Opinions on landscapers choices for Winnipeg?

loralee_2007May 29, 2008

Hi all,

I admittedly haven't posted here, but I'm hoping you can help me. I am a COMPLETE DUD when it comes to gardening - we bought our house in 1999 and have been doing reno/tear down since then, and coming from an apartment before that, I've never had to do any kind of plants so I would sincerely appreciate any feedback now that we are at the point of being ready for final landscaping.

I told our landscaper that we NEED minimal maintenance (and I DO mean minimal!) but still wanted something nice for our frontage, and here is what she has proposed (with my suggestion of ornamental grasses):

- My house has the front door to the far left when facing it from the street. I like the look of pyromidal cedar, one on each side, to give it "presence"

- On the right side, under a box-out living room window, this is what she proposes: 3 Karl Foerster Grass, 3 Blue Fescue Grass, 3 Annabell Hydrangea (close to the front door on the right), and various 6''-15'' boulders interspered.

Our frontage also faces direct south. I don't know if this is enough information for you to comment, but can you tell me:

- Is this in fact LOW/No maintenance plantings?

- DH & I both work min 12 hour days so outdoor landscaping maintenance is nil other than grass cutting...any other plantings you can recommend for our climate?

- Any other comments or questions very sincerely appreciated!


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Please? I dutifully check 3 times a day for your opinions.

Landscaping is expensive, and I'm terrified because I don't have the knowledge to know if these are appropriate choices, and we can't afford to "re-do" if not. We just built a new house and the landscaping budget is what it is.

Unfortunately, out of the 4 quotes that we received, 3 told me I would have to go to a nursery and pick my own plants...they would just design the yard for the plants.

The 1 quote we did receive with specific plants is the basis for my post. Unfortunately, because DH & I work ungodly hours, and I don't drive, getting to a nursery to ask their opinions is not an option.

Can anybody take pity on me? I promise to learn if anyone can help me.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 2:29PM
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Hi Lora. There is no such thing as a no-maintenance garden, but those plants that you mentioned, the grasses and the Annabelle Hydrangea plus the boulders would definately be a low maintenance garden in my opinion. All are lovely plants and do well in the prairies. The cedars are also popular, but I've seen a lot of brown cedars around. They need to be sited properly to prevent winter damage. What the proper siting is I'm not sure but any nursery would be able to tell you if the south side of the house is a good spot or not. You could call Shelmerdines or Shreimers for instance. They should also be able to tell you substitutes if the cedars won't work. Good luck with your garden! BTW, the Far North Forum has a lot of Winnipeg gardeners so you may like to post your garden questions there; I have found them to be very helpful. Debbie.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 9:56PM
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Dear Lorie,

You've already consulted with 4 landscapers who are absolutely correct in their suggestions. The plants they suggested are low maintenance and easy to take care of. However these, most especially the tree, will require daily watering for the first season. I guess what I can glean from your thoughts is that you really want a nice landscape but can't bring yourself to do any gardening. I'm afraid that's just not going to work out and fear money could be wasted.

Because first there's no such thing as NO Maintenance Garden - (many people who fell for this pitch found to their dismay, that yep, a lot of their time is needed)

Second, we don't really know what your threshold is for really "LOW Maintenance Gardening'. One person's low - may just be a tad too high for another.

To clarify on what will be expected even with a low maintenance garden:

Trees/shrubs require daily watering in it's first year before it becomes established.

Weeding (sometimes weekly because some weeds are stubborn)

Soil ammendments: top dressing, fertilizng & mulch (2x a year)

Annabelle hydrangeas - will show if not watered - and they need to be deadheaded each spring.

Ornamental grasses tend to look untidy if not pruned in the spring.

You will need the following tools: Garden spade (for digging), prunning scissors, garden hose, garden fork (to break up soil).

Now I have to say that I too work daily (with the commute, it adds up to 12 hours), don't drive and can only attend to my garden on weekends. So it's not to say, visiting a garden centre to obtain your needed supplies is impossible. Take a taxi if needed. Armed with a list, you can be in and out of the centre in an hour. Let a staff member get the materials for you. Call ahead to place the order.

So if you are willing to take up the challenge - one step at a time, we will gladly help out in guiding you through this.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 11:50AM
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