Look ahead to successful spring landscaping with some tried and true tips and tricks you can use right now

Stock photo.

March has always been a precarious month of the year, harboring the beginning of spring for those of us down south, but still mustering the last sludges of snowfall for our northerly neighbors. Even so, warm weather eventually arrives no matter where a garden grows, and preparing for it now is the surest way to bring buds into bloom when the time is right, whether on windowsills or wide green lawns. And OK, maybe today’s icy temps aren’t ideal for cracking out the shovels and spades or cranking up the lawn mower—for now, please feel free to stay settled in your slippers for the last weeks of February. But while you’re at it, why not plan ahead with this roundup of landscape stories past, where landscape architects show us the ropes for recreating the spring lawns of our dreams:


Photo courtesy LSU Hilltop Arboretum.

1. What NOT to do in your spring garden

The LSU Hilltop Arboretum is the place to go for all things Louisiana horticulture, as noted in the success of its yearly Spring Fling Plant Sale. As stated by Peggy Coates, executive director of the Arboretum: “The biggest mistake most people make when planting a spring garden is a lack of understanding of their specific site conditions so they can match the right plant to the right place and the way in which they would like to use and enjoy the garden with family, friends and four-legged friends. Before you put the shovel in the ground, you should have an overall design in place for your garden.”

In this piece, Coates goes over some of the most popular plants for Louisiana landscaping, and how to care for them with a gardener’s green thumb.


Photo courtesy McKnight Landscape Architects.

2. Landscape architect Ryan McKnight on his favorite flora for Louisiana homes

Speaking of flowers, there’s more to a bombastic bloom than a simple pruning or a snip of the roots. As any landscape architect will tell you, a plant’s placement can be just as important as its color or temperament. Put the wrong tree in front of a window and you’ve cancelled out natural light; the wrong shrubbery, and you’re in for a perennial failure. From planting near bodies of water to choosing sweet scents for afternoon strolls, Ryan McKnight of McKnight Landscape Architects has a few tips and tricks to creating the landscape that works for you.


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3. Landscaper tip: John MacMillan of Louisiana Nursery gives the scoop on planning a garden

Lucky for us, we don’t need to start every new tree, herb or flower from a microscopic seed. That’s what places like  Louisiana Nursery are for, with fully grown saplings and blooms just waiting for a new home—if you have the right soil, that is. Or the right fertilizer. Or the right amount of water. To help figure out the mathematics and chemistry of the perfect spring garden, we talked to assistant manager John MacMillan for the scoop on successful landscapes.


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