The Secret Formula to Award-Winning Landscapes

Table of Contents

    In this series of posts, you’ll learn the secret formula for award-winning landscapes. We’ll teach you how to make the most of the local growing conditions and transform your property into a stunning oasis you’ll enjoy for years to come.

    Each region of the country has its own unique growing conditions and specific requirements to optimize landscaping outcomes, and the Kansas City region is no exception. Our region’s wide swings in weather conditions—from hot to cold, wet to dry, often all in the same day—can present a challenge.

    Successful Kansas City landscaping involves eight distinct steps. We’ve summarized the eight steps here, and we’ll dedicate a full post to each of the steps so that you can create a breathtaking landscape using techniques developed by the pros.

    1. Design: Your Distinctive Style

    Identifying your distinctive style and then boldly implementing it into your landscape design is the first step in achieving an award-worthy landscape. Without a focused design plan, you risk your landscape appearing mediocre or unfinished.

    You’ll find that in the most striking and engaging landscapes, all elements work together to create a cohesive and pleasing look.

    1. Plant Selection

    Perhaps the most exciting of the eight steps is plant selection. A combination of “trusted classics” and “innovative top-performers” provides the best of both worlds, ensuring a long-lasting landscape that will never go out of style.

    High Prairie Outdoors’s professional landscapers travel all over the country, visiting trial gardens to find the best cultivars available so that we can offer them to the Kansas City area long before—sometimes years before—they’re typically made available to the public.

    1. Secret Step-Game Changer: Soil Customization

    Of the eight steps, this one packs the most power. Soil customization is the secret to a lush, vibrant landscape that exudes maximum plant health. The soil customization step involves three sub-steps:

    1. Have your property’s soil professionally tested.
    2. Determine which of your desired plants will need more support from the soil than is naturally available.
    3. Create a “Soil Customization Plan,” so you can engineer the perfect soil for your desired plants.

    The geological make-up of the Kansas City region means that our soil is typically quite heavy, containing a high amount of clay. That must be taken into consideration because this type of soil can make it difficult for plants to thrive when the ground becomes waterlogged during wet periods of the year. Most Kansas City landscape companies don’t warn their customers about this, and they often use a “one-size-fits-all” type of compost that doesn’t address clay content. A soil customization plan mitigates this challenge and many others so that all of your plants will thrive.

    1. Best Practices: Proper Planting Techniques and Drainage

    For a landscape to thrive, proper horticultural planting techniques must be followed. Every year, it is likely that the number of plants being installed incorrectly exceeds the number of those being installed correctly. Even some of the professional landscaping companies can be guilty of this if their staff isn’t properly trained.

    Just as soil optimization is crucial to a thriving landscape, proper planting techniques and drainage are also key components. Even the most outstanding design combined with the healthiest soil will not be enough if your planting techniques and drainage aren’t carefully considered.

    1. Mulch vs. River Rock: The Case for Both

    If you have a strong preference for one over the other, mulch and rock each have their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, mulch makes a wonderful insulator for plant roots and helps with moisture retention, whereas rock prevents erosion and provides drainage channels.

    Which one is right for your landscape? That will depend on several factors, including your personal aesthetic preferences.

    1. Seasonal Color: Over-the-Top Impact

    Seasonal color can provide a stunning new impression each time the season changes. When your landscape is planned correctly, small seasonal updates can provide significant impact with very little fuss. A seasonal planting schedule can ensure that your landscape boasts beautiful colors throughout the year.

    1. Watering Properly

    Proper moisture is necessary for your landscape to thrive. A well-planned landscape can maximize the benefits of natural precipitation so that the cost and environmental impact of additional watering is reduced.

    1. Caring for the Landscape

    Once all your landscape elements are installed, and you’ve mastered the previous seven steps, you’ll want to develop a care plan to maintain the health and vitality of your new space. Remember that your landscape is a living, evolving thing, and your careful nurturing will ensure that it continues to thrive for the long term.

    Get Started With a Trusted Kansas City Landscape Company

    Following the eight steps in this series can help you to create the best landscape in your neighborhood. If you’re looking for a unique, long-lasting landscape, our team would love to help you get started. Contact us today!

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    About The Author

    Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.

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