Since 1991, Arbor Enterprises, a full-service Pittsboro, NC, landscape company, has specialized in residential landscape design, irrigation, installation, and renovation. The landscape design/build team also has expertise in constructing stone retaining walls, ponds, patios, and walkways. This diversification enables Arbor Enterprises to create fabulous landscapes that can be enjoyed for years to come and that add significant value to the home.
Your yard should be your sanctuary providing respite after a long, hard day. Unfortunately, some yards end up becoming time-consuming and maintenance-intensive, and the homeowner spends little time actually enjoying the yard. Achieving the goal of a low maintenance landscape requires smart landscape design and installation choices. Knowing how and where to reduce landscape responsibilities can yield more time to enjoy the yard and refresh the body, mind, and soul.
Low maintenance does not mean no-maintenance. It can mean either slight maintenance or less maintenance than is currently required. Having a landscape company handle all aspects of keeping up the yard, including the hardscapes, is about as close to a no-maintenance yard as the homeowner can get.
Here are some tips on how to reduce time spent on keeping up the appearance of the yard.
Tip #1: Reduce or minimize lawn areas.
Creating and maintaining a lush, green yard is a labor-intensive endeavor. Reducing the square footage dedicated to grass will commensurately reduce the maintenance requirements and expense to keep a beautiful yard looking beautiful.
Tip #2: Transition to slow-growing grasses such as centipede or zoysia.
Slow-growing grasses look great and grow well. Fescue, a popular grass selection for many homeowners, requires fertilization, irrigation during the hot summer months, and frequent cutting during the growing season.
Also, consider having artificial grass installed. The durability and aesthetics of artificial grass have greatly improved over the years. Using artificial grass in smaller, hard-to-reach areas may be a solution. Hard to believe that a landscape company may suggest this – but the older we all get, the more artificial grass advantages may outweigh having false grass.
Tip #3: Incorporate copious mulching.
Reducing lawn areas means filling the void with other landscape or hardscape features, and mulching is one choice. Mulched beds must be weeded occasionally. Landscape fabric is only a temporary solution to blocking weeds. Refreshing the beds annually keeps the beds looking great. The mulch will also help retain moisture.
Tip #4: Install more hardscapes.
Repurpose formally grassy areas with hardscapes that function as outdoor living spaces. Hardscapes require less attention than grass and flower beds and provide venues for leisure, recreation, and entertainment. Examples of hardscapes that are aesthetically pleasing and improve both the quality of life and the value of the home include:
- An outdoor kitchen
- Water features: ponds, birdbaths, waterfalls
- A backyard greenhouse
- A backyard playground for the children or grandchildren
Use gravel aprons instead of grass where appropriate around these features. The color, texture, and contrast of the gravel can add a natural, elegant dimension to a hardscape.
Tip #5: Add beds of all types.
Add flower beds loaded with low maintenance perennials, groundcovers, and border grass. Herb gardens are an excellent addition to any backyard and serve a culinary function.
Tip #6: Plant evergreens instead of deciduous trees.
Evergreens reduce labor significantly. The annual leaf removal process is time-consuming and must be repeated several times each fall. If the goal is low maintenance, then go with evergreens or live oaks.
Tip #7: Introduce slow-growing dwarf shrubs into the landscape.
Trimming hedges and cleaning up the debris is a time-consuming process. Low maintenance dwarf shrubs are an excellent option as well as applying plant growth regulators such as cutless.
Tip #8: Install an automated irrigation system.
Installing a programmable irrigation system is an efficient and affordable way to eliminate lugging around hoses and sprinklers during those times of the summer when rain is sparse. New systems can be operated from a smartphone, meaning the plants and lawn will be watered while the homeowner is away as long as there is cell coverage.
The transition to a low maintenance landscape can be gradual or more immediate. Schedule a consultation with the professionals at Arbor Enterprises to discuss the many hardscape and softscape options to achieve a less maintenance intensive yard.