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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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Entries in Sunny Knock Out Rose (1)


Almost Maintenace Free: Convert a Front Lawn Into a Walk -Through Garden.

The maintenance of a grass lawn has become too great a responsibility for some homeowners. Others no longer consider a lawn a desirable feature for their property. With fresh approaches to landscaping, developing over time, some gardeners have begun to convert their front lawns into walk- through gardens. It is a mistake to assume that these transformations will totally liberate the homeowner from responsibility. Unless one is planting a jungle or a wildflower-and-grass meadow, there is no such thing as a totally maintenance-free front yard.

Leaving a front garden unattended creates a natural messiness that will depreciate the resale value of a home, destroy its curb appeal, and become blight to the neighborhood. Here are some suggestions for creating front, walk-through gardens that require minimal attention.

  • Weigela Fine WineUse low-maintenance ornamental flowering shrubs that add color or flowers. Vary the foliage, colors, textures, and heights of these shrubs to replace the dramatic interest usually supplied by high maintenance perennials. Consider Weigela  Minuet or Fine Wine.


  • Yucca is neat.Select only those perennials that are genuinely easy-care; Hosta, Astilbe, Liatris, Hemerocallis, Yucca, and Siberian Iris are among the easiest and neatest plants to grow. Avoid plants that spread vigorously, require staking or trimming, or that self-seed. For more suggestions, consult the book listed in the right column of this page titled “50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants".


  • Sunny Knock Out RosePlant self-cleaning roses and hardy shrub Roses that require no winter protection, such as Knock Out Roses, Rose Carefree Wonder or Rose Bonica. There is a very wide range of  hardy shrub roses that are easy-care.


  • Buxus Green MoundInsert low-growing evergreen shrubs into the plan to give the garden year-round color, and architectural volume.  Even when they are untrimmed, these shrubs will remain neat. Some Buxus varieties such as Green Gem or Green Mound will grow into a natural rounded shape of 3 feet in height and width.


  • Avoid the use of groundcover. This naturalistic garden treatment makes front yard  flowerbeds look messy.
  • Spread natural color cedar mulch over the beds to a thickness of three inches to inhibit the growth of weeds and to reduce the need for frequent irrigation.
  •  Keep a USDA approved organic weed killer handy to eliminate unwanted vegetation.
  • Avoid the use of cute, colorful, or humorous garden objects. These tend to make front yards looked unkempt. Instead, choose a bench, birdbath, boulders, or a fountain to add a focal point.
  • Do not plant haphazardly. Pay attention to the placement of tall and short plants. Especially in front yard gardens, tall ones are best in the back or center of a garden. Low plants look best as trim around the outer boundaries. This garden location does not lend itself to spontaneously varying the height of plants. Use contrasting foliage for highlight and dramatic interest.
  • Consider entranceways, walkways, and driveways as integral elements in the overall design. They should not compete with or be overpowered by, the garden. For safety, pathways need to remain clear of plants and the line of vision from the driveway should remain unobstructed.
  •  Respect the architecture of the home. Choose plants that will enhance the appearance of the home rather than become a distraction.