Evaluating your landscape

Evaluating your landscape
Unlike the inside of your home, landscapes change seasonally.

This is a great time of the year to take a good look at your landscape. How’s it working for you?

I generally like the way mine looks. We’ve had a good amount of color in our landscape from the recent rains. While I could complain about the excess rainfall that plagued us from last fall all the way through spring, it did help much of my landscape thrive.

Unlike the inside of your home, landscapes change seasonally. It would be ridiculous for you to rearrange your living room furniture for the summer months to then move the sofa back into a place for the fall, then move it again for winter.

I surely hope no one paints their bathroom to match a season. What a nightmare.

But our seasons do change, and the outside decor of your residence does change in color and with what grows. Maybe it’s just from green to brown and back to green, but still, you get the picture.

And as it changes, do you like what you see? I think everyone gets excited about spring blooming plants, but fall is yet another time that we can have lots of color.

Next time you drive up to your house, park at the curb with the air conditioner running and take a good look at what your neighbors and passersby see. Is it what you want to show? How’s the irrigation working? Are there bare spots or cluttered areas?

Shrubs can get overgrown as they certainly do have a lifespan. Are they needing to be replaced? Are there bare spots that need filling?

Vegetable gardeners - that is, good vegetable gardeners - are thinking ahead to their fall garden with some longer maturing varieties already in the ground.

How’s the hardscape? “Hardscape” is your sidewalk, fences, borders or other parts of your landscape that are not plant material. Does this need updating?

Take a good look at your back yard. Is it the family retreat, entertainment center, or kid-friendly play zone that you want it to be? What do you need to add (or remove)? Are the beds manageable? Do you need to add more structure such as walkways, arbors, or a deck?

I really want a new sidewalk and arbor with a water feature. Something simple that I can do myself. And I have it already mapped out.

For those looking for a simple change with plant materials, there are a number of annuals to add as the seasons progress. I’ve never really gotten into planting annuals, except in the vegetable garden. I don’t like the idea of planting something that I know will be gone in just a few months.

It seems as though I’m always looking for perennial plants, shrubs or even a new tree that will provide a change of scenery as we move thru the months. Adding perennials can be a larger change as they may grow quite large, multiply and cover a significant part of the landscape.

For the record, fall is THE best time to plant trees and shrubs as well as many perennials.

Looking ahead, I just cannot imagine that we wouldn’t be in for a typical hot, droughty summer. There should be no doubt that our hot, dry summers are the hardest time of the year for yards, gardens, orchards, and fields.

So, lets get ready to make it thru summer’s heat and probable dry weather, and make plans for changes come fall.

Cary Sims is the County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources for Angelina County. His email address is cw-sims@tamu.edu