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Low Maintenance Landscaping Ideas


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Since I’m always looking for faster, easier ways to do everything, when it comes to curb appeal, I’m all for low maintenance landscaping. I want a yard I don’t have to spend hours each week grooming.

a collage of three different landscapes, some with dirt and plants, some with grass, some with bricks, with title text reading Low Maintenance Landscaping

If you happen to have a green thumb and love to spend time outdoors planting, trimming, and nurturing plants or if you really enjoy yard work, this post is not for you.

These low maintenance landscaping ideas are for those of us who love the polished look of beautiful walkways and decorative flower beds. We just don’t want to devote our lives to maintaining them.

Low Maintenance Landscaping Ideas

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a beautiful yard? The only problem is that you don’t have a lot of time or energy to invest in the upkeep.

The good news is you don’t have to. There are so many low maintenance landscaping ideas that will give your home gorgeous curb appeal without breaking your back.

Minimal Maintenance Mulch

Mulch is an excellent way to keep weeds at bay and prevent erosion. And some, like cedar bark, are great at repelling insects too.

Unfortunately, traditional mulch requires regular replacement which takes a lot of time, hard work, and money.

Save yourself the annual hassle by using an alternative that stands the test of time. Clean out your garden beds and put down a weed barrier, then fill it with one of these options:

Rubber Mulch

a landscape with plants, rubber mulch and bricks with a house in the background

There are a few reasons why rubber mulch is best. First of all, it’s a great way to recycle. Second, it’s safe for pets. Lastly, it lasts for years.

With regular mulch, you’ll have to replace it each year. Talk about a waste of money.

Gravel

Like rubber mulch, gravel is a great low maintenance alternative to traditional mulch since it won’t need to be replaced very often. And there are so many varieties!

You have dozens of options when it comes to color, size, shape, and texture. River rock and polished pebbles are popular choices, but head to your local landscaping materials center to see all your options.

Ground Cover

Ground cover plants are great multitaskers. They help retain moisture, prevent erosion, stifle weed growth and attract pollinators.

And some, like lavender, naturally repel insects too! So, in addition to saving time on maintenance, you’ll save money on pesticides as well.

Some good ground cover choices that love full sun and require minimal upkeep are:

  • Aronia
  • Basket-of-gold
  • Creeping juniper
  • Creeping phlox
  • Creeping thyme
  • Lavender
  • Sedum
  • Wall germander

For shady areas, consider these ground cover plants:

  • Epimedium
  • Fern
  • Lily of the valley
  • Dead nettle
  • Sweet woodruff

Ground cover plants that can handle sun or shade are:

  • Ajuga
  • Bergenia
  • Clover
  • Japanese spurge
  • Lady’s mantle

Choose the Right Trees and Bushes

Trees and bushes are popular for landscaping because they create big visual appeal. The trick is to choose ones that don’t require hours of trimming, pruning, and special treatment.

Evergreens

Evergreens are a wonderful investment. With evergreens, your home can look beautiful, even in the dead of winter. Evergreens can be expensive but are well worth the money.

evergreens in pots with more trees in the background

Simply planting some evergreens around your home can give your curb appeal an instant boost. Plus you get the added bonus of having trees to decorate during the holidays.

Tolerant, Easy to Maintain Trees

For added dimension and a more diverse look, there are other trees that are super easy to maintain. For example, the silver birch has a beautiful white bark and grows well in a variety of conditions.

If you like flowering trees, opt for Magnolia (which also has beautiful, shiny leaves) or Crape Myrtle.

Low Maintenance Shrubs

Bushes and shrubs are a great way to fill up space and add dimension, just be careful to pick varieties that don’t require extra care or constant trimming.

Some good options that require minimum effort and grow in most climates are:

  • Azalea
  • Bottlebrush buckeye
  • Boxwood
  • Dwarf alberta spruce
  • Forsythia
  • Japanese barberry
  • Skyrocket juniper
  • Spicebush
  • Summersweet

Add Hardscaping

Do you hate mowing? Then why not turn part of your yard into a patio? A large section of hardscaping can make it so much easier to get your weekly mowing done.

brick landscaping, and also some loose bricks, a sledge hammer and gloves

You can use concrete, asphalt, brick, pavers, or even stones. This will be a hefty investment, but it will save you so much work in the future.

Choose the Right Flowers and Foliage

Nothing enhances curb appeal like colorful, beautiful flowers. Plus, they often attract butterflies and bees to make your yard even more interesting.

Pick Perennials for True Low Maintenance

Perennials are great because you plant them once and get to enjoy them for years afterward.

Some perennials require coddling to keep them coming back year after year. Others don’t need any help at all. Great examples include:

Do your research and find the best low maintenance perennials for your region.

Integrate Annuals with Intention

While annuals only last a season, you have many more to choose from if you go this route. Plus, most won’t need special care during the season so once you’ve planted them, you can leave them alone.

Some excellent annuals that require minimal effort are:

  • Zinnias
  • Marigolds
  • Pansies
  • Snapdragons
  • Geraniums

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses add movement and dimension to your landscaping without adding to your to do list. Plus, they come in a variety of heights so you can round out your landscape design for optimum visual appeal.

Good tall options are Indian Warrior and Silver Grass. Good short grasses are Lilyturf and Blue Fescue. For medium height, look for Blue Oat Grass and Northern Sea Oats.

Succulents

Succulents add an exotic flair to your garden without adding extra work. Since they are drought-tolerant plants, they require less water and less upkeep than other options.

Here are some to consider:

  • Agave
  • Aloe
  • Echeveria
  • Jade Plant
  • Red yucca
  • Snake plant
  • Zebra plant

Consider Artificial Grass

Last, but not least, don’t be afraid to consider artificial grass. Artificial turf has come a long, long way. Most people can’t tell the difference in an expensive turf and real grass.

Best of all, it’s very low maintenance. Just hose it off every now and then and you’re good to go.

a roll of artificial grass

This is a great option for pet owners who hate brown spots. The urine will flow through the turf and other messes are easier to pick up from artificial turf. Hose it down once a day and you’re done.

More Low Maintenance Landscaping Ideas

Above I’ve shared some of my favorite low maintenance landscaping ideas. If you’re looking for even more ideas, consider going the natural route. Install a good landscaping border and fill the space with wildflowers or ground cover flowers or plants.

You don’t have to invest a lot of time and energy to make your yard gorgeous. There are so many low maintenance landscaping ideas that will make your lawn beautiful.

Best of all, after the initial work and investment, you’re pretty much free to spend your time doing the things you love. Does it get any better than that?

12 thoughts on “Low Maintenance Landscaping Ideas”

  1. Love some ideas! Live in San Diego area (92084) so zone 10. Have a pool that has a varied 3ft – 4 ft area to the fence on the back side of the pool Like Zosta’s but I think they have to have shade and we really don’t get that there until 6pm. Can’t have any flowers or things that Bees like (grandson allergic). Could so some grasses. Got any ideas????
    I tried to attach a picture but I couldn’t 🙁

    Reply
    • You can use artificial turf, or succulents. There are lots of succulents that don’t produce flowers. You can put down a weed barrier, then maybe some bark or river rocks, even making them in a path to look like a river, and have some succulents all around.

      Reply
  2. Our house in Tampa Florida faces the north so in the afternoon it gets intense sunlight.
    Suggestions on plants that survive?
    We want to upgrade our curb appeal and would love help.

    Reply
  3. Beware rubber mulch….over time soil and leaves gets on top of it…..same problem with weed block cover. My garden is only about ten yrs old but areas where weed block fabric were put down is very difficult to redo or add plants……it never breaks down and eventually weeds grow on top and even thru it and then you have to cut thru it….it’s still there after 15 yrs.

    Reply
  4. I gave a slope ( bank) in my backyard that I want interest on. Rather not just have flat ground cover. Also, I broke. My year a couple years ago sliding down so as I’m getting older don’t want something up there that needs trimming or deadheading. Any bushes or plants you can think of to make it pretty? Oh by the way , morning sun shade in afternoon, terrible soil although I’ve been adding gypsum and conditioners to it. Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Excellent Article! The tips you have mentioned in this article for low maintenance landscaping ideas are impressive. Thanks for sharing valuable information!

    Reply
  6. Hi,

    This year I planted six Gaura and I am not so happy with the amount of flowers. They get much sun and water?

    What do you think?

    Reply
    • How’s the drainage where you have them planted? They don’t love wet soil so that might be interfering with their growth.

      Reply

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