“Know” Maintenance Landscaping – vol. 2
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all”
– Peter Drucker
This is one of my all-time favorite quotes (I have many taped to my office door – see photo), and I think it is valid for a lot of the things I see people doing with their landscapes. I believe in working hard, but working smart as well – and if you are like me, your time is far too valuable to be spent on tasks that don’t really need to be done in the first place. Here are some of my favorites (?!).
Installing edging improperly, and/or where it isn’t needed. The purpose of landscape edging, or bed edging is to form a separation between the garden bed, and the lawn. If your garden beds are bordered by sidewalk, driveway, patio, or other hard surfaces, these become the de-facto edge. There is no need to add additional edging materials (I call this “suspenders AND a belt”). I believe the reason people do this is another mistaken thought: that edging is meant to hold in mulch or rock. Edging should be installed flush with the surrounding grade, with the bed slightly lower than the edging to contain the mulch material. If the bed is higher than the surroundings, then a small wall may be in order. Which leads to my next favorite….
Using retaining wall materials as edging. Wall stone or block is for making walls, which are meant to accommodate changes in grade. It is typically more expensive than edging materials of similar material, and much heavier. If there is no grade change, then there is no need for the expense and extra weight of wall block or stone. See the adjacent photo, which by the way is from my house, left by the previous owner. This has since been replaced with a simple spade-edge.
Fall pruning your shrubs. At risk of sounding like a broken record, this one really gets me. If you missed it in the last newsletter, here it is again. Fall is for preparing for winter. Pruning now stimulates growth and uses resources that plants should be storing for next spring. Wait and prune in early spring, or after flowering for the appropriate plants.