All landscaping requires some maintenance to keep the property looking beautiful and groomed. However, low-maintenance plants and a simple landscape design can limit the amount of work needed to keep the backyard looking nice. Smaller gardens, hardscape features and mulch can help limit the amount of weeding and garden care required by the homeowner.
Designing a low-maintenance landscape begins with allowing plenty of room for plants to grow. Create gardens with even spaces to encourage healthy growth and air circulation around each plant. You'll need to divide expanding perennials every three to four years.
Some shrubs and plants simply require very little care to be beautiful additions to your gardens. Hostas offer many variations of leaves as well as soft purple flower stalks in mid- to late summer. Just plant any one of many types of ornamental grass, and watch it grow with next to no maintenance. Tall pampas grass planted in clumps offers a stunning, simple addition to any landscape.
Gardens should be designed for ease of mowing nearby grass. Add borders or edging to keep mulch in the gardens and provide a clean line between garden and grass. If you dislike the clipping involved along edging, use a shovel to create a trench-like, angled edge to your gardens. Add mulch to your gardens to retain moisture and limit the growth of weeds---and your time spent weeding.
Take a close look at your neighbors' yards to see which plant varieties work best in your climate. Take available sunlight into consideration before purchasing plants. Shrubs can be beautiful additions to the landscape and offer vibrant green leaves or flowers. Most shrubs such as azalea, rhododendron and crepe myrtle require very little maintenance. Evergreens offer the option of even less maintenance while providing interest year-round. Dwarf variety shrubs and trees grow slower and as a result, require considerably less pruning.
Bulb plants such as calla lilies and iris return every year with stunning blooms in a variety of colors. Consider adding flowering perennials that bloom at different times throughout the growing season. Good choices include aster, phlox and drought-resistant yarrow.
Annuals require frequent watering and fertilizing as well as pruning to keep the plants blooming. Choose a few varieties and use these flowering plants sparingly throughout your landscape to limit care time.
Xeriscape refers to the creation of gardens that offer both low maintenance and water conservation. These gardens contain plants such as ornamental grasses, ground covers and sun-tolerant flowering perennials. Certain types of junipers, pines and spruces offer vibrant green additions to your simple landscape design while still adhering to the concept of xeriscaping.
Remember that all plants require moderate watering during the replanting adjustment period. Follow the plant label or garden center's recommendations until the plant is established. Always apply mulch to your xeriscape garden to retain moisture and discourage weed growth. Xeriscape plants almost always reflect the varieties of plants native to your local area. Consult with your local garden center for more information about local plants to create a low-maintenance xeriscape for your backyard.
S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with over three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various websites and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.