Home Style
- Page 13
Landscaping for Unpredictable Weather continued

Russian sage and yellow alyssum. Another best practice: go native.


“Plant species that are indigenous to your specific area or region,” recommends Cassy Aoyagi, president of FormLA Landscaping in Tujunga, Calif. “ Native plants have spent millions of years adapting to thrive in your soils and climate and will have the best chance of adapting yet again, requiring no chemical fertilizers or pesticides and much less fuss.”


In addition, think twice about planting species that could lead to a lot of toil and regret in these times of extreme weather fluctuations – including arborvitae, white pine and birch trees.


“With more humid and wet weather, fungus becomes a greater issue than in decades past. For that reason, I am not a fan of roses, which require fungicides and other chemical applications to retain their aesthetic appeal,” Feldman says.


“If you predict that harsh sun or heavy rains will become problematic, place your plants nearer to your home or other greenery to help protect them. Also, consider adding an overhead canopy above prized plants or an outdoor heater on your patio to take the chill off plants positioned there,” advises Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the Fairfax, Va.-based National Association of Landscape Professionals. “Apply fresh mulch around trees and planting beds, as well, which can help them retain moisture and survive during drier seasons, prevent weeds and supply nutrients back into the soil.”


Many mulch materials are on the market, including peat moss, gravel, shredded hardwood, and pine nuggets; if you’re not sure which is best for your needs, consult a landscape professional, Henriksen adds.


When shopping for plants at a gardening center or other retailer, read the fine print carefully. “Do not choose plants that are borderline hardy in your zone. Read the labels and follow the planting instructions,” Moore says.


If you cherish plants and lawns that require more consistent watering, consider investing in an underground irrigation system.


“If plantings are large enough, this is essential to maintain their health and appearance for years, although it’s a significant added cost,” Feldman notes.


Lastly, remember that no garden, lawn or yard is 100 percent invulnerable to the ravages of extreme weather.


“Homeowners can do everything they can to plant the right species and use the most durable materials, but weather can be so unpredictable,” Hicks says. “Keep in mind, also, that all plants require some maintenance at some point.” And a foliage facelift from time to time, too.


“When plants become overgrown or too large for their location, a change is probably necessary,” Henriksen says.