The garden is your home’s second living room. It is the favorite weekend retreat for those who love plants and gardening on their deck, the quiet and meditative space for those who’d love some fresh and quiet air, and for others the equivalent to our kids’ hideout 一 especially in special and intimate occasions.

Landscaping our garden is thus our way of maintaining this special nook in our home, yet occasionally we may find ourselves daunted with the massive cleanup after a long out-of-town trip, a storm, or even during the annual spring break.

So how, then, to landscape your garden with less mess? Let’s find out in these quick tips:

Plan and Record Before You Plant

Like how we decorate our rooms and home, our garden landscape should also involve some considerable planning. Planning is an integral part of any landscaping project if you wish to reduce or avoid mistakes entirely, save resources, and make sure you throw away less waste.

Get yourself a journal or a pad where you can lay out your ideas. You might want to take note of the following:

Theme: Got a theme or some ambiance in mind? You may want to consider this as it will affect the types of plants, hardscape, and even lighting.

Rotations and Continuity: If you’re getting flowering plants, you might want to consider when they flower, and what to do to keep the garden looking alive even during cold months.

Pets: Got pets at home? Certain plants are dangerous to your fur babies, so you might want them grouped together and inaccessible to your pets. Consider which portions of your garden should be off-limits, and which parts should be pet-friendly.

Pace and Schedule

You may come up with a master plan, but if you forget to schedule it could ruin your pace. Make sure to include in your notes whether you want this landscaping project done continuously until it’s completed, or if you want this done over the weekend only. Scheduling need not be rigid; the important thing is to set the pace and have it noted.

Set Areas for Plants with “Special” Needs

The easiest way to achieve less messy landscaping is usually by choosing plants that suit your local climate and soil conditions. Some of us, however, also happen to be avid collectors of certain plants that require a different environment. If you are one, create a special area dedicated to your collection. For instance, if you have herbs, keep them on countertops in the kitchen where sunlight can barge in easily. Do some extra research and include this in your garden master plan.

Leave Enough Green when Mowing

Tough little critters they may be, grasses still require their regular dose of chlorophyll, so you have to leave some green when mowing to keep their life cycle going. Cutting them too short slows down their growth and gives more “space” in-between their portions for weeds to develop. Leave at least a third of their leaves for stronger and deeper roots, less water and fertilizer use, and less trimming.

Keep Messy Plants Away from Watery Areas

Plants like bamboo, bottlebrush, or azalea, tend to shed their leaves and flowers a lot, which can clog drainages and passageways in ponds, garden pools, and fountains. Besides getting them off the watery spots, have these florae strategically planted so that all their “mess” can be easily gathered, either for composting or as their very own natural fertilizer.

Plants and Personal Space

Plants have personal spaces that need to be considered during their planning stage. While they are still small buds or are still freshly repotted, you need to protect these spaces with fences, nets, hot pepper spray, and other pet and animal deterrents. After all, we don’t want the buds we worked so hard to grow to get overrun by birds and rodents overnight and turn into compost material, right?

Contain Compost Properly

Speaking of compost, one of the best practices among gardeners is making use of natural fertilizers as it’s safer and healthier for the environment. What better way to make them by making the compost yourself, with all the fruit and vegetable scraps and peels from the kitchen, plus the fallen leaves, barks, and flowers from the garden?

Because compost is made of organic material, however, putting them together without making a mess can be challenging. You don’t want to advertise them to wild cats, dogs, raccoons, and rodents to make a further mess out of them and spread some bit of stink over the neighbor’s property.

Make sure to put your compost collection in compost pits or bins located neither near your own home nor near your shared border with the neighbors. About 10 ft from either the house or the gate should do. The site they are located must neither be too cold, too hot, or windy.

Most importantly, the containers must be protected from prying paws, beaks, and snouts, and covered once the compost has completely broken down. Having a wheelbarrow and shovel nearby will greatly help you move the fertilizer around.

Have a Garden Waste Bin

Having a dedicated waste bin, also known as the “Green bin”, for your garden lets you properly dispose your garden mess in a more earth-and-community-friendly manner. This is especially useful if you are unable to generate enough compost for your own garden, or if you have garden cut-offs that are too large to put in your own compost (like piles of tree branches or logs). Certain companies, like Dumpster company RedBoxPlus of Denver South Metro, provided dedicated containers like the green bin, just by making arrangements with them.

Reuse and Recycle Construction Bits and Bobs

“One person’s garbage is another one’s treasure,” or so they say, but in this case, you can reuse and recycle waste from your own or a neighbor’s house remodeling. You can make use of old bricks, slabs of concrete, lumber, tree stumps, and other discards and turn them into creative hardscape features in your garden.


So there you have it 一 these are just some of the tips you can follow to help you landscape your garden without creating a lot of mess, whether during the project or afterward.

Which of these practices have you done so far? Which of these tips do you find yourself drawn to and wish to do in your upcoming landscape project? Feel free to share your thoughts by sending us a message or just by commenting below!

Morgan Wilson

Morgan Wilson, holding a Master's in Horticulture from Cornell University, has been an influential figure in gardening and landscape design for over 15 years. Before this, he worked as a landscape designer and a horticultural therapist. He has provided insights into organic gardening, native landscaping, and urban gardening solutions. Her background includes working in public gardens and environmental education. He is a nature photographer in her spare time and participates in community greening projects. He is also a great birdwatcher and enjoys creating wildlife-friendly garden spaces.

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