Irrigation, Landscape Science, Landscape Services, Lawn Care, Tips And Techniques

Smart Strategies to Wash Away Water Worries in Your Landscape

Irrigation system watering hedges on stone retaining wall

Water is integral to your landscape’s health, but when not managed properly, it can also create problems in your yard. Because of this, we’re always paying attention to water in the landscape. Is the landscape generally wet, with areas where water naturally collects after a heavy rainstorm, or is it prone to drying out quickly? Being aware of how water moves through or collects in a space is one of the foundational steps of creating a landscape that stands the test of time.

In this post, we’re sharing some tips about plant selection, soil health, and irrigation to help you solve and prevent water-related problems so you can set your landscape up for success.

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Looking for a little extra help with your landscape? Our team has over 30 years of experience designing and caring for Northern Michigan properties.

Plant choices

Plant selection is perhaps the most important element to creating a thriving landscape. You’ve likely heard the adage, “Right plant, right place,” and it’s tried-and-true advice. Plants are naturally predisposed to grow well in specific environments, and when we put them in places on our landscapes that mimic those natural environments, we set them up for a long life and many seasons of growth.

While few plants can survive in totally saturated situations, there are many that handle moist conditions well. Some of our favorites include Eupatorium (Joe Pye weed), Chelone (turtlehead), Iris versicolor (blue flag iris), and Lobelia varieties (cardinal flower or great blue lobelia). On the other hand, if your landscape is prone to drying out quickly, lean into drought-tolerant plants that, once established, need less water. For these landscapes, we love varieties of lavender, sedum, Echinacea (coneflower), and Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan).

Picking the right plants for your landscape’s conditions can be a challenge, but it’s also a great way to flex your creative muscles! If you’re looking for some expert guidance, contact our designers to start planning with a little extra confidence.

Pictured: Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower) and Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower).

Soil health

An often overlooked component of a good garden is soil health. The soil in your garden can have a huge impact in how water moves through your space. Heavy, compacted soils can create pockets of standing water, while loose, sandy soils can drain water away before plants have a chance to use any of it. Achieving a balance of well draining soil that retains a suitable amount of moisture is the goal.

The first step in assessing your soil health is simply observing how water moves and collects on your property. After heavy rains, take a walk around your garden to see if any places are unusually dry or overly wet. Both of these areas–unusually dry and overly wet–can benefit from the addition of organic materials, like compost. Amending your soil with organic materials helps to promote good drainage, as well as water and nutrient retention, helping to improve both sandy and clay soils and creating a better growing environment.

Soil compaction is another issue gardeners commonly face. It occurs over time as soil particles settle, and can be exacerbated by routine foot traffic or be a result of construction projects. Lawns are often the hardest hit by the effects of soil compaction, which stunts root growth and makes lawn grass more susceptible to scorching in the heat, damage from pests and disease, and waterlogged conditions. At Drost, we offer various methods of aeration to reduce compaction, including core aeration, biological aeration, and now airspade aeration. To learn more about how your lawn can benefit from aeration, contact our team.

Irrigation Upgrades

Irrigation systems can be a great help in ensuring your landscape gets just the right amount of water. However, if your system is old or outdated, it might not be as helpful as you think. Many irrigation systems waste incredible amounts of water due to poor setups, leaks and damage, or innate inefficiencies–like watering your plants in the middle of a rainstorm!

While these problems might not kill your plants, they do have an impact on your wallet. To save money and water, we recommend updating your irrigation system to one that’s more water-wise. Here at Drost, we use smart irrigation controllers by Hunter, which are designed to monitor specific data in your unique location that enables you to reduce water usage across your landscape. Our team also performs spring startups and routine monitoring throughout the season to ensure your irrigation system is as efficient as possible.

For more information on smart irrigation controllers and upgrading your system, check out the video below.

As we move into spring and new gardening projects, it’s important to keep the basics in mind. While dealing with water issues in your landscape can seem intimidating, it’s something our team handles regularly, and we’d be happy to help you set your landscape up for greater success this season. Contact our team today to discuss irrigation upgrades, proper plant selections, or how to improve drainage in your yard.

Ready to get started?

Whether you’re starting from scratch or adding to your existing landscape, our team is ready to make your landscape project a success. Contact our team to learn what we can do for you.