So You Want A Low Maintenance Landscape

by Ben Bowen

For the last 8 weeks I have emailed, texted, spoken, or met with at least 15 potential new clients a week. Many, if not most, mentioned desiring "low maintenance landscaping". What does that even mean?

"Low maintenance" is subjective. Some people are fine with 2-3 afternoons spent in the garden each month. Others just want a lawn care crew to be able to handle it all in 20-30 minutes a week. Then there are the people who really want NO maintenance (and a unicorn for a pet). 

I am not sure what low maintenance means to you, but I do know that that there some basic keys to keeping maintenance demands under control. Here are 3 that I incorporate into low maintenance landscapes:

Low Maintenance Landscape Design

  1. The right plant in the right place. Plants that spread are fine, as long you plant them where they have room to do so. But if you plant Creeping Jenny and think it won't creep? You will have to be cutting it back and pulling it out. Large plants are fine too, as long as they have space to mature. Don't plant Pampas grass in your parking strip. It's like buying a Great Dane for your tiny house.
  2. Hardscape. Gravel is much easier to mow than grass (that might not be true, but you know what I mean). Patios are not needy. Walkways don't demand weekly attention. A dry garden is one place where weed barrier actually works. The investment in hardscape is often substantial, but the payoff is in years of gardening free summer Saturdays.
  3. Embrace negative space. You don't have to plant every square inch of your landscape. If you choose your plants carefully, and place them thoughtfully, you can create open spaces that have contours and meaning. And guess what? Empty spaces take less time to care for.

Time is the most valuable resource we all have. Don't enjoy gardening? Then you probably don't want to spend much time caring for your landscape. That's ok. A well designed landscape can be both attractive and low maintenance.

Not sure you can pull that off alone? Feel free to contact a landscape designer for help!