Now that summer is here, new homeowners everywhere are staring out at their lawns and scratching their heads. For an inexperienced person, garden maintenance can be overwhelming. The tips below are designed to help beginning gardeners learn to care for their new property.
The best way to ease yourself into landscaping is to start small. Plant one or two little garden beds in your first year as homeowner. You can expand into bigger garden beds when you're used to plant care.
Focus on the Basic Needs of the Plants
As a general rule, plants need two things to live through the growing season: sunlight and water. In these first years at your new home, don't worry too much about advanced care methods like applying fertilizers and pruning leaves. Focus on the basics. These tips will help:
- When choosing a type of plant to put in a garden bed, think first of the sunlight exposure that garden bed gets in a typical day. Shade-tolerant plants must be planted in shady areas, while full-sun plants will only thrive in locations where the sun shines for many hours each day.
- Under-watered plants will wilt in the heat of the day. Chronically under-watered plants will become brittle and dry. Watch your plants for signs of drought stress as you get used to their watering schedules, and water them as soon as they begin to wilt.
Annuals are plants that live for one year and then die, which makes them the perfect choice for new homeowners. Their sole purpose on the earth is to grow profusely and make seeds. Many annuals tend to be hardy plants, requiring little else besides water and sunlight to achieve their goals. These low-maintenance plants are perfect for new homeowners because they're hard to mess up, easy to care for, and widely available. As a bonus, the fact that annuals take only one season to die means that mistakes made with annuals aren't such a big deal. You can always plant more next season.
Leave Established Plants Where They Are
Established plants are plants that are many seasons old. They have deep roots that are able to tap into water and nutrient sources far underground. Compared to freshly planted flowers and shrubs, established plants tend to be more tolerant of drought, neglect, and improper care. In these first few years in your new home, the established plants on your property will become your botanical best friends. Whatever growing pains you go through as a gardener and landscaper, these tough established plants will find a way to survive.
You may be tempted when you first move into your home to replace established plants with plants of your choosing. A better idea is to learn the basics of garden care by tending these established plants. In a few seasons, when you understand fertilization schedules, watering schedules, and plant behaviors, then you can start tearing out old landscaping and installing your own.
Get Professional Help
You may find lawn care overwhelming this first year in your new house. Consider hiring professional landscapers, such as those from Ralph Wells Landscaping, to help you with this exciting time. With a small team of professional helpers, your new lawn will look beautiful and healthy.