9 Easy low-maintenance landscaping options

Homeowners can reduce their work, improve their curb appeal, and increase their home's value with these nine low maintenance landscaping ideas.

Lee Huffman
November 14, 2023

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One of the best ways to make a positive impression with your home is to improve its curb appeal. Whether you're selling your home, trying to get refinanced, or just want your home to look good, updating your exterior with low-maintenance landscaping ideas is a great idea. These landscaping options not only make your home more appealing, but they can increase its value and cut down on your weekly chores. Learn more about your home's curb appeal, what low maintenance landscaping options are available, and how to choose the easiest landscaping to maintain.

Choose the right plants

Adding plants to your home's exterior provides color and life to the outdoors. Plants can also attract butterflies, birds, and other creatures that are a joy to watch. However, you need to choose plants that provide low maintenance landscaping. Otherwise, you could be signing up for a full day of chores every weekend to maintain your home's look.

One of the best ways for your home to look good year after year is to opt for native plants for your home. Native plants are adapted to your climate and grow easier based on sun, water and other weather conditions. If you live in an area that doesn't get much rain, explore drought-tolerant and resilient plant varieties. These plants can go for longer stretches without water, and they are a great option for busy homeowners who might forget to water them.

When comparing plants and flowers for your outdoor living space, incorporate perennial plants over "annuals." Perennial plants can live for many years and minimize the need to replant each season. Annuals may look beautiful, but they often die after one season and need to be replaced.

Smart mulching and ground cover

A low maintenance landscaping idea to try is using mulch. Mulch helps to suppress weeds in your flower bed when combined with a weed barrier underneath. Adding mulch also increases moisture retention, so you don't have to water as frequently. In some cases, the mulch can help repel bugs to make it more enjoyable when you're spending time outside. There are numerous mulch options, including wood bark, recycled rubber tires and more. Rubberized mulch or gravel last longer, while wood mulch needs to be replaced as its natural components break down over time.

Low-maintenance ground cover is another option that saves money and keeps your outdoors looking beautiful. These plants grow quickly, don't require any mowing, and minimize the bare soil in your yard. Ground covers come in both natural and man-made materials. Natural options include dwarf mondo grass and clover, while artificial turf and paving stones are man-made.

Create defined garden beds and borders

Homeowners can personalize their exteriors and add style by creating defined areas throughout their yards. Incorporating garden beds with clear edges makes for easy maintenance and an organized design. In the garden beds, you can plant different types of plants and flowers to increase your home's curb appeal.

Installing borders between your grass areas and nearby garden beds and planters prevents grass encroachment. Grass naturally wants to expand into open areas. Having a physical barrier that prevents growth keeps the grass where it should be... and out of areas where it shouldn't.

Using materials that require little upkeep is one of the best low maintenance landscaping ideas. While they may cost more upfront, concrete and plastic require very little maintenance yet look good for many years.

landscaping-flower-beds

Implement hardscaping elements

Many homeowners add hardscaping elements to their yards as part of their low maintenance landscaping strategy. Hardscaping is adding non-living elements to your outdoor areas. These could include walkways, pavers, bricks, river rocks and wood. Hardscape elements are naturally low maintenance and offer a consistent look that doesn't change throughout the year. Paying for hardscaping elements may require a larger upfront cost, but the investment can pay off with lower maintenance costs in the long run. Even with bad credit, you can obtain financing to cover these costs.

When designing your yard, you can add a mix of hardscape and natural elements to personalize its look. Incorporating stone pathways through your grass areas and garden beds is visually appealing. The stones are also functional because you can reach your plants without stepping on grass, flowers or shrubs. These stones keep your plants looking good and minimize the dirt on your shoes.

If you enjoy gardening, consider installing raised beds or containers for easy gardening access. Gardening can be fun and improve healthy eating, but leaning over too much can hurt your back. By raising the garden beds, you won't have to lean over as much. These different tiers can also offer visual elements that accentuate your garden's fruits and vegetables. Not only that, but raised barriers protect your garden from certain bugs and animals.

Water-wise landscaping

Many people think that you must use a lot of water to maintain a lush yard. While most plants do require regular watering, many homeowners waste water by saturating their yards, over spraying into the street or not understanding their plants' water needs. You can develop a beautiful outdoors with water-wise landscaping.

Instead of using broad-based sprinklers, install a drip irrigation system. These systems deliver water directly where needed and avoid watering dirt, rocks, and walkways. You could also group plants with similar water requirements so that the water is used more efficiently.

Rainwater harvesting is a brilliant strategy where you collect water from the rain in barrels. Many of these barrels are tied into your home's rain gutters to reduce runoff and make it easier to collect. When you need water for your plants or around your yard, simply use the spigot at the bottom of the barrel.

Another option is using xeriscaping ideas to reduce water usage and maintenance needs. This design strategy incorporates plants and other elements that do not need watering beyond what the natural climate provides. For example, homeowners in dry regions of the country use cactus, rocks and native vegetation in their yards.

Low-maintenance lawn alternatives

Spring through fall is the primary growing season for grass, and it often needs to be cut once a week. For many homeowners, this weekly chore is too much to bear with work and family responsibilities.

Artificial grass is one of the easiest landscaping to maintain since it allows you to avoid cutting grass altogether. It has the look of natural grass without the traditional maintenance. You don't need to water or fertilize it, and it never needs to be mowed. Artificial turf does have a higher initial cost than traditional grass. Home improvement projects like this can be paid for with a shared equity agreement like Point's Home Equity Investment.

For homeowners looking for natural products, ornamental grasses are a great option. These grasses only need to be cut back once a year, yet provide visual appeal all year long.

Creating a meadow of wildflowers is another alternative to traditional grass yards. These wildflowers are generally drought tolerant and require minimal upkeep and watering beyond naturally occurring rain.

Container gardening made simple

For people who love to garden, using a container makes gardening simple and low maintenance. Instead of planting your fruits and vegetables in your yard, you use containers to plant your seeds. While containers are excellent for gardening, they can also be used for flowers, shrubs and other plants.

Containers come in a variety of shapes, materials and sizes to meet your needs and match your decorating style. They are easy to move, and their design provides a natural barrier between your plants. These barriers also protect plants from certain pests, like gophers.

While concrete, brick and other materials offer permanent designs, container gardening allows homeowners to change their exterior look at any time. Containers can be moved quickly and easily to be arranged in a visually appealing way. Additionally, during parties, BBQs and other functions, they can be temporarily moved out of the way to increase space.

Embrace natural landscaping

When creating your outdoor oasis, embrace natural elements for your landscape design. Naturally occurring plants and rocks require minimal maintenance and watering. This allows native vegetation to thrive and feed wildlife, butterflies and beneficial insects. Natural landscapes create a beautiful outdoor appearance without the constant maintenance of traditional yards.

Having a natural landscape requires striking a balance between a wild look and a well-kept appearance. Using native plants in your region tends to minimize maintenance. However, you still may need to eliminate weeds and trim growth occasionally.

Regular maintenance made easy

To keep your yard looking its best, establish a simple maintenance routine that works for your schedule. Spending a few minutes a day or an hour on the weekend prevents overgrowth and other issues that can become larger problems.

Refresh your yard periodically to keep your yard in peak condition. The low maintenance duties for these yards vary based on the types of plants chosen. However, here are some quick tips for keeping your yard looking its best:

  • Spend five minutes a day picking weeds
  • Sweep up leaves and other debris once a week
  • Trim bushes, trees, shrubs and similar plants every few months
  • Remove and replace dead plants whenever you notice them

Incorporate your spouse and children into these habits. The work goes quicker when others are helping. Plus, the time goes quicker when you're talking or listening to music while handling the chores.

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Final thoughts

You can have a beautiful yard without dedicating all your free time to maintaining it. By implementing low maintenance landscaping ideas you can save money, reduce water usage and increase your home's curb appeal. Some ideas have a higher upfront cost, while others simply require a methodical approach to landscape design. With a little research and effort, you can implement low maintenance landscaping ideas on your own. For homeowners who don't want a DIY project, you can hire an expert to design and create it for you.

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