It’s easy to get excited about plants and landscape design, but one of the most important (and most often overlooked) considerations for any gardener should be maintenance. Because, while a garden may look fantastic on the day it is planted, how it performs everyday for the years you live in your house is much more important. I spend as much time talking to our clients about how they plan to maintain their gardens as I do asking about their design preferences. One common maintenance challenge at this time of year? Leaves and pinestraw – read on to learn how to plan for them in your garden.
(A Pinus taeda (Loblolly Pine) surrounded by a bed of pinestraw)
If you (or your neighbor) have pines in your yard, then come fall, you’ve got pinestraw. While evergreens don’t loose all their leaves, they do shed on a yearly basis. And, while it can be nice to get a fresh coat of pinestraw every fall, it can also get caught up in your plants, creating a mess. When designing around pines, I try to shape the beds to work with where the pinestraw will fall, so I don’t have to do too much raking. I also avoid smaller perennials which can be covered by the falling pinestraw and hostas whose leaves can be pierced by the sharp ends when it falls.
With the beautiful fall color you see at this time of year comes the inevitable leaf removal. When I meet with a client on a property that has lots of mature trees, I always ask them how they handle leaf removal. While some clients hire a maintenance service to remove leaves, lots of our clients try to manage this chore on their own. When this is the case, I encourage them to create an area for the leaves to be blown into and composted on their property, rather than to bag them for disposal off site. If the property backs up to the woods, one option may be to plant a mixed hedge at the woodline, leaving room for the leaves behind it. While you still have to blow or rake the leaves to this area, removing the bagging chore makes leaf removal much more manageable.
Interested in meeting with a designer to figure out how to have a beautiful and low maintenance garden? Contact Bright Leaf Landscaping at 919-475-1015 or fill out our online contact form. Design and installation are our expertise, and we are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential projects!