Simple Landscape Solutions for Difficult Terrain Simple Landscape Solutions for Difficult Terrain
Bog and water gardens can be some of the loveliest, but they can quickly become wild and utterly unruly with the aggressive nature of water-loving plants. Good drainage in the soil can also be a problematic issue, so finding low maintenance solutions can be of the utmost importance for watery landscapes. The health of a garden pond will be severely compromised by a careful tempering of water plants. Consider planting the most invasive species of water plants in containers near the water source. This will have a big impact on maintenance and provide a more organized appearance of a landscape with an abundance of growth. Adding mulch to other areas will also help conquer poor drainage issues.
Because a wide array of weeds will also invade a water-abundant garden, one dramatic solution may simply be to pave them away. Enlarge your patio with a paving of terracotta tiles or cobblestone to tamp down the growth and provide a place where friends and family might enjoy the rest of the view. Keeping up with the maintenance of these landscapes can be tough, so consider low-maintenance solutions such as a no-mow ornamental grass to replace the traditional lawn.
The reverse problem, of course, is the dry garden. Barren landscapes with very little water can be made as pleasant as any other by working with nature rather than against it. Rivers formed of colorful gravel can generate the idea of water, and mosaic designs comprised of glass tiles in shades of blues and greens can also add a dramatic splash of color to an otherwise muted landscape. Pools of decorative stone are widely popular in Japanese gardens that also use formations of rock to give way to the idea of mountains. There are many desert blooming plants and species that thrive in dry climates, so choosing these will add life to a barren plot.
When a dry landscape cannot support an abundance of plants, relying on decorative features or garden structures can provide visual interest. A garden wall decorated with a fresco-style painting reminiscent of ancient Roman gardens replete with grapevine and fountain might do the trick. Likewise, a stylish pergola housing patio furniture from which to enjoy a series of hanging plants (watered by the gardener daily, of course) will be a terrific enhancement. Rock gardens are enjoying immense popularity, so transforming the space with intricate pavings, river rocks and stone structures can make for very unique landscaping that is breathtaking in its own way.
Landscapes that contain slopes, valleys and hills are tough to garden and tough to maintain. Mowing can be a nightmare and landscaping usually proves difficult given the tendency toward soil erosion of such areas. The best solution is to terrace the steepest slopes. This will prevent soil erosion and hold moisture in place. A difficult area can become the focal point of the landscape given the beauty of terrace gardens. Add a water feature like a small cascade for a pleasing effect. For the hilly areas, consider planting creeping phlox or an ornamental grass that requires little or no mowing. Since valleys tend to collect water and provide poor drainage, consider adding a series of large rocks or small boulders to add interest to the space.
Flat spaces with poor soil can also be difficult to landscape, especially in new developments where there are no surrounding tall trees to enliven the look of the space. Installing supports for climbing plants and vines is one way to give the landscape a more balanced appearance. These types of plants usually thrive even in poor soils, provided they have adequate support such as house walls, garden wills, gazebos, pergolas, arbors and simple arches. They add vertical interest to the garden and offer shade for patio areas. Also, layering your plants by height is a pleasing way to landscape. Again, adding taller grasses to the space or even trying to introduce traditional prairie plants can make for a splendid appearance.
While there are many difficult facets to landscaping, there are usually solutions that can be tried with great success. Choosing plants that are best suited to the climate, soil and microclimates of the property will go a long way in making a pleasing landscape. Keep in mind that decorative features can also be made to function in the garden; fences, for example, might be supports for climbing plants. All in all, finding the right fix for your problematic terrain need not always involve great struggle and expense if you are able to work with what you have and plan the garden and landscape correctly the first time around.
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