Carefree and Evergreen

Using evergreen plants in your landscape will pay dividends in the long run – both in maintenance and appearance.

Instead of choosing annuals that’re bound to be dead by the end of every winter and summer — and use a lot of water doing it — design a landscape that’s carefree and evergreen all year long. That way you can spend more time enjoying it and less time changing it out and maintaining it all.

  1. Minimize the lawn area. If you have a brand-new-home blank slate, lay out a hose to decide where your lawn will live (use round edges or a kidneybean shape to make it easy to mow the edges.) Everything else in the yard can be converted to beds, mulched, and planted at leisure (after the weather cools down hopefully.)
  2. Instead of wasting time and water on ill-adapted Southern garden plants, choose a designer Texas spikes-and-mounds look that can soldier through summer scorch and cold winters and still look good.
  3. Fill up as much space as possible with evergreen perennials, shrubs and succulents. Sure, there’s flats full of pansies and impatiens at the big box nurseries every spring, but they just turn brown, brown, brown by the end of summer.
  4. Don’t rely on automatic irrigation. Use your hose to establish plants. If they can’t survive a summer, replace them with something that can.

For tough evergreens that you don’t see everyday, check out octopus agave; soft yuccas; sages; South African lily; and olive.

Picture of Brad Wier
Brad Wier
Brad Wier is a SAWS conservation planner. Years in South Texas landscaping and public horticulture gave him a lasting enthusiasm for native plants that don’t die when sprinklers -- and gardeners -- break down. He’d rather save time and water for kayaking and tubing. He is a former kilt model, and hears hummingbirds.
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