Southern landscaping offers a wide range of options to the lawn and garden enthusiast. In the Deep South, life may be slow and somewhat lazy, but the garden plants grow rapidly and thrive.
Mild winters and hot, humid summers lend the perfect environment for landscaping your property to support the outdoor lifestyle so common in the south.
Your first southern landscaping project may be getting your lawn in good condition. Summers can be quite dry some years, so you may find after a season of too little rain that your turf has become shallow rooted and weeds have crept into the growth.
Weeding can be accomplished by hand or you can kill weeds using herbicides. After the weeds are gone, encourage strong grass growth to help crowd out weeds to prevent a rapid regrowth. Keep in mind, however, that some weed seeds can lie dormant for long periods of time, so you will need to keep a vigilant eye on your southern landscaping design.
Almost every home with southern landscaping has garden flowers. You will probably find yourself planting flowers in the early spring and, by planting the right choices, you can enjoy blossoms all summer. Begonias and petunias hanging in baskets are very easy to grow in the south. Marigolds, snapdragons, sunflowers, four-o’clocks, black-eyed Susans, and so many other flowering plants will do well in the conditions provided in garden designs in the south.
Shade is an important feature of southern landscaping. During the hot summer months, everyone gathers outdoors for cookouts, or simply sits under the shade tree to relax and enjoy life on a humid, slow afternoon. Oak, magnolia, sweet gum, poplar, pine, pecan, and maples create dense shade. If your home does not have shade, choose a rapid-growth shade tree like the “popcorn tree”, Chinese tallow-tree. Within only a couple of short years, you’ll have a picnic table under the shade tree just like your neighbors.
Southern landscaping requires thick layers of mulch to preserve the moisture in your garden. Not only does ample mulch provide moisture preservation, it discourages weed growth and even helps with pest control. While southern winters are mild compared to the north and northeast, most areas nonetheless experience at least a few freezing nights. The layer of mulch protects plants roots and helps the over-wintering process. When mulching in the Deep South, be sure to apply plenty. A layer three inches deep of fine mulch or six inches deep of course mulch should be sufficient.
Soil types vary in southern landscaping. You’ll want to visit your USDA Cooperative Extension agent if you are new to the area and learn what type soil is in your area so that you will know if you need to amend or aerate the soil to help your landscaping thrive. Much of the southern soil is largely clay and compacts, resulting in water being unable to absorb deeply. Remember to calculate your material requirement thoroughly, use of cubic yard calculator to help you through the process.
Southern landscaping projects should be done in the spring to allow the plants time to adjust to their new homes before the heat of summer. It is not abnormal for the temperature to reach triple digit during late June through early September, making it difficult to enjoy your landscaping tasks. Those are the days you want to be able to sit under that shade tree and enjoy the fruits of your springtime efforts.