Northern Nevada outdoor gardening: As the snow flies, plan ahead to spring landscaping | Carson City Nevada News

In the past few weeks the floor has been pliable. The temperature, pleasant and the outside beckoned. The urge to plant became difficult to resist. But we have to fight back because it’s winter. I know the 15 day forecast is unreliable, but I can’t help but check it out when for no other reason I want to inject a bit of common sense into my brain. Snow is ahead of us this week. And probably next week too.

So instead of planting, we plan instead. Are you putting in a new landscape or maybe renovating an older one? My first suggestion is to keep things simple because it’s way too easy to overplant. My second suggestion is to know the growth patterns of the plants you plan to plant. Know their height and spread at the time of ripeness, or you will get a landscape like mine where all the trees are too close together and some of them need to be removed year.

The free spaces between and around plants are like the remains in music. They define the melody and harmonies. Without the visual resting places, your landscape becomes a loud cacophony.

For a new landscape, I recommend planting shade trees first. They are the backbone of the landscape and it takes years to establish themselves. Pick trees that are drought tolerant and resilient to our harsh environment. Don’t make the mistake I made and plant evergreen trees that will shade a large walkway and make it icy and dangerous in winter.

When remodeling or renovating a landscape, ask “what works”, “what doesn’t” and “what could work better”. Use the answers to help control the changes you want to make. Maybe it’s less lawn or more lawn. It could be removing flowers or shrubs that aren’t thriving and replacing them with harder, more comfortable versions. You might want to add more color or plants for the birds.

The purpose of planning a new landscape is to get it right the first time (although this rarely happens!) So that it meets your expectations. During a landscape remodeling, the goal is to improve your landscape, whether it be aesthetically pleasing, reducing maintenance, or tweaking the layout to better suit your needs.

Early planning can reduce work in the long run. We also put our “Get me out!” Energy in the planning will hopefully keep us from planting too early.

– JoAnne Skelly is Associate Professor & Extension Educator Emerita at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at [email protected]

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