Amid the pandemic, more and more people are turning to their own yards for entertainment and leisure. Even avid gardeners can brush up their skills with our easy landscaping hacks any Missouri gardener should know. Here, we are focusing on low-maintenance gardening ideas that also incorporate the best environmental practices used in landscaping today.
Ready to learn some no-fail gardening hacks from our horticulture team? Let’s dig in!
Landscaping Hacks for any Missouri Gardener
- Pick Perennials. Every gardener should have a few keystone native plants in their garden. Why? Native plants are also perennials, meaning they grow back every year. Like trees, these plants will grow more established each year, too. They also provide critical resources to birds, butterflies, bees, insects & more. Luckily in Missouri, we have a large selection of beautiful perennial plants to choose from, that add interest and color to any yard – sun or shade. Some of our favorites include Echinacea (Coneflowers), Goldenrod, Aster, Spicebush, Coral honeysuckle, Sweetbay magnolia, and Red oak. Plants should always be selected based on yard conditions and overall landscape design. Beginners tip: You really can’t go wrong with coneflowers. Once planted, they spread over time, giving you a mass of bright purple blooms that couldn’t be easier to care for. Pro tip: These can be deadheaded in late summer to encourage new blooms, just be sure to leave dried flowers at the end of the year, for birds to enjoy. Find other perennial ideas here!
- Embrace Less Lawn. If you think you don’t have room for a garden; think again. Most yards feature more than enough lawn space, which was “the norm” for homes back in the day. Now, people want usable lawns surrounded by natural elements like trees, boulders or flowers. You can get more out of your yard by leveling a smooth, even swath of lawn and surrounding it with interesting natural elements. Replace a plain, hard to mow hillside with a cascading garden or tiered retaining wall. Add shrubs and plants around your front entrance instead of grass that you constantly have to fertilize, mow, and maintain. Don’t be fooled; lawn space is high maintenance and can easily replaced with lower maintenance hardscaping, plants, or even a rock garden.
- Create Pathways to Replace Bare Side Yards. Often used to access the backyard, side yards can be a sight for sore eyes with compacted, bare soil that gets muddy every time it rains. Luckily, the solution is pretty simple, when you replace that heavily traffic space with a paver pathway or stepping stones. The surrounding area can be mulched to keep weeds away, or add plants like we did for a landscaping client in the photo below. These evergreens will fill in and pull double-duty as privacy screens between the two backyards and will absorb more stormwater run-off, leaving you with a healthier yard!
- Crowdsource Your Collection. Next time you take a walk around the block or get together outside, take a look around to see if you can divide and trade plants with a friend! Perennials grow best when they have room to spread, and oftentimes you see large masses of well-established perennials that can be divided and replanted in other areas of the yard, or in your own yard! Get free plants by “shopping” the backyard of neighbors, friends, and family. With a little bit of work, you’ll be helping both gardens thrive. Plants that should be divided every once in awhile include hostas, creeping phlox, iris, peonies, and coneflowers.
- Plant to “Bridge the Gap” in Bloom-Times. If you live in Missouri, you are familiar with our “bloom or bust” outdoor living season. We experience extreme temperature differences throughout the year, and most gardeners put little thought into expanding the bloom-time of their landscape. With a little planning, your garden can be blooming for months longer just by selecting different plants. We love native Asters or Goldenrod for late-fall interest and Penstemon or Celandine poppy for early, low maintenance blooms. For additional months of color, give bulbs a try. Plant them in fall, for an ultra-early spring burst of color.
- Leave the Leaves (and a large, artfully placed log, too!). Every fall we clean-up and haul off thousands of pounds of leaf litter from yards. Most homeowners prefer a completely neat and tidy yard over winter. Yet, if you leave some leaves in your garden beds and around trees, you’ll be doing our local wildlife a huge favor. Wildlife needs habitat to survive winter in Missouri, and even some leaf litter can be a huge help to our outdoor environment. Large limbs and logs can also provide much needed habitat for wildlife, while providing winter interest to your yard.
- Dig into Design. Most people don’t have a master plan for their outdoor space, and it shows. A landscape design gives you a plan to follow, that you can work on throughout the year. Once you have a design for your yard, you can go all out by installing statement elements like a new paver patio or outdoor kitchen, then working on adding more and more trees and plants throughout the years. Or, you can start with a simple new garden bed in the front yard first. You don’t have to do everything at once, but with a landscape design, you’ll have an easy to understand guide on what to do next.
- Spread Out Spending. Plants, soil, rocks, and materials for gardening can get expensive. To keep your gardening habit affordable, you can spread out spending throughout the year to take advantage of plant sales, nursery specials, or opportunities for free natural materials you can source locally (Facebook groups like St. Louis Native Plant Swap or St. Louis Sustainable Backyard Tour regularly have people posting about plant giveaways or free saplings, and you can find community resources for free mulch and compost, too!).
Of course, the easiest landscaping hack of all is to hire a professional, like Quiet Village Landscaping to do all of the gardening and hard work around your yard! Over the past 20 years we’ve been in business, we’ve picked up some serious gardening skills, and put them to good use in every yard that we care for. Landscaping smartly is our passion, and we take the guess-work out of planning, designing, planting, and care. We dig in deeply to sustainably care for outdoor spaces so that they not only live, but thrive.
If the pandemic has you peeking out of your window, wishing for greener views, we’re here for you. Get more landscaping and gardening hacks from our blog here. We regularly share the best ideas for the outdoors with wonderful plant recommendations, landscaping ideas, gardening tips and tricks of the trade. You can also find plenty of outdoor inspiration on our Instagram page, filled with seasonal content to keep you engaged with gardening tips perfect for any Missouri yard. Thanks for reading!