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Top landscaping tips for 2017

By Hosea Omole
Updated Thursday, December 29th 2016 at 09:41 GMT +3

You have read and heard a lot of landscaping advice and ideas throughout the year. Some may have been helpful; others were just not for you.

Still others could have been too complicated or too costly to execute within your means. Others were probably outrightly absurd, especially those from those know-it-all fundis and neighbours.

In the midst of these numerous insights certain basics can easily be lost. Here are some of the most important landscaping tips you should try out in 2017.

Always plan

When thinking about a new garden or any changes you want to make on your yard, it is important to consider how you propose to use the space, not just now but also in the future. This can range from very complex and highly specialised garden spaces, to very little intervention at the other extreme.

Ask yourself a series of questions about the yard’s many roles. Do you want a space for entertaining, a play area while the children are young, or do you simply want a peaceful but beautiful yard in which to relax when you have free time?

Consider these questions and draw up a plan based on how you answer them. The process is a simple one: Lay tracing paper over your base plan, sketch all sorts of ideas, then select or change ideas based on how they fit together and how they sort out your needs.

Choose your plants wisely

Selecting the right plant for the right place is an essential skill for any gardener. Start by doing a bit of research on some of the trees, shrubs, climbers, perennials, bulbs, grasses, and water plants you like in your region. Get information on their design uses, site and soil preferences, mature sizes as well as the shape of each plant. All this information should help you make the right decisions on the best plant to plant where.

Get the right advice

There is plenty of information about gardening out there. Books and magazines, the Internet and your local landscaper are just a few of them. Still there are friends and acquaintances who sound knowledgeable about gardening as well as shamba boys who are ever ready with stories about their gardening exploits.

Don’t believe everything you hear. Find out for yourself that the information you get is factual and relevant. If you can, call in a professional.

Mulch

Mulching is the practice of placing a blanket of organic or inorganic material to cover the surface of the soil.

Few garden practices serve as many functions simultaneously as mulching does. It helps supress weeds, improves water retention and helps control soil erosion. Organic mulches also decompose and add important nutrients into the soil.

Consider the environment

In everything you do in your garden, be kind to the environment. Save water by growing plants that thrive in your area without the need to constantly irrigate. If you have to water, do so in the mornings or evenings and use water efficient irrigation methods. You should also make some effort to cut down on the use of chemicals by using compost and non- chemical methods to deal with pests.

-The writer is a landscape architect

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