Landscape design

The Forest: the Perfect Landscape for the Laidback Gardener

By Larry Hodgson

If you’re lucky enough to have a section of forest on part of your lot, don’t complain. Its the lowest maintenance landscape of all!

The beauty of a natural forest for the laidback gardener is that it requires essentially no intervention on your part. Finally, a landscape you don’t have to mow or weed or hoe, one that you never even have to leave your hammock to enjoy! You don’t have to do anything at all … or so very little.

If a tree starts to decline, let it die! If another threatens to fall, let it topple! A dead tree or a trunk lying on the ground in a forest is part of a healthy ecosystem. Where do you think forest birds and animals nest if not in dead and hollow trees? And a trunk lying on the ground will quickly be invaded by a host of animals and plants, stimulated by its slow decomposition.

Of course, if a tree threatens to fall on your car, you will have to take action (maybe you could move the car?), but otherwise, when it comes to a natural forest, you have the perfect landscape for the laidback gardener: strikingly beautiful and yet totally self-sustaining!

Article originally published on June 9, 2015.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

1 comment on “The Forest: the Perfect Landscape for the Laidback Gardener

  1. Not all forests are so low maintenance. Our landscapes here are rather minimal, with most of the area dominated by forests. The redwoods, firs and pines are so tall that you can probably see them from there. Their falling limbs puncture roofs and are VERY dangerous. Vegetation management is a major concern, but it is impossible to control the combustibility of the forests. During the evacuation last summer, we knew that if the CZU Fire moved into our region, that it could not be stopped. It would have taken out much of our facilities, and did take out hundreds of homes to the west.

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