It’s Planning Season for Your Cape Cod Landscape

cape-cod-landscape-whitten-flowers-3Planting perennials, and trees and shrubs, in the middle of the summer is a tough task. The heat makes it difficult for a newly-planted flowering perennial or tree or shrub to thrive and the current lack of rain is making that especially true this year. But planning right now – when your gardens are at their fullest and trees their leafiest – is a smart move.

Grab a pen and paper and make lists or, better yet, grab you phone and take photos so you’ll know exactly what your Cape Cod landscape needs once the weather cools.

Add something here? Subtract something there? Or rearrange everything?

Even if you’ve carefully read the estimated sizes of every plant’s label, or had a Cape Cod landscaping company do the work, plants won’t necessarily reach the exact size specifications listed. Over time, this can leave spots in your beds looking barren or unbalanced. Walk around your home and notice where you need a little something (take pictures!). It won’t be long before local nurseries offer savings on perennials. Plant them in the early fall, and keep them well watered, and they’ll have plenty of time to take root before winter sets in.

Many perennials – hostas, lilies, stonecrop, star flower, gayfeather, catmint, starflower, etc. – can get so bushy they’ll start to overtake an area. These types of flowering perennials thrive on being split every three or so years. If your beds look cluttered, and the bloom yield is down, it’s time for some splitting. In most cases, the safest route is to remove the entire root ball from the ground. You’ll typically find a line within the plant – almost like a part in hair – where it will make sense to make the cut. A tool with a serrated edge, such as a hori-hori, or small saw or hatchet is best for the cutting. Slice right through the clump, return to the soil and water well. Fill in any bare spots – see above – with the leftovers! Early fall and spring are the best time for splitting.

If you’ve gone the DIY route with your beds and they just don’t look quite right, early fall is a great time to rearrange them. If you wait for cooler weather, and water well following the redo, the plants will be fine. Doing it in the early fall – when the plants are still at their full size – will allow you to really see what needs to be done to create a more balanced overall look.

Planning a larger project? It’s time for a lighting check.

If you’re thinking of making a big change to your outdoor living space, now – while you’re enjoying being outside – is the perfect time to really note the sunlight situation. Grab your phone and take photos of the areas you’re considering in morning light, at midday and late in the afternoon. If you want to add a terrace to enjoy morning coffee, do you prefer a sunny spot? Thinking of adding a screened-in porch to keep cool on hot summer days? Then go for a place that’s in deep shade for much of the day. Considering an outdoor kitchen for evening soirees? A part-sun/part-shade location will allow you to maximize the amount of time you’re able to enjoy the space.