Landscaping Maintenance
Give your garden and landscape ongoing attention and care to allow it to thrive and provide you with wonderful benefits all year round.

Overall plan

Your overall plan for your landscape and garden should include a planting schedule with ideas on plant species, arrangement and spacing. You should also read up on how best to prepare your garden beds for different plants and a schedule (possibly in calendar format) telling you about maintenance requirements once your garden is established, including how to deal with pests and diseases.

This is because your garden plants are living organisms that require routine maintenance to thrive. You also need to ask whether you enjoy working outdoors to maintain your landscape? Will you do the maintenance yourself or hire someone in? Consider how much time you have and whether you enjoy yourself in the garden. It takes little time to plant a large vegetable or flower garden, but considerably more time to keep it weeded, watered and protected from disease and pests.

Landscaping Maintenance










Irrigation

If plants with similar growth requirements are grouped together they can be watered as a whole using an appropriate type of irrigation system. Overhead sprinklers or pop-up heads on an underground irrigation system may be best for lawn; while trees, shrubs and flower beds benefit most from drip irrigation.

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Fertilising

Try to recycle as many nutrients as possible by applying leaf mulch compost to your planting beds. But bear in mind that over-fertilisation leads to excessive growth and more frequent pruning and can also force growth that is more susceptible to insect and disease attack. Plant nurseries can advise you best on what sort of fertiliser to use.

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Pruning

When replacing trees and shrubs avoid planting where they will outgrow their allotted space without frequent pruning. You can always use several different types of plants to create interesting textures and colours in your landscape.

But you should never delay pruning because this problem will not correct itself and the need becomes more pressing with each season. You should cut out the weak, narrow joints on branches and crossing or competing branches while they are still quite small. Use scissor-cut hand pruners and pruning saws for larger cuts.

Landscaping Maintenance








Inspect for pests

Make regular inspections for disease and insect outbreaks because pests are much easier to control if they affect only a few leaves or one branch.  Don't let them spread to several plants or a shrub border.

It's advisable to get to recognise pests and the sort of damage they can do and check for organic remedies. If you are a keen gardener you will probably already have a relationship with a plant nursery and you can show them a damaged leaf to help identify a pest and its remedy. Always act quickly.

Mulch

Use several centimetres of mulch around plants to minimise weed growth and conserve moisture. This also helps control erosion, reduces soil compaction and moderates soil temperature. While organic mulches (wood chips or shredded bark) break down and add organic matter to the soil, you may need to add some nitrogen fertiliser to avoid nutrient deficiency.

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Plant arrangement

Scattered plants take more care than plants massed together in groups. Try to group plants of similar environmental needs because it's difficult to provide proper water and light to all plants if those with dissimilar needs are mixed together. Beds should be narrow enough for easy access: if the bed is accessible only from one side, make the maximum depth about one metre. Locate hanging plants above ground beds so any excess water is used by the garden below.

Landscaping Maintenance








Hardscape

Hard-surfaced areas like patios and decks are relatively low maintenance. If your pathways, fences and edging around garden beds are well designed they will have a low, flat interface allowing a mower to ride up over the surface and eliminate the need for hand-edging. Otherwise, trim by hand.

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Light and warmth

For gardens and outdoors areas which need light and warmth in winter there are a number of options you can choose to achieve the dual summer/winter effect:
  • Grow decidous trees, shrubs and climbers;
  • Grow climbing plants that you can prune and which grow back rapidly in the spring;
  • Create shade using materials easily dismantled such as sails and umbrellas,
    verandah louvre systems and rolled shade cloth.
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Environmental tips

To reduce the environmental impacts of landscape maintenance:
  • Use irrigation systems and practices that minimise the use of water and always water in the coolest parts of the day to minimise evaporation and leaf-scorch;
  • Use integrated pest and weed management practices to minimise use of chemicals;
  • Make sure your landscape and garden don't produce polluted runoff; and
  • Set aside an area for composting to minimise the amount of green waste 
    generated by your garden now and in the future.

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