By Tucker Stultz, Residential Landscape Manager

Summer is here at last, and with that comes, swimming, longer days, and late-night gatherings. Spruce up your outdoor spaces to prepare for backyard barbecues and warmer weather before this long-awaited season passes you by. If your yard could use an upgrade, you may want to consider the following before jumping into a new project.

How much maintenance will this require?

An eye-catching landscape doesn’t necessarily need to be difficult. And if you choose to install an automated irrigation system, your yard will take care of itself. As discussed in past articles, irrigation systems save money and take the hassle out of babysitting your plants. You will only have to focus on occasional pruning and weeding of the area, which a monthly or bi-weekly landscape service can also provide. 

However, if you have a smaller yard or don’t want to use professional landscape maintenance services, consider the amount of work that will go into your yard. If you are someone who likes to be more hands-off, consider native plants, evergreen species, and ground cover that need less fuss.

If you prefer more involvement and want to make landscaping and gardening a hobby, consider adding more flowers, vegetables, and fruits. These plants can be higher-maintenance, but they create more layers to your look. Take it to the next level by appealing to your senses with fragrant plants such as the shrub Daphne odora (Winter Daphne), or the climbing shrub Jasminum officinale (Common Jasmine). Both release intoxicating scents and bloom beautiful, delicate flowers. 

Know your biome

Before diving in, you also need to know what actually thrives in your area. A broader term may be hardiness zones, which determine what plants can survive at which temperatures. For example, you may struggle to keep your outdoor lemon tree alive, or any tropical, or desert plant, for that matter. 

More specific are the landscape zones, which are different areas in your yard requiring different levels of care. What is the soil in your yard like? What areas get the most sun or shade? What other plants are already growing? What is the topography?

Based on the answers to these questions, you can make more informed decisions about what will be the happiest living in your outdoor space.

We recommend speaking with a professional to advise you on what will last and look the best.

Features & amenities

Finally, you should consider the furniture, features, and decor of your outdoor space that will add charm and sophistication. Fire pits, large or small, are popular right now. People are adding grills, outdoor ovens, awnings, and uniquely-designed patios. If you’re looking to upgrade your space inexpensively, check out twinkle lights, tiki torches, or basic lawn chairs. Even patio rugs add hominess and color at a low cost.

Tucker Stultz is the Residential Landscape Manager at Green Acres Landscape, a full-service residential and commercial landscaping business and nursery in Salem, Oregon.

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