Determine the sun and shade conditions of the area to be utilized. Note that sun patterns may vary at different times of the day and year. Place deciduous shade trees appropriately near the home to reduce heating costs.
Base your backyard designs on fully matured plants and trees. New plants may not fill the allocated space immediately. Yet, some plants may overpower other plants or never flourish if cramped next to fences, walls or other plants. Properly spacing plants will help to reduce landscaping maintenance costs.
Add drought-tolerant plants into your landscape designs to save on water, labor and fertilizer. Choosing native or indigenous plants that are well-suited to the area can reduce water consumption by more than 50%. Remember, in the beginning all newly established plants need consistent watering until they get going.
Reduce your water bills and water consumption with thoughtful irrigation systems. Practice early morning or late evening watering to reduce water waste due to evaporation. Water-efficient irrigation systems such as cycle and soak methods, drip irrigation, or low-precipitation-rate sprinklers are important landscaping ideas to optimize plant growth without exceeding the soil’s saturation point. These irrigation methods will reduce runoff, help to retain top soils and lessen chemicals, such as fertilizers or pesticides, from polluting our lakes and streams.
Lawns require more water than any other kind of vegetation. The EPA’s water efficient landscaping estimates that a typical lawn may require 10,000 gallons of non-rainfall watering every year. If rock gardens or low-water groundcovers are not an option, keeping turf areas to a minimum and avoiding watering at the hottest times of the day will reduce water requirements. In addition, slightly taller grass provides shade for the roots and assists the soil in retaining water.
Ensuring sufficient water, as well as avoiding excess moisture in the soil, must be considered. Good drainage is imperative to prevent disease, root rot and pest infestation. Aspects of healthy soil include not only proper moisture levels, but also soil nutrients. Utilize compost and mulch to improve root development, water retention and penetration.
There are multiple benefits to implementing these suggested backyard landscaping ideas such as optimizing space, buying the right combination of plants and reducing water use. All of these lower the initial and on-going costs of your landscaping project. In addition, attractive backyard designs increase the value of your home and offer a wonderfully convenient sanctuary.
(2002) Water-Efficient Landscaping. Retrieved October 19, 2010 http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/waterefficiency.pdf
(2004) Water Efficient Landscaping. Retrieved October 19, 2010 ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/CA/news/Publications/conservation/landscaping.pdf
(2002) Water Efficient Landscapes. Retrieved October 19, 2010 http://www.prcity.com/government/departments/publicworks/water/pdf/Efficient_landscapes.pdf