This is one of the basic precepts of laidback gardening.
Rather than trying to modify your environment so it suits the plants you’re trying to grow, why not choose plants that suit your environment?
Once you have accepted that you can live with the conditions naturally found on your property and you’re growing only plants that are well adapted to what’s available, you’ll be surprised to discover just how easy gardening can be!
For example, if your soil is naturally sandy and dries out in record time, just grow plants that can tolerate dry soils. If the soil is constantly wet, why not look for plants that adapt to damp soil? Put sun-loving plants in sunny spots, shade-loving plants in shade. Etc.
And also respect your hardiness zone! Why plant zone 6 plants in zone 4, which then forces you to protect them from the winter cold? In zone 4, plant varieties adapted to that zone or to colder zones (zones 1, 2, 3 or 4), then they won’t need any kind of winter protection. If you live in zone 6, grow plants from zones 1 to 6. It couldn’t be easier!
It’s when you battle Mother Nature by planting plants not suited to the conditions available that you inherit all the problems (insects, diseases, dieback, cold damage, etc.) and therefore all the work.
Instead, learn to follow Ma Nature’s lead and … just let nature take its course!
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It’s so hard to convince people of this. The other one is choose a plant of an appropriate size to avoid constant pruning.