KISS: Keep It Simple Simon
I can’t say this enough. If I had a dime for every client that would say to me, I want low maintenance so give me lots of beds.
Unless you are an outdoor lover and enjoy yard work and/or have set a budget to pay for monthly bed maintenance, massive bed plantings are NOT low maintenance. Think about it. Even the most properly prepared beds are going to require maintenance on a monthly or more frequent basis.
Primarily weeds are a major factor regarding the maintenance issue as well as keeping plants spot trimmed and bed edges looking crisp. If they are kept in check with REGULAR pulling and/or spraying, things will look good. Let those 1/4 inch weeds go unchecked for a month, two months or more and the landscape can literally get lost in the new uninvited jungle.
Not only does the landscape get lost, but pulling those what are now little trees, becomes a chore of much greater hardship.
Now imagine that same area being lawn. It matters not how many weeds pop up there because they’re being “maintained” by being cut with rest of the lawn on a weekly basis. Don’t get me wrong, a house with only lawn can be as grody and unappealing as a house with overgrown bed spaces.
The goal is to find the happy medium where you factor in your available time and/or finance budgets, then design and plant accordingly.
A side note on weed fabrics. In our experiences, fabrics are great as a base under a stone covering. Under mulch, fabrics become a problem.
What happens is someone with good intentions lays fabric with mulch on top. The first few months, those fabrics do retard weeds. But what inevitably happen is the mulch breaks down and becomes a composted soil on top of the mulch.
The millions of weed seeds that are blowing around and being deposited by wildlife eventually find their way on top of this composted mulch and presto, you have weeds on top of the mulch. The problem with this scenario is if the weeds grow for a month or so, they actually anchor their roots into the fabric making weed pulling a doubly nasty chore.
We’ve pulled and removed untold amounts of fabric from below mulch beds.
In closing, when picking your plants, use your brain and that tidy yard will keep you sane. And also, leave the fabric alone, unless under stone.
From Randy Marucci, Green Acres Landscaping