Have you ever had a burning desire to re-evaluate your existing landscaping? Perhaps what you used to love about your landscape has changed, either by aesthetics or other changing needs. Shortly after a new house is built the landscape is installed with young trees, shrubs,and new grass. But it’s always difficult to imagine the changes that will occur in the landscape as the years pass by.
Hopefully the original design was well thought out and there are no issues with trees being too close to the house or under a utility line. Outside of raking leaves and mowing the grass, it’s typically a few years before you usually need to worry about making many changes.
Many environmental changes occur as a landscape matures and can have a major influence on the growing areas; the main one is the amount of sunlight available to other plants as trees and shrubs mature. What was once a sunny flower bed can become more suited for shade-loving or partial shade-loving plants. As areas receive less sunlight and are more protected from wind by mature trees and shrubs, water needs may change, perhaps allowing for different plant choices than before.
Perhaps the thing that hits home with many of us, is the changing needs of the owners in regards to uses and ease of maintenance. The needs of a young family may include more lawn and open space for games and play. Over time, however, the effort to mow and care for the turf may become too much work. Changing to a less maintenance intensive landscape, such as paths and gravel features may be in order. Places to sit and enjoy the landscape while taking a break from working on it, or a sunny area to enjoy that morning cup of coffee are just a couple of nice ways to add new life to a tired landscape. Reassessing the original landscape — and taking note of constraints or opportunities — is the first step when considering possible changes.
Those young trees will grow, and hopefully they were well selected for the area they are planted. Poor tree selection is best managed before they become too large. Things like shallow root growth, sucker sprouting, and leaf and twig drop only get worse as the trees age. Views will change as the trees grow, so one interfering with a desirable view will not improve over time. Early transplanting to a better location is an option that will let the tree flourish rather than have to be removed entirely later on.
Regardless if we have a well-designed plan, there are things that come up that you might decide don’t work the way you thought they would. I’m more inclined to make those changes to a feature that isn’t working for me sooner rather than later. If something isn’t working today it probably won’t work any better in the future. I can save the frustration of a blocked view or a plant that didn’t fit the space and make the change to something I will enjoy rather than be annoyed by. So let your imagination — or Pinterest as my wife often does — run free, and take your tired landscape to new possibilities.
A WSU Master Gardeners of Chelan County column appears weekly in The Wenatchee World. Lloyd Thompson is one of four columnists featured. Learn more, visit wwrld.us/cdmg or call (509) 667-6540.