Deciding which Plants to Keep when Landscaping

We’ve all been there… Landscaping, pruning, or even just doing a bit of yard cleanup… There’s always at least one plant that we’re trying to decide what we should do with it. Should we keep it as is, move it somewhere else, or just finally get rid of it??? This can be a tough decision, but here are some questions to ask yourself that can help you decide…

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Question #1: Do I love it?

We’ve all been there and had that plant that we just couldn’t ever think to get rid of! Whether it’s the beautiful flowers, wonderful smell, or just the memories attached, we have a hard time letting go. It could be the last plant standing in the middle of a complete yard makeover. Or it could be located right where you want to put the pool. Either way, there are ways to work past this…

Consider transplanting, potting, or getting a cutting! This way your beloved plant will still be around, but won’t be in the way of any renovations…

But, if you only like it, then toss it. There will be plenty of future plants for you to absolutely fall in love with!

Question #2: Is it too big?

This is what gets most homeowners. They plant everything perfectly, then three years later, one plant has grown so big it looks like it’s trying to take over the world! If you can trim it back, go for it. But there’s usually a reason why you haven’t gotten to it yet (see my question on time). Or, if it can’t be easily trimmed back without looking garish, then think about removing the whole thing. It’s better to plant something to fit the space than to be battling it for years…

Question #3: Is it in the way?

Most plants that are in the way are just too big, but occasionally we can have smaller plants that are also just plain in the way. This reminds me of my friend who has some bushes lining her front walkway. She keeps them well trimmed, but the walkway is so small that people are constantly brushing into it. Get more than two people on her front step and it gets claustrophobic! So, I suggested… get rid of the plant! Open it up! You should never have to squeeze past a plant or trudge through a flower bed unless you’re retrieving a lost soccer ball.

Question #4: How much time does it require?

Let’s get real here. How much time do you really spend in the yard? Maybe an hour a week? Some people spend more time, some people spend less time. So, if you’re constantly running short on time and not ever getting around to your yard’s To-Do list, then it’s time that you make it easier on yourself. What is taking the most time in your yard? Is it mowing the grass? Edging? Or is it trimming back the hedges? Whatever it is, there are ways to fix it. Consider mixing things up and think of what you can change in your yard to make it less of a burden. I promise you’ll enjoy it much more when you’re not stressed about all those To-Do’s.

Question #5: How much water does it need?

This question has become really important in the last few years. With water prices rising, sometimes we have to ask ourselves if we really want to invest that much money into watering those guzzlers! Consider replacing with low-water alternatives. Or, consider transplanting all the water-loving plants into one area of the yard. That way you can flood the one section without wasting it on the rest of the yard that doesn’t really need the extra liquids.

Question #6: Is it invasive?

Let me suggest this one thing… If it’s invasive, get rid of it. And make sure you get rid of all of it. Now, I realize that there are a lot of invasive plants that people absolutely love. These plants are fine to grow if you know what you’re doing.

First off, know how it spreads. If it spreads through the roots, consider planting in pots or in designated beds that are separated by concrete. Believe me, invasive root systems can be a pain to get rid of if they have time to get established.

If they spread through seed, however, be considerate of neighbors and don’t plant it where it can spread to other yards. Also try to stay up with the pre-emergent herbicides to keep those seeds from spreading.

This is why I suggest just getting rid of it. If the plant has invasive tendencies, then either take it out once and for all, or make sure that you have the time available to properly care for your plant.

Question #7: How well is it doing?

If your plant is thriving where it is, then don’t worry about it. But if it is looking like it’s been having a rough time, consider either transplanting it or getting rid of it. Sometimes a plant can do better in either a sunnier location, or one that gets a bit more shade. Other times, it might be right on the edge of surviving the cold winters or hot summers and might do best in a pot where it can be moved indoors in extreme weather. Or, if it is just not doing well and there are other problems with it (like you don’t really love it, or it’s in the way, etc…) then just get rid of it.

I hope this list helped you to determine what to do with the plants in your yard. And remember, not all plants are the same. Just like not all people are the same. A person has groups that they get along with and groups that they can’t stand! It’s the same with plants. If you are having bad thoughts about a particular plant, then consider replacing it with something that works better. If you do your research, then odds are that you’ll find a replacement plant that you absolutely love! And that’s what you deserve… a yard filled with things that you love.

And for more awesome tips on landscaping, check out my post, Designing your Yard in 10 Easy Steps!

Happy digging!

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