Walk on the Wild Side: Taming Your Overgrown Landscape

There are many reasons why a garden grows out of control. Certain species seem to take over, weeds spring recklessly into view and branches grow at odd angles. Sometimes the weather prompts particular plants to grow faster than they can be maintained.

Sometimes the wrong plant is chosen for a particular spot in the landscape - aggressive and highly invasive species might not be ideal choices for typical gardens. And sometimes the gardener wears other hats like cook, chauffeur, shopper, maid, etc., and simply can't keep up with a demanding landscape. The following text suggests low-maintenance fixes for a complicated and overgrown garden and landscape.

If you are opting for a typical prairie landscape or highly rustic garden, wild growth and roaming patterns might not make you lose any sleep at night. However, most gardeners prefer to rein in the garden and landscape at some point for a neat attractive appearance as well as for the overall health of all the preferred plants in the setting. By tamping down on the overabundance of aggressive species and weeds, you will contribute to the garden's good health and create a more maintenance-friendly environment filled with attractive plantings and features.

To begin with, there is probably no way around pulling the current weeds and picking up debris. Prune your trees and shrubs back into desired shapes - pruning need only remove the dead or oddly growing branches. Then you must carefully assess the plants that are growing out of proportion and decide whether to move them or barricade them by edging or containing them.

For instance, your pond may become choked with ill health due to the highly invasive nature of most water-loving plants. In this case, it is important to contain those species that grow beyond your level of maintenance.

Setting apart sections of the landscape with edging materials like stone or railroad ties can help to keep plants in place. Containers are attractive features themselves and some plants may be more manageable in a terracotta home than in your lush loamy garden soil. If the weeds are growing out of control, then be sure to mulch.

Mulching makes for a more moisture-retentive soil and tamps down dramatically on weed growth. For busy gardeners, this is a win-win situation, and there are many different types of mulch to suit many styles from tree bark to attractive white stones or pebbles.

Incorporating pavers into the garden as a walkway or patio makes for a visually appealing feature and less lawn or groundcover to maintain. Consider the style of your home before choosing pavers, but stone, bricks and concrete are typically used materials. A patio can be used for outdoor entertainment and may be fitted with other special features like built in planters, a pergola, patio furniture, etc.

Another way control your landscape is to invest in the right tools for maintaining it. A reel mower simply won't do for a large acreage. A tractor mower can make mowing the lawn a breeze. Rakes, spades, wheelbarrows, clippers, hedgers and so forth can add to the relative ease of keeping up a low-maintenance landscape.

If you're finding that the grass grows faster than you can get to it, you may want to remove your traditional lawn and opt for a slow growing or no-mow groundcover. Various types of ornamental grasses and groundcover provide great beauty with very little maintenance. Likewise, there are messy trees that may call for replacement with more stately trees that require far less care. Whenever possible, before adding new plants to your property, find out about their growing patterns and care requirements - they may not be suited to your lifestyle.

On the other hand, an invasive plant may be better suited elsewhere on your landscape where it has plenty of room to grow and fill in a blank space. For example, a row of shrubs may constantly impede your garden path, but may make for a great boundary at the rear of your landscape. So, instead of getting rid of plants, you simply relocate them to a more convenient spot.

Of course, you can always hire a professional landscaper or garden keeper to tend to your land, but once you make the necessary changes and get the landscape cleaned up, you may find that the new low maintenance features make gardening a breeze. If you manage to do all the work involved in reclaiming your wild garden, you will understand just how hard it is to do so - which makes opting for simpler solutions a necessity.

Keep in mind that there are other garden styles than the one you currently have. A rock garden may provide great attraction while minimizing the time you must care for it. Gravel streams and pools and raised flowerbeds filled with rock-loving alpine plants make for an easy-to-maintain landscape. Also, consider adding a large feature like a gazebo or pavilion - it will eat up more planting space, but still allow you to enjoy the outdoors.