Even with the likelihood of a drought in the Pacific Northwest again this year, there is no need to be resigned to wilted, brittle and brown plants this summer. There are many ways to keep a garden looking lush during summer, while conserving water. First, by analyzing the site environment, we can select the right plants for the existing conditions. The most successful plantings will be those that thrive in existing conditions. The less that has to be done to alter those conditions, the more successful the landscape plantings will be.
Water less often and more deeply. This encourages plants to develop deeper roots and draw from water stored deep below the surface of the soil. Shallow watering equals shallow roots and drier conditions for plants. After heavy rains or a deep watering, mulch garden beds to help seal in moisture and insulate roots from heat, resulting in less need for water. Prune back overgrown perennials and shrubs — fewer leaves mean less plant mass to support and less need for water. Never allow plants to wilt. Stressed plant are more susceptible to disease and insect infestation. These simple steps will keep plants healthy and therefore better looking, no matter what the weather does.
A drought tolerant garden requires thoughtful planning.
I like to draw from a palette offering an array of interesting flowers, leaf types and growth habits. I recently designed a garden that cascaded above a rock retaining wall using a combination of Artichoke, Barberry, Blue Oat Grass, Rock Rose and trailing Rosemary — all plants that not only survive, but thrive, in Northwest landscapes. Well drained soil, direct sun and conditions on the dry side are perfect! Once established, they will thrive with little or no watering.
Typically, most drought tolerant plants fall into the lower maintenance category. Many thrive in dry summer conditions and tolerate wet winters, making them excellent choices for the changeable Pacific Northwest climate.
Here’s to summer around the corner and an easy care, beautiful garden!
Does your garden add value to your home? Does a dilapidated landscape hurt the value of your home? Recently, when my house was appraised I asked if my garden affected the value of my property. The appraiser explained that he accesses the worth of landscaping by comparing it to the neighborhood average: the margin above the average is where landscaping becomes equity. Next, he pointed out the degree to which your landscaping exceeds the average is when the value becomes measurable. I was surprised to find that my garden added more than twenty thousand dollars to the value of my home. This was confirmed when Zillow http://www.zillow.com/ updated its assessment of my property. I can see, by comparison, my property has also increased in value in relation to my neighbors with no landscape upgrades.
I am happy to know this as a landscape designer, avid gardener and homeowner. Does it influence my own decisions regarding my garden? Not really. But, it is good to know that, with planning; there is really no way to go wrong. That is my kind of investment!
Container gardening is for everyone, whether you have a small balcony or extensive landscape. Large pots, small pots – they all add to any homes’ outdoor decor. Continue reading
The benefit of making simple landscape updates is that, even if you decide not to sell your home, you benefit from the results in the meantime. Not long ago, I placed a large, sculptural potted evergreen, prominently in my front yard. Whether or not its beauty contributes to a higher selling price for my home, it creates great curb appeal and I, and my neighbors and guests, enjoy it every day.
So, what kinds of landscape upgrades can make your entire home, more appealing?
- Start with the basics: remove overgrown shrubs and trees. These can make your lot look smaller than it is and dwarf your house or hide desirable views. Place colorful pots of flowering annuals or evergreens near the front door, ensuring that your home feels welcoming.
- Big ticket items like ponds and waterfalls are not safe bets for adding value to a home, but if you love them they are worth the investment and the quality of life. So put those in when you buy! However, people always enjoy the sound of gently running water, so a small fountain can add a lot of ambiance without a much cost.
- When fixing up your outdoor areas, don’t just consider how the garden looks from a curb appeal perspective, but also how the layout appeals to someone standing inside looking out. Decide on captivating garden vignettes, such as clusters of colorful potted plants and arrange them within the windows line of sight. Attractive views always distract from any negatives aspects you might want to play down.
- Short on ideas, time, and money? Get help. A landscape designer familiar with garden staging, can help you create a prioritized list of options that will increase the overall appeal of your home and give you pointers for getting the biggest return on your investment.
Michael Muro Garden Design offers real estate staging services in Seattle , WA