Though it can get hot in the summer and cool in the winter, the Texas country around Abilene is perfect for growing most of the year. As a result, you don’t have to look far and wide to find beautiful home gardens and gorgeous landscapes. However, if you are a new homeowner with a hopelessly black thumb, you might not know where to start when it comes to designing and growing your own luscious yard.
This simple guide can walk you through the best tips to building a brilliant landscape in or around Abilene.
First, Let’s Talk About Grass
Grass just grows in Texas – but it’s not always the right type of grass, and it’s not always where you want it. For visual appeal and balance, up to 50 percent of your landscape should be grass – but no more. Too much lawn is not only difficult and expensive to manage, but it tends to look wild and unrestrained rather than designed. An unkept lawn is worse than no lawn at all, so if you don’t have time to properly care for your grass, you should obtain local lawn services as soon as possible to keep your grass healthy and in check.
In Central Texas, the best lawn is made of warm-season grass, which will turn brown and go dormant during periods of cold and drought but spring back to life as soon as the temperatures warm and seasonal rains start. Some options you can consider – which include low-water-use turfs – are:
- Zoysia grass
- Buffalo grass
- Hybrid (non-invasive) Bermuda grass
- Prairie seed mixes
Next, Shrub It Up
Once you have established your lawn, you should start adding shrubs. Shrubs serve several purposes in a yard: They add visual interest in all seasons, define spaces, hide unsightly elements, and more. Even better, there is near-unending variety when it comes to shrubs, so you can give your garden a unique personality by planting an assortment of your choosing.
Plenty of Abilenites opt for non-native shrubs, and you can do the same. Indeed, rosebushes, azaleas, hydrangeas, and others produce dramatic blooms that brighten up any landscape. However, because these shrubs are not native to Central Texas, they are difficult to maintain and demand expensive resources, like special soils and boatloads of water. Instead, you should consider looking in Abilene’s natural backyard for shrub inspiration; you might find gorgeous, native options like:
- Flame acanthus
- White mistflower
- Texas sage
- Texas kidneywood
- Red yucca
Trees are endlessly beneficial when added to landscapes. First, trees provide shade and cut wind, which can reduce your home’s heating and cooling costs and keep other plant life alive throughout the year. Additionally, trees increase property values. There is a reason that properties in old, established Abilene neighborhoods are sky-high – it’s the old, established trees that add so much character.
However, trees must be planted and well-cared-for before they can provide any benefits. Because the successful implanting of a tree can be difficult, it is best to allow professionals to put the tree in the ground. Additionally, before you choose a tree, you should understand its growth patterns, so you can prune the tree without harming it.
The most charm comes from trees that are native to the area they are growing. For homes in and around Abilene, the best trees include:
- Red cedar
- Desert willow
- Texas ash
- Escarpment live oak
Splashes of the Seasons
With the three above elements – the lawn, the shrubs, and the trees – you have established the permanent features of your yard. Now, it is time to add annual flora, which will provide pops of color and texture that alternate with the seasons.
Often, it is best to plant seasonal blooms in containers, which you can move around your garden for optimal light and temperature. You can also plant annuals in designated garden beds that are separate from your perennial plants. If necessary, you can mix perennials and annuals, but by doing so, you are making your gardening job more difficult: Annuals typically have vastly different soil and water needs than perennials, especially if you establish native species in your yard and decorate seasonally with non-native plants.
Because annuals wilt and die after a few months, you shouldn’t feel compelled to purchase only native options. Instead, you can grow whatever you are drawn to – or whatever you are certain you can keep alive. Excellent beginner annuals include:
- Blackfoot daisies