Our Kansas City weather is unpredictable, but one thing holds true, our combination of high heat, high humidity, and southwest winds can wreak havoc on a west facing landscape. Whether refreshing your current landscape or moving into a newly constructed home, taking the necessary steps to prepare the soil, choosing the right plants for the job, and figuring out how/when to water can be as troublesome as deciding what color to paint the house. With all the hubbub of being a homeowner, the last thing you want to do is create more work for yourself and allow less time with family and friends.
While all sides of your house are important and should be considered equally, this blog is meant to provide insights to the west side of your home with the hopes that your educated decisions will pay off and less time will be spent worrying about plant health and maintenance.
Good Soil Will Help Westward Facing Landscapes Thrive
Preparing your soil for planting is key especially with new construction. More often than not, the dirt that was dug for the area of your foundation is then used to fill around it and compacted after construction. Let’s face it, it makes sense in terms of material displacement and resources but not for most plants health and well-being. Would you want to walk around all day with shoes that were two sizes too small? Adding a nice layer of topsoil and thoroughly amending it with a natural compost will create strong roots that can have a better fighting chance to push through our heavy clay soils.
Plants That Require Less Water Will Fare Better
After your soil is ready, the next step is choosing the right plants. For the west side of your home this doesn’t always mean choosing drought tolerant plants if you plan to water, but if minimal maintenance is your goal, then you will be better off with something that requires less water such as: grasses, sedums, and sun loving perennials. Layering and planting groundcovers is also beneficial as this will help to shade and insulate your soil, further requiring less water and minimizing the need for annual mulch. The photos in this blog are from a long-time customer of ours, depicting happy healthy plants in full west sun. Please use these as a guide when making your plant decisions or give us a call to discuss.
Water New Plants More Often Until They Are Established
The final consideration is watering. Our previous blog: Water to Live, Live to Water – A Watering Guide, discussed the whens, whats, and hows of watering and should be used as a reference when determining how to give your new plants what they need. We also have additional watering information on our website under the Resources tab. New plant material will need more attention, but if you choose the right plants, once established, they should more or less take care of themselves with the exception of some seasonal or annual maintenance.
Again, it is important to remember that there are no maintenance-free landscapes, and though I know it can be frustrating to come home and have more work to do, it is a good thing to get outside and get some fresh air! So enjoy the rest of your summer and here we come, Fall!