It is possible to have a landscape that is both low-maintenance and lovely. In fact, a low maintenance landscape can be the envy of the neighborhood because it is both low maintenance and lovely. Low maintenance not only means less time spent maintaining the yard, but it also means more money left in the pocket.
Tip #1: Replace the lawn with hardscaping
A brick courtyard is a solid low maintenance solution. Sweep or blow, and cleanup is complete. Strategic, gradual sloping can channel or direct rainwater to plant beds, reducing the need for watering by hand.
For the person with a green thumb who is interested in living green, replacing the lawn with pavers or concrete might not be an acceptable choice. However, permeable pavers that allow water to percolate through the soil to be cooled and cleaned is a viable option. Permeable pavers may require some routine maintenance.
Patios and walkways are great substitutes for grass. Making sure any hardscape is installed right the first time on a solid and level base can prevent repair headaches in the future. A competent landscape design professional will recognize and address potential issues.
Poured concrete is easier and less expensive to install, but it can also be difficult to replace if it becomes stained or cracked. In contrast, pavers that break or discolor can be easily replaced. There are even pavers designed to look like wood planks, offering the look of cedar or redwood without regular maintenance.
Artificial turf is becoming more popular in recent years as aesthetic technology improves. Though not a replacement for an entire lawn, it can provide a comfortable and beautiful accent as part of the overall low-maintenance landscape design. It will need to be blown or swept clean, but it will never need to be mowed, fertilized, watered, or reseeded.
Tip #2: Plant alternative groundcovers
Crushed rocks and gravel can be used as ground cover or as an alternative to mulch. Because rocks and gravel never need to be replaced or watered, the low maintenance/low-cost principle comes into play again. Other options to traditional lawns include sedum, white clover, sedges, creeping thyme, and ornamental native grasses. Moss can be used in particularly shady areas. Minimal foot traffic will not damage moss, and moss requires little care, such as weeding and watering.
Tip #3: Build more permanent outdoor living spaces
An outdoor kitchen can be built to withstand the elements. A pergola and partial roof can also be constructed to protect the kitchen from debris and precipitation.
Tip #4: Choose low maintenance plants
Perennial plants return year after year, and native plants are adapted to regional climate and usually are easy to maintain. Plants to consider include milkweed, coneflowers, aster, sedum, or black-eyed Susans.
Tip #5: Think mulch
Mulch prevents weeds and helps retain soil moisture. It keeps soil temperatures down in hot weather and protects plants during freezing weather. Mulch application is relatively easy; simply add more in the spring. Use hardwood mulch, which only needs to be refreshed every other year. Mulch should be approximately three inches deep.
Tip #6: Consider planting rocks
The right rock or boulder can add beauty to a garden and will never need to be watered, weeded, fertilized, or pruned. Some form of decorative stone is the ultimate low-maintenance design element.
Tip #7: Irrigate and automate
Install an irrigation system with a timer and a moisture sensor. Save time, money, and water. A low maintenance landscape minimizes the lawn area, as well as including plants that need less water. Less grass, less thirsty plants, an efficient watering system saves money.
Installing a low maintenance landscape for a new build or converting an existing landscape to low maintenance will save time and money. The transition can be done in phases. While some of the work can be DIY, other features need skilled professionals for design and installation. It makes sense to consult with a landscape design expert to create a yard that is both low maintenance and lovely.
For more information about Pittsboro landscape design, contact Arbor Enterprises at (919) 324-6869.