With Springtime here, and Summer right around the corner, I thought I’d share a few
tips on how we make our landscapes really beautiful.
Whether you live in one of our 55+ communities for active adults or not, it’s always nice to have an attractive yard.
Also, since we don’t control the communities once we’ve sold out of them, perhaps some of you living there would like to know how we did the landscaping before you took over the HOA. Many of our communities have landscape committees, and some of them have some good green-thumbs, but I’m sure that there’s someone out there who might find this article interesting.
How to make your planters pop.
A recipe for stellar flower gardens
Every year, we make an emphasis on dolling up our senior communities. Inevitably, this means placing large orders of flowers. But a good flowerbed starts before the flowers ever get planted.
First of all, we find that raised beds look much better than flat beds. So if you have room and dirt enough to berm your flowerbed, it will make your flowers look more bushy and full.
Also, make it easy on yourself. The last thing you want to do is be watering them each day by hand, and believe me, they like water. So plan for sprinklers or drip systems if you live in a climate that is dry, like ours here in Utah.
Next, and this is the fun part, picking out the best flowers that will make your yard pop.
Over the years, we’ve developed a short list of our favorite flowers. You could call this the Leisure Villas Recipe for landscaping:
First ingredient, is your perennials. These are important, because as their name suggests, they will come back each year. So you’ll want to carefully consider where to plant them.
There is one thing I would caution about here though. If you want your garden to look the best, don’t be lazy. It’s very tempting to plant only perennials and call it good for the next several years. This is fine, really, but if you really want to upstage the Jones’ next door, you need to take it up a notch.
I would plan for about 15-20% perennials, which can get pretty tall, and fill the rest with annuals, short and medium sized. You will want a definite variety in height.
This gives you a great variety and control over your flowerbeds.
Here are our favorite tall perennials:
For small and medium sized winners, try some of these which will often be annuals:
Zinias (the profusion sort are really nice, but they sell out quickly)
Dianthus: These flower for a long time and are usually bi-annual or perennial.
Petunias: You really ought to have plenty of petunias. Make sure to get the ones that are most likely to be spreaders, as these will fill up the most space and cover the ground, even overlap each other nicely. They are with out a doubt the number one most planted flower by Leisure Villas.
Having a yard that would make most neighbors jealous seems daunting. But when the local pre-schools start stopping by to take class photos in front of your flower garden, you can secretly hide behind your curtains and smirk with satisfied delight.
Now, just because you have a winning combination of flowers, it doesn’t mean that you’re done. I would also recommend a few smatterings of bushes or grasses, like Karl Foersters, and even some short ornamental trees if you have the room.
Once you’ve got a good variety, don’t forget to fertilize. These flowers can look great, but they will really thrive under ideal conditions. Something close to a 16-16-16 granular fertilizer will ensure that your flowers are well fed for the summer.
Then don’t forget to pull out the weeds occasionally. Once the flowers are spread and thriving, most weeds will either be choked out or completely overshadowed by the beautiful colors, but keeping it as weed free as possible will only magnify its awesomeness. Oh, and don’t forget to cut off the dead flowers, especially with plants such as geraniums. Dead dried flowers will not show well.
As you may have guessed, there are some costs involved with a flower bed of this magnitude. If you buy all your flowers from a nursery, then expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1000 or more, depending on the size of your planters. I’d also plan on spending a full day tilling your garden, and planting.
Ways of reducing costs, might be to start your own flowers from seed indoors, rather than buying them from a nursery. This isn’t always practical for everyone, but now is the time to start prepping for it if you want to go that route.
So is it worth it?
I asked myself this for a couple of years. Finally, last year, I bit the bullet and planted this arrangement in my yard. The price-tag hurt, but after having a full summer of non-stop blooming, with granted, a few hours here and there to maintain it, I have to say, that this might be a regularly budgeted luxury that is totally worth it to me.
So true, it is a luxury, and I don’t really care for upstaging my neighbors, but it made our yard feel great, and we fell in love with our yard all over again.
I hope this has been helpful for you. Whether you try this in your yards or not, is entirely up to you. Perhaps you even have a different winning combination of flowers. If that’s the case, I applaud you for it. This is just the formula we use at Leisure Villas, and it works very well for us.
Have a great summer, and enjoy your landscaping.