After you’ve put in all that work creating your perfect landscape design, you’ll want to stay on top of care and maintenance in the long term. Upkeep is important for ensuring everything looks beautiful, and your plants and soil remain healthy. Here are some tasks to complete after the first, third, and fifth year after completing your landscape design and some bigger long-term projects to consider.
Thinking Long-Term About Landscape Care
Keeping on top of regular maintenance will help prevent issues later on. Once you’ve completed a landscape design, all your plants are in the ground, and your structures are sound, go through these tasks to keep everything in ship shape!
Landscape Maintenance After Your First Year
You’ll need to aerate the soil at least once a year; this helps prevent compaction, introduces oxygen into the soil, and helps with better drainage so that moisture doesn’t pool. Pooling moisture can encourage root and fungal growth, which you want to avoid in the lawn and garden!
If your mulch needs replacing, rake off the old stuff and spread a new layer. Mulch naturally breaks down over time, which helps deliver nutrients to your plants and soil. However, it can start to look unsightly once it has mostly broken down, and a fresh batch will look nicer.
Begin the year with a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent weeds from germinating in your lawn. Preventative measures will lessen the need to use harsh chemical herbicides later in the year.
Power wash your hardscapes to keep them looking bright and clean. You won’t notice how dirty and dusty they get overtime until you wash them!
Landscape Maintenance After Your Third Year
Divide your perennials by digging them up and splitting them at the root ball. Since perennials come back every year and continue to spread, sometimes they run out of room. The centers of clumped plants may also die out, and you’ll have a bare donut hole in the middle of your plants. Replant the divisions in different spots, or share them with your neighbors to incorporate into their landscape designs!
Test your soil to see if it lacks any essential nutrients. Soil tests will also give you a pH reading. If your soil is too acidic, you can add gardener’s lime to make it more alkaline. If the soil is too alkaline, add compost or another amendment to help acidify conditions.
Reseed where necessary if there are any bare patches or sparse areas. Evaluate your landscape, and if there are any dead or yellowing patches that seem suspicious, check the soil for pests like grubs eating up your grass roots. Gently pull on the grass—if it comes up easily, the roots are probably serving as a snack, and you may see some grubs hanging out around the soil surface.
Landscape Maintenance After Your Fifth Year
Replace river rock if it’s breaking down. While rocks are typically pretty durable, they’ll naturally crack and erode from foot traffic and weather conditions.
Inspect and repair garden edging. Plastic edging is easy to repair—you can remove broken sections, insert a new piece and attach it with connectors. If you don’t use barrier edging, you can re-edge the perimeters to clean up those lines if they’re getting overgrown or unkempt.
Repaint or stain the patio. Paint will chip from foot traffic, rain, and snow. Stains will also start to fade over time, so the wood will look a lot fresher if you give it a fresh coat.
Long-Term Landscape Projects to Consider Down the Road
Patio furniture doesn’t last forever, and sometimes our style preferences can evolve over time! You may have loved the modern farmhouse aesthetic back in 2016, but it might feel a little dated or uninspiring now. Pick a new color palette or design aesthetic and try something new!
Old hardscapes like driveways and paved patios can erode over time as well. If there are sharp cracks in the rocks or pavement, that could be an injury risk for kids, pets, or visitors who may be a bit clumsy. Replace the stone or concrete with a fresh set, or consider switching to a gravel driveway if you’ve had issues with landscape flooding.
Speaking of flooding, if there are any spots where moisture is always pooling, it might be worth leveling the terrain or adding some groundcover plants to stabilize landscapes and absorb excess moisture.
Any other long-term landscape projects you’d like to complete this year? Visit Ted Lare Garden Center—we’re experts on landscape care in Iowa, and we’ll be happy to help you make a game plan for completing all the necessary maintenance to keep your yard looking its best.