Maybe you have been looking through magazines or noticing the gardens of the homes around your neighborhood and you are planning to do some upgrades in your yard. Before you do there are some things that you must understand about the types of plants you pick and their location in your yard.
There are so many choices to be made in both the selection of the correct plant and the area you place it and the hard part about it is you won’t know for many years if your choices were right.
You can expect bushes and trees to take a minimum of 15 years to reach maturity however at about the 10 year mark you might find a point where you can see the future of your garden. This means unless you move into a home with an established property your children will probably be graduating high school before you reap the benefits of your hard work.
This is true for most plant types whether they be ornamental or working plants such as apple and pear trees.
Obviously things change in our yards over time. We have different desires and things like a swimming pool, porch or shed may mean removal or redesigns but when you purchase your plants you should expect them to mature in that location with enough room to be healthy and also to provide enjoyment for your family.
Making the Plant fit the area is a bad idea
One really bad decision some home owners make when faced with maturing plants that are too large for the area they were planted is to over trim them in an effort to retain the plant in an area too small for its normal size.
Plants need to grow to their natural size to mature and be healthy. If you find that you need to constantly trim bushes to keep them small enough for your property then you either selected the wrong size bush for that location or you over planted the area.
What you will end up doing is fighting the bush or tree for space. As the roots and trunk of the plant mature new feeder branches will easily grow within a single season.
This is not always bad because it means if you purchase a home with a poorly tended yard you can make some dramatic pruning choices which will result in a higher quality and better looking plant in just a short time.
I did this in my own garden where the bushes in the front of the home had grown both out of shape and too large. Over a single year I trimmed the bushes 3 times and removed about a third of the height and reshaped them while thinning. This resulted in a well shaped plant that only took an additional year to hide all of the trimming it had seen the year before.
However in my side yard there were a number of bushes that were planted too close together without any consideration of how large they would become once mature. From over watering the roots had not established a center tap root and sent out feeder roots at the surface. This made the plants weak which meant they would brown during even the lightest drought which resulted in an unhealthy plant that could never become a healthy mature bush.
Types of bushes and their location in your garden
One of the first things to understand is you should never plant a deciduous tree within 30 feet of your home. This type of tree should be located in the south or south west side of your property to give you shade in the summer and when the leaves fall off give you sun in the winter.
If you plant this type of tree too close to your home you will be burdening yourself with the problem of cleaning gutters and dealing with leaves the build up around the perimeter of your home. Although the wind will take leaves where ever it wants trees normally shed their leaves overnight in the fall during the coldest part of the day. Normally wind is not that great in the middle of the night as the convection of the sun at sun up and sunset causes movement of air and wind.
Evergreens are a good choice on the north side of your property because they will maintain their fullness during winter and provide a wind break on the coldest side of your home. However it is also true that you do not want to plant these trees too close to your home. You want to plant them far enough away from the house that when they mature they won’t be leaning on the home or require tons of maintenance year after year to keep small.
Fruit trees should be planted away from the home because they will attract bees. It will not only be the problem of random bees near your home but also that the bees will want to use areas around and even in your home for their home. If they have a great food source just below your attic vent you might find a nest in your attic. The same is true for other pests such as ants. Any type of fruit should be planted away from your home and although you still may have some problems with bees and ants it won’t be as large.
Smaller bushes should be picked for the location near your home. Although the best advice I can give you is to not plant bushes directly around your home it is very common and almost seems mandatory to plant some type of bush border around your home. Although a lesser problem you will also find that bushes attract pests. They provide shade in the summer and shelter in the winter. Also some pests like Ants enjoy eating your bushes about as much as they would a piece of fruit. They use it for food and to build their homes. Birds also will build homes in your bushes and trees and if they are too close to your home during the late spring when they have babies you might find you get attacked when you walk out your front door.
Pick plants near your home which have an appropriate full mature size. Azaleas are one such plant that do well near your home because their largest height is no more than 5 feet and they grow slow enough that you can maintain their size smaller with light trimming.
Sticker Bushes and Thorns
After growing up helping my father with his home and working on many homes myself I have had enough of thorns. I don’t really understand why so many people install bushes in their yard that cause them injury year after year but I have gone on a crusade to remove them from my property.
This summer I started removing a number of overgrown plants from my yard and they included mostly large hawthorn bushes and fire bushes that I have been constantly injured on for years. Not only am I getting older but maybe wiser and I have decided that if I need to work on the yard at least I don’t want a thorn in my hand or in my foot, if a cutting gets in my shoe, I just don’t have time for it anymore and neither should anyone.
I first suggest you don’t plant them unless you have a good reason like partitioning off your yard from a neighbors where you can’t or don’t want to use a fence.
And if you have any you should remove them and plant something nice.. like some flowers but not roses.
Once you get a little older and you can’t take care of your yard as well as you could in your 30’s you will also have bushes full of thorns that are huge… You can’t go through life like that.. Its like that idiot friend who is always causing trouble .. just get it out of your life and you will be much happier.
So I hope this gave you a little insight into how you should approach the planting of your garden.
Primarily you want to reduce your planting so your plants will have room to mature. Sure it may not look as good the first few years but you must find out the mature size of the plant, bush, tree and then locate it properly on your property.
Don’t plant too close to your home. In some areas it can be a real fire hazard such as the south west and in the east side of the country we have hurricanes that can topple a tree on your roof or push it through a window.
You have to take these things into consideration so that your yard doesn’t turn into a jungle that you need a crew to maintain or a chainsaw to rip out.