It makes homeowners feel good when their yards look like showpieces without taking a lot of time because that gives them more time with their families.
So more and more homeowners are looking for plants and shrubs that are low or no maintenance and can withstand both very hot summers and cold, lengthy winters, like the one we just endured, said Jean Bragdon, operations manager at Lurvey's Garden Center, 2550 E. Dempster St., Des Plaines.
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"They want things that aren't finicky or, better yet, don't need you to do anything to them and they still look great," she said. "We try to steer people to plants that are easy and showy and will live through weather challenges so the homeowner will look and be successful in their garden."
Drift roses, which are a ground cover rose that performs very well in the heat of the summer, have joined the ranks of hydrangeas and knockout roses as plantings that fall into the easy-to-grow category, Bragdon said.
Succulents are becoming popular, too -- in containers on sunny patios and decks. They tolerate both sun and drought well, so they are great for someone who plans to be gone for an extended vacation during the hot months, she added.
Besides easy-to-grow plants, other popular trends when it comes to landscaping, she said, include the use of "living fences," like arborvitae, to screen homes and afford some privacy for yards and "container flower gardening" on balconies, decks and patios. Homeowners love the fact that the containers are movable and can even be grouped together for parties and other special occasions.
Ornamental grasses that mature quickly, are easy to control and give a home a native look during our long winters are also increasing in popularity, Bragdon said. Many people like to leave these long during the winter for landscape interest during the cold months and then cut them back in the spring. Leaving ornamental grasses long also gives birds a place to shelter, she said, and protects the crown of the plant from heavy snow.
Annuals are also popular since they bloom continuously all season and compliment perennials that bloom for shorter lengths of time on and off throughout the season.
Homeowners are also increasingly combining perennials and annuals in the same beds so they'll have bright color in the spring and early part of the summer as they wait for the perennials to bloom again.
When it comes to trees, most people in the close-in suburbs are planting ornamental trees that bloom, take up less space and don't interfere with overhead lines, she said. Shade trees are usually left to the municipalities to plant in the parkways, unless someone is planting all new trees in a new construction community.
The Lurvey family has been selling sod, landscaping supplies and other garden items from the nine-acre Des Plaines business since 1986 when they purchased the garden center and former farm from Ray and Marion Lindemann, who had operated it for about 50 years. The Lurveys continued to operate the business as Lindemann's Garden Center until 1994 when the name was changed to Lurvey's.
This year the Lurveys have added three new greenhouses for additional covered shopping and to protect plants from the elements. They have also added more hard surface walks. All of the new facilities are expected to open by May 1.
The family also owns a turf nursery in Whitewater, Wis., and landscape supply operations in Volo and Park City.
For more information about Lurvey's, visit www.lurveys.com or call (847) 824-7411.