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Karen Siddall
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Texas SmartScape for the DFW Region

Plan changes to your existing landscape now

Here in North Central Texas, it sometimes gets too cold to go out and work in the garden. Instead of watching cat videos on YouTube all day, visit one of our area’s best online gardening-help sites and start planning an upgrade or a new fresh look for your home’s landscape that will also save water, time, and money.

In 2000, the North Central Texas Council of Governments along with its member cities, launched the award-winning Texas SmartScape™ program. A low-water use, low-maintenance gardening program developed especially for the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Texas SmartScape™ was originally distributed on CDs in May, 2001. In 2003, the program jumped to the updatable Internet version that it is today. (www.txsmartscape.com)

The website can walk you through redesigning your entire home landscape or just that one ugly little corner of the yard that has been annoying you since you bought your home. It will help you keep in mind your needs for your landscape as well as the needs of the landscape itself (soil, mulch, water.)

One of the site’s best features is its easy-peasy plant search engine that contains only plants that are native or adapted to our area, weather, and climate. You want something that has yellow flowers that bloom in spring in full shade and will come back year after year? You can search for that (OOH, Texas Columbine), and the website will have a picture and information all about the suggested plants.

While you’re staying warm inside and planning your garden facelift, keep in mind a couple of other aspects besides new plants.

  • Rather than tackling the whole yard, pick a single area and focus your efforts on that. Looking at the entire yard at once can quickly become overwhelming and you may decide to throw in the towel before you even pick up a trowel.
  • Group plantings according to water requirements.
  • Avoid creating hard-to-mow areas to reduce the amount of future yard maintenance.
  • Walkways and patios provide space that never needs to be watered or mowed. These spaces can also add value to your property.

Creating a plan for your home landscaping with these considerations in mind can save you time and money in both the short and long run.  Knowing what you need before you go to the nursery later this spring gives you focus and a shopping list to work from. Having already done your research, you’ll avoid buying plants that won’t thrive in your landscape, and purchasing plants that are suited to our area may save you from having to repeat this process year after year. In addition, reducing grassy areas and replacing them with low-water-need plants or no-water-needed walkways will reduce the amount of supplemental watering required during the summer which will be reflected on your water bill. A lower maintenance yard may also impact the time you spend working on your yard instead of just enjoying its beauty.

 

For more on low-water use, low-maintenance landscaping, go to www.txsmartscape.com, and visit the Prairielands Groundwater Conservation District website at www.prairielandsgcd.org.

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