Basic landscaping

What is meant by basic landscaping? Basic as in plain and homely? That’s not what this page is about. Rather basic as in simple and easy to care for. What basic landscaping means to all the readers of this page may in fact vary considerably. You, for one, may be thinking:

  • I don’t have a lot to spend or I don’t want to spend a lot now, but I would like to start landscaping my yard.
  • I only have a small space, but I would like it to be nicer and greener.
  • I have no time to take care of an elaborate landscaping, so I want something simple and easy.
Perennial geraniums are easy to grow
Most perennial geraniums, or pelargoniums, are very easy to grow

You may be trying to imagine a basic landscaping plan for a backyard, for a front yard that also serves as a parking space, or for a simple flower bed. Whatever your space, whatever your needs, there are ways to make any location better looking and more practical.

Economical landscaping

There are many ways to make your basic landscaping less costly. Here are a few ideas:

  • Plants greatly vary in price. Even top rated nurseries sell some plants at very cheap prices. Prices are based more on rarity and growth rate. Rare plants that grow very slowly will carry big price tags. Common plants that grow fast can go for just a few dollars. Native plants are almost always a good bet. They are often cheap, and since they are well suited to your soil and weather conditions and have natural defenses against local bugs, they require less fertilizers and pesticides. So your chances of having healthy, no problem plants that will grow well are that much better.
  • You would be surprised how many people would like to swap or simply give away plants. They get a given plant and after a few years, the plant has grown so much that it takes up too much space. It happens with irises, geraniums and all sorts of plants. They spread and spread until you just have to take some out. Simply ask around or look for a gardening club in your location. Free is even better than cheap.
  • You can always grow plants from seeds. Plant seeds are often very cheap and if you start them early, your plants will be just as big and look just as nice as the plants you find at the nursery.
  • Many cities and towns have turned to composting of organic matter and most of them simply give out some of the compost they produce. There are also inexpensive ways to make green fertilizers and green pesticides.

Basic landscaping for small places

Creating a basic landscaping for a very small place can be quite a challenge. Our page on landscaping small yards can give you a general idea of how to imagine a small landscaping.

No Space on the Ground, Use Vertical Space, Like this Climbing Hydrangea
Use Vertical Space, Like this Climbing Hydrangea

Here are a few important things to consider when creating a basic landscaping for a small yard:

  • Every bit of space is important, even those spaces you wouldn’t normally consider. Let’s say you have a driveway paved with asphalt that extends all the way to the wall of your house. Why not remove a strip of asphalt, let’s say 18 inches wide, and use that space for shrubs and flowers. You can build a low wall and fill the space with top soil if the soil under your asphalt isn’t fit to grow plants.
  • Potted plants may be a nice addition to your basic landscaping. You could add a few flower pots of different sizes in a corner and use them to grow plants that remain slim and ones that hang down over the pots.
  • A small space tends to look its best when the landscaping is full when every bit of space is used at its maximum. If you have a very small yard and want a minimalist landscaping, then you may need to design a “miniature big landscaping.” That requires talent and a lot of maintenance.
  • Use your walls to grow plants. Climbing hydrangeas, for instance, can turn a boring wall into an attractive one. Growing Boston ivy on a plain wall will make your house cooler all summer long and turn a beautiful red in the fall. Why not have plants growing out of pots attached to the side of your house?
  • Why not turn your driveway into a green driveway? Turf blocks let you grow grass right in your parking space. Of course, it doesn’t work if the car is in the driveway all the time, since grass does need water and sun in order to grow. Some people remove all their asphalt and replace it with a couple of concrete tracks they can drive their car on. When the grass is high, the tracks barely show.

Basic landscaping that requires basic maintenance

If your idea of basic landscaping is landscaping that requires basic maintenance, then consider the following:

  • A beautiful turf lawn requires a lot of care. There’s the mowing, of course, then the wedding, the watering, the fertilizing, and that’s if you have no specific problem. If you have perfect lawn growing conditions, with enough rain and sun, it may not be so bad, but it will still require some care.
  • Native plants have spent thousands of years adapting to your local conditions. They typically like your water, your sun and your soil, plus they can usually defend themselves against your bugs. So there’s almost nothing left for you to do once you have put them in the ground. Cut a few branches here and there and that’s it.
  • Our motto is “the right plants in the right places with the right conditions.” If you follow our motto, then chances are you won’t have too much to worry about and too much work to do in your yard.
  • Find a knowledgeable nursery employee and ask for worry-free plants. They take care of plants all day long, so they know which plants constantly need care and which are completely trouble free.

For more information on this topic, have a look at our page on low maintenance landscaping.

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The right plants in the right locations with the right conditions