Plan Now for Garden Success

Manor Woods June 2019 February 27, 2020

With the holidays behind and the slower pace of winter taken hold, this is a great time to reflect on your garden goals for the coming year, including plans for new landscaping. Knowing what you want to accomplish now will save time and help better position your project ahead of the spring rush.

So, time to get out your pen and paper and start making notes about what you’d like to achieve! Have you identified issues with stormwater running through your yard, or are you looking to replace some of your lawn with pollinator-friendly native plants?  A conservation landscape garden might be a great choice.  Maybe you’d like to do more to manage runoff from your rooftop? Rain barrels or a rain garden (or both) would offer the perfect solution. Perhaps you’ve decided it’s time to replace a worn patio or driveway. Why not consider permeable options?

RainScapes Rewards rebates are available for many types of projects from the Montgomery County RainScapes Program. Learn more about the program requirements in order to take advantage of this great incentive program by following this link:

Use this First Steps checklist to help target your options. Once you’ve determined your functional goals, identify the general location of your project on a map, graph paper, or on a survey of your property.

Here are five basic questions to help guide your next step – getting ready to install a project:

  1. What is your aesthetic style? Naturalistic, wild, formal, neat and tidy? What suits your site and your sense of beauty?
  2. Is there impervious surface draining to your project site? If so, from what and where? Indicate this on your plan.
  3. What is the current condition of your project area? Lawn? Bare Soil? Invasive species?
  4. Who will do the work? Is this a project you’ll undertake yourself, or hire someone? If hiring a contractor, do you know who? RainScapes has recommendations for choosing a contractor and maintains a list of RainScapes landscape professionals.
  5. When do you want to get underway with your project? Spring is a very busy season for our local professionals, and they book up early. Do you have a pressing issue to resolve, or are there limiting factors, such as a new addition or a fence that needs to go in first?

If you’re able to develop a plan yourself, great! Plant guidance and much more can be found in the Resources section of the RainScapes website. You can consult the RainScapes Rain Garden technical manual for example gardens (pp. 13-47). We require scale drawings so determine a scale and sketch out your project area on graph paper. Do your research on suitable plants and determine how many of each kind you’ll need and where they will be placed in your design. Our native plants will bring beauty and interest to your garden all year round when properly designed. You’ll also need to provide the size and spacing for each plant species. Put all this information in a list by species for easy reference. The How to Make a Planting Plan handout illustrates the basics of what makes a complete plan. Remember to also include compost and mulch when it’s time to go shopping.

Don’t know where to start or are unsure of the best approach?

Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer, or plan to work with a contractor, RainScapes Program planners are available to help guide the process. Get started by submitting your application today. Now you’re ready for spring that will bloom into a colorful summer!

Photos: Ann English



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