Five New Year’s Resolutions for your Landscape!

Five New Year’s Resolutions for your Landscape!

This is the time of year when we promise ourselves that we’ll make a change and start being better at something. For all the garden lovers and homeowners out there, I would like to suggest five New Year’s resolutions to consider implementing for 2011. It may seem a bit tacky or rude, but making recommendation to clients for their gardens is part of my daily routine, so in that spirit I present five New Year’s resolutions for the home landscape.

Repeat after me, I resolve to:

1   Severely limit or completely eliminate chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides! Seems like a no-brainer right? Not so fast. A quick stop at any garden center or big box nursery section reveals a plethora of chemical “solutions” (read: problems) for just about any problem (read: symptom). We have come a long way in the last few years my friends, but we still have a ways to go.

Start a compost bin! This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to lower your trash output and provide you with material to build soil health. Enough said!

Come to terms with my lawn! This one should have dozen exclamation points after it. As homeowners, Americans have developed an overactive adolescent crush on large expanses of lawn (read any symbolism you like into that one!). Lawns are boring, vast, resource sucking spaces, not meant to be tucked into every corner and under every tree. Now before you banish me to the Arctic Circle, I am not anti-lawn. When sculpted into the landscape, with enough room allowed for personal use and cared for organically, lawns are a beautiful functional part of any well designed landscape.

Not be afraid to stretch my garden’s legs! A quick drive through any suburban neighborhood reveals a major aesthetic problem with today’s landscapes, “The Foundation Planting”. UGH! Your yards are bigger than you think people and there is no need to shove all the plants in your garden up against the house in a bed that’s six feet deep. Expand the planting beds, and for this you’ll need to eliminate some lawn (see previous suggestion), but by doing so you will achieve a better balance in your landscape and the house will not look like it’s holding its breath trying to fit into a small space.

Experiment with foliage! (not what you’re thinking) There is a vast array of foliage color, size and texture in the plant world and it is here that good planting design begins. Mixing and matching plants with interesting foliage will provide year round interest, and any blossoms will just be icing on the cake!

Well there you have it, five simple resolutions that will make your landscape environmentally friendly, sustainable, and the envy of the neighborhood. Please consider any or all of them for your garden for 2011. Now, I’m off to build a worm bin!

Happy New Year, and please share your gardening resolutions for 2011, love to hear them!


14 thoughts on “Five New Year’s Resolutions for your Landscape!

  1. I like these, Scott! I am so not a fan of the “cookie cutter landscape” which is that no matter where you go in the country, we have the same landscaping. Whose idea was that? LOL Lawn reduction, composting, no chemicals, PLUS experimentation with different plants can go a long way in taking care of the drudgery of the “sameness.”

  2. Scott, I’m with you! Especially #4–I’m so done with the foundation hedges all lined up and blocked off, with a row of annuals in front. Gives me horticultural nightmares.

  3. Hi Scott,
    I love your new year’s resolutions and wholeheartedly agree with all of them! Especially the ones about lawns. ugh is right. Happy New Year to you, too!
    Cindy Juliano
    Garden by the Sound

    1. Hi Cindy, trying to get homeowners to shrink their lawns is like pulling food away from a grizzly! Sheesh! Thanks for commenting and Hope all is well.

    1. Offering up the challenge, eh John? I need to do some serious renovating here also, so that I practice what I preach. This Spring! Thanks for commenting.

  4. Ah, #4. the foundation planting. I am in a new development — very nice houses, great location, quite upscale, but not only did the builder contract for foundation plantings, he contracted to have exactly the same plants in every single foundation strip. Every one. 70 houses with the same six plants (a weeping cherry at every corner). The gardeners among us have modified and replanted and stretched the garden’s legs, but most remain cloned garden strips.

    1. The classic builder-scaping Laurrie. If only the attention to detail and budget matched the inside of the house. There is rarely decent budget dollars allocated for the landscape.

  5. great ideas Scott…my neighborhood has that problem with the planting bed up against the house and then lawn…I of course have lots of English cottage gardens that are everywhere…my neighbors ask if and when I will be finished and I say never…the garden changes as do I…and the lawns for backyard are not for me…it is all garden with some lawn in between the beds…I am going greener with our lawn as well and eliminating the chemicals…and composting well that’s a given…Happy Gardening New Year!!

  6. Scott, I love the line about a house holding it’s breathe. I’ve been slowly increasing the depth of all my existing planting beds to shrink my lawn. And I’m completely getting rid of any grass in my front yard – in a few years I hope to have a little courtyard garden planted mostly featuring foliage plants. Just don’t tell my husband – he’s definitely in the ‘more grass is better’ camp!

    1. I have great plans for my lawn also Debbie, and I love the idea of a courtyard garden. I didn’t want to directly call out the husbands in my post, but without them, there would be less lawn and more beauty in our yards. sshhh!

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