Designing your Home Landscape? Don’t Forget You’ll Have to Maintain it

Written By: Andrew Blanchford

Jan 20, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Have you been thinking about how to design your landscape? There’s no question that a landscape design can completely transform your property and help you enjoy your home to the fullest. There are a lot of reasons to get excited about getting the design process underway. Just be sure that you’re also focusing on the big picture.

In other words, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to get so caught up in designing their home landscape that they forget about the fact they’ll need to ensure it’s maintained upon completion, too. Landscape maintenance requires an ongoing investment in order to truly get the most out of your finished design.

For this reason, it’s important to think about maintenance on the front end of the design process so that you’re ultimately happy for the long term. The decisions that you make on your landscape design regarding everything from layout to plant material are going to have a direct impact on how much maintenance will be needed.

The Importance of Landscape Maintenance in the Design Process

So often, landscape maintenance is an afterthought (not just for homeowners but also for many landscape designers). The focus is solely on getting the landscape design completed and there is no thought process beyond what happens after that.

This is where things can really go awry. While the design might look amazing when it’s first finished, it could be an ongoing maintenance nightmare if poor choices were made.

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That means that in a relatively short amount of time, it might no longer be looking its best.

Fortunately, at Blanchford Landscape Group, we handle both the landscape design and the landscape maintenance in-house, which means that we can think about the big picture when we’re working on the creation process. They really do need to go hand-in-hand. After all, if you’re going to invest a lot of money into your landscape, you want it to look good for more than a couple of months.

At the end of the day, you want to be able to enjoy your landscape for the long haul.

Making Landscape Maintenance Part of the Design Thought Process

Ultimately, all of this boils down to making landscape maintenance part of the design process as opposed to an afterthought. The ongoing maintenance implication of any plant material or layout decision that is made must be considered.

A Low Maintenance Landscape

For a lot of homeowners, keeping maintenance needs in the “design conversation,” ultimately means creating a low maintenance landscape. Although homeowners certainly want a property that looks fantastic, they also don’t want a space that needs a tremendous amount of lawn or landscape maintenance to keep it looking great.

One way that we can achieve this is by naturalizing the perimeter. This is often achieved by introducing a feature found in the naturally occurring habitat like a native meadow of wildflowers. This will help to blend the new landscape design with existing nature. With the selection of native plant material that will thrive with minimal care, these areas should ultimately be relatively easy to maintain.
In general, the selection of plant material during the landscape design process is really important in terms of “thinking ahead” about future landscape maintenance needs. You want plants that are not going to require tons of care to look and perform their best. Fortunately, there are many native ornamental grasses that can make a great choice and only need to be cut back once a year.

Various perennials can also deliver value without being high-need. They are also typically only cut back annually (unless you want to keep them blooming longer by deadheading an additional time).
In Bozeman and Big Sky, MT we are fortunate that there are many plant choices that are both low maintenance and visually attractive. After all, homeowners don’t want to sacrifice color or texture for ease of maintenance. The key is to work with a landscape professional who has extensive horticultural knowledge (that includes a long list of potential plant choices).

Right Plant, Right Place

Beyond plant choices, the selected place to install them is also important. There is a saying in our industry that goes, “right plant, right place.” This means that even if you’ve chosen a plant that generally performs well in our region if you don’t pay attention to its specific condition needs (and plant it in the right place), it could still fail. For instance, a shade-loving plant that’s planted in the full sun is ultimately going to perform poorly.

Oftentimes, poor landscape design choices like these can’t simply be overcome with maintenance. If a plant was not installed where it will thrive, it never will. You can throw all of the water and fertilizer at it and it’s still going to decline. This circles back to the importance of making thoughtful and wise choices from the onset. You shouldn’t have to deal with a struggling landscape because of the way in which plants were laid out. These types of problems are avoidable with some forethought at the very

Preventing Animal Damage

Another landscape maintenance consideration that really ought to come into play when designing your home landscape is potential animal damage. Here in Montana, landscaping can be drastically impacted by wildlife, making it incredibly important that thoughtful choices are made from the onset.

Much of the damage that occurs from wildlife happens in the form of “feasting.” Animals like moose, deer, and elk might decide to use your landscape plants as a 24-hour buffet! This can be problematic when you’ve invested in having beautiful plant material in your landscape design.

But damage can also occur when animals rub their antlers on your trees and strip away the trees’ cambium (the vital layer between the inner bark and the outer wood). This can injure or even kill your trees.

Because animal damage is a serious threat in our area, it must be considered during the design process. You don’t want future damage to impact your landscape’s aesthetic appeal. A landscape designer who is looking at the big picture will be considering what types of animals are most problematic in your specific area, and how to deal with them. There can be a variety of preventive steps taken to avoid damage. This might even include paying close attention to where plants are plantings 1

Choosing a Montana Landscaper that Knows the Importance of Landscape Maintenance

When it comes to making sure that you get a landscape design that you’ll love for the long haul, you want to choose a landscape professional who understands the importance of landscape maintenance. You want to be able to enjoy your landscape as much (or more) down the road as you do the day it was installed!

This comes down to choosing a landscape design professional who can also offer maintenance. On top of that, you want to select a landscape professional that will take a well-thought-out approach to everything.

Not all landscape professionals take maintenance seriously. But proper ongoing landscape maintenance is a vital aspect of keeping your grounds looking and performing their best.

At Blanchford Landscape Group, we understand this importance. In fact, it’s why we have a dedicated Garden Services division that is solely focused on ongoing landscape maintenance for our clients. Each and every property is unique and requires a customized solution to keeping everything looking its best.

If you want your finished landscape design to be one that you also love—not only now, but well into the future—then it’s important to work with a company that takes the design and maintenance process seriously. When it comes to investing in your outdoor living space, you deserve nothing less.

Are you ready to begin the process of creating a landscape design that you adore at your Bozeman or Big Sky, MT home? Let’s connect and talk about your project. Then, we can meet and begin talking about your ideas. We can’t wait for you to enjoy your beautiful (and well-maintained) outdoor space!

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Topics: Landscape Design, Landscape Maintenance

Posted by Andrew Blanchford

Andy grew up in southeast Pennsylvania. He holds a Bachelors of Science Degree from Pennsylvania State University in Landscape Contracting. He is a Certified Plant Professional and is the only Certified Landscape Industry Manager in Montana. When not at work he has fun with his family. He also enjoys travel, trail running, skiing, and the great Montana outdoors.