When it comes to your landscape design and backyard ideas, work smarter, not harder with low maintenance landscaping. “A traditional American lawn requires tons of maintenance and water and doesn’t really attract any wildlife,” says Camille Cimino, a Los Angeles-based landscape architect with Nature of Things, a firm specializing in low-maintenance, drought-tolerant designs. Fortunately, a beautiful landscape design with undeniable curb appeal doesn’t have to be synonymous with hours of cutting-edge lawn care and maintenance.
“I create spaces that are shallow and low maintenance,” says Cimino. “But also lush, diverse and seasonally stacked to have different things blooming around the perimeter all year round.” You really can have it all. If you’re planning to revamp your garden in the near future, know that with a little planning and preparation, you can ditch the mowing, weeding and watering and thrive in a hassle-free outdoor living space.
How do I landscape my front garden for low maintenance?
When it comes to creating a low-maintenance landscape, it’s important to consider what aspects of your yard actually require maintenance before getting too involved with front yard landscaping ideas. Minimizing the lawn is always smart as mowing can take a lot of time and effort. “Gravel or mulch is great for cutting down on gardening and creating a place to spend time,” says Cimino. If you go this route, it’s important to still consider ways to keep the yard green. You can introduce more hardscaping elements, like a larger driveway, a concrete patio or walkways that reduce the amount of lawn space.
Blythe Yost, a landscape architect in Pearl River, New York, and co-founder of Tilly, an online landscape design company, says the easiest way to be low-maintenance is to use plantings that thrive in your region. “It can often be native – which we encourage – but also plants that require less care,” she says. For example, if you have a sunny yard and plant perennial flowers that prefer shade, they will need more sprinklers and require more maintenance to stay alive in your garden.
What is the lowest maintenance garden?
“I consider the biggest maintenance task to be weeding,” says Yost, noting that a low-maintenance garden would be one that removes weeds as much as possible. To do this, she recommends planting lots of flowers in the garden beds so that weeds don’t have room to grow. “Beds should be full of plants with some mulch visible in between,” she says. Keep this in mind when figuring out how to plant grass seed in the fall and spring.
Cimino specializes in creating meadows, also known as tapestry lawns, in front gardens, which she believes is one of, if not the best, way to create a low-maintenance garden. “A meadow is basically the opposite approach to a grassland,” she says. It involves native plants, wild flowers and various grasses. “It doesn’t need to be heavily watered because many of the grasses and wildflowers are selected to harmonize with the surrounding climate and its natural rainfall levels,” she adds.
How do I start a low maintenance garden?
The simplest way to start a low-maintenance garden is to include only items that will be easy to care for and use little water. Start by thinking about your lawn: Will you choose gravel or mulch instead of a carpet-like turf? Need to add hardscape elements, like these support wall ideas, that don’t require extra mowing or pruning?