keep an eye on are drainage issues and making sure your landscape lighting is operating properly.
In addition to pond and water feature maintenance, we also offer our clients custom maintenance packages to help maintain their new yards.
Packages include plant inspection, pruning, hard-scape inspection, edging, top-up mulch, lighting inspection and more. Contact us today to find out more.