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Landscaping for Your Lifestyle
  |  Your Place

Now that the snow has started to melt (mostly) and the sun is out (some days) it has become obvious that winter did a number on our gardens. While many find gardening to be a relaxing activity, without proper upkeep it can quickly become overwhelming. One way to combat this is to create a low maintenance space that goes along with many of the natural elements of the area that you’re in.
 
By hardscaping some of your yard through pathways, patios, and rock gardens, it allows you to enjoy an aesthetically pleasing area that requires little to no upkeep. If you are still looking for plants to fill the space, we encourage you to consider selecting plants native to your specific region. Not only is it beneficial to the local ecosystem, the native plants are already adjusted to the weather and soil of the area and will require less work from you.
 
HGTV offers a helpful guide on how to use rocks in your landscape. While it is initially more expensive, a simple way to incorporate rocks is to simply replace the mulch. Mulch needs to be refreshed yearly, while rocks are a great long-term solution. A rock garden in your front or back yard is another great alternative. Incorporating some of the rocks found in Central Oregon into your garden is guaranteed to update the look. Lava rocks are a unique feature found in Central Oregon and is a nod to the nearby lava fields, but generally river rock is the most popular choice in Bend and the Portland Metro area.
 
Southwest Washington and the greater Portland area offer a unique type of environment to consider when landscaping. The soil is rich and water is plentiful, but there is a point when it can be too much. Rocks can be used to cut down on the mud, but most importantly native plants have adapted to the high rainfall in the winter and low rainfall in the summer. Better Homes & Gardens created a PNW No-Fail Perennials list that will add colors and textures to your garden without the added work. Plant Native, a site dedicated to moving native plants and naturescaping into mainstream landscaping practices, also provides a list of native plant nurseries in the Portland Metro Area and Washington to help you make the right choices.
 
For the much drier climate of Bend, various grasses, trees, shrubs, and flowers that require less water and more sun than the Willamette Valley are ideal. Examples include Common juniper, Pink Monkeyflower, Creeping Phlox, and Goldenrod. Check out this list of native plants to Central Oregon. As with many things around the home, it can be especially beneficial to consult an expert. Clearwater Native Plant Nursery offers a wide variety of native plants and is located in Redmond, OR and supplies a number of nurseries throughout Central Oregon. Wintercreek Restoration & Nursery, located in Bend, is a full service landscape and nursery company working exclusively with native plants. Of course, before spending a significant amount of money on plants, keep in mind that that many local species, including deer, like to nibble on many items found in the garden.
 
No matter what you decide to go with, take advantage of the spring weather and create a space that you will be able to enjoy all summer long!

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About the Author

Megan Swindells

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