Low-Maintenance Landscaping Design Ideas

Low-maintenance landscaping can bring maximum pleasure with minimal design.

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Photo by: Image courtesy of Groundworks Inc.

Image courtesy of Groundworks Inc.

Less is more is an overused phrase, but by far the best phrase to describe low-maintenance landscape design. It’s a truth that never changes. Less is more.

Here are a few low-maintenance landscaping ideas for every home style: 

Reduce, reuse and recycle: I’m not talking about trash here. I’m referring to utilizing existing structures and landscape styles on your property and modifying them to be simpler and easier to care for. An acre of lawn could be redesigned in thirds to include a lawn; a large bed filled with shrubs and a natural low-maintenance groundcover such as stones or gravel; plus a brick, stone or concrete patio, piazza or avenue created with straight lines and right angles to cut down on mowing time and eliminate curves. Remove all foliage and plant life that grows on your existing hardscape structures such as mailboxes, arbors or pergolas. These can quickly become eyesores if not well cared for – and can be repainted or stained for a clean new look.

Know your bed time: Beds require work and weeding, especially beds filled with natural groundcover such as pine straw or mulch. Consider replacing the groundcover with stones or gravel when possible, and eliminating plants that spread quickly or require constant pruning or trimming. Consider creating crisp borders on all beds by installing landscape timbers or synthetic edging materials that can help prevent weed growth and create definition between lawns and beds. 

Get on the right path: Even the slightest overgrown pathway or series of natural steps can make a front or back yard appear messy and unkempt. Consider replacing steppingstones with concrete squares or flagstone laid in concrete to avoid weeds and unwanted grass growth between steps or on the path. Laying a border on either side of a natural path and filling it with gravel is a simple way to create definition and clean lines. When using gravels or other porous and penetrable groundcovers, consider using an underlayment of mesh to help keep weeds and plants out of pathways and patios.

Find your style: Many landscape designs can become unmanageable when legacy growth is allowed to continue unchecked. In other words, plants that have been on your property for years and have not been trimmed or bordered can create a messy look that has not defined style. If your home is traditional, you’ll want to create more structure in your yard with symmetrical plantings of low-maintenance plants. Contemporary and modern styles can go even more minimalistic and introduce concrete, wood and metal elements that create clean lines – and fewer headaches for you.

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