Low Maintenance Landscaping
When you're considering a new look for your yard, think about low maintenance landscaping. Unless you have the time and love to garden or have the money to hire a professional for maintenance, it may be best to keep it simple. Who wants to spend all their free time mowing or weeding?
A simple landscape design will not only make your yard look great, it will be easy on your muscles, too.
While garden art and water features are attractive, they also need maintenance to look their best. Save your plantings and features that will require more attention for that one special area where you plan to spend a lot of time.
If low maintenance landscaping appeals to you, here are a few tips to keep in mind when you're planning how your yard will look.
Low Maintenance Landscape Beds
Group your plants so higher maintenance ones are together. Keep these types of plants closer to the house, where the added work may be justified. As you move out into your yard, choose plants that are lower maintenance.
Make your planting beds large and sweeping. By combining many small beds into one large bed, you won't spend as much time mowing around them.
Curves are easier to negotiate with a mower, and they look nicer to the eye. Plan a path through your planting beds if you need easy access.
If you have a group of trees in your yard, make the area beneath them into a planting bed.
This means you won't need to mow and edge around the trunks. You can also let leaves fall naturally, as they can create a natural mulch that protects the trees in the winter and provides food for the roots.
If you like natural gardens, you can select native plants to landscape your yard. They are used to the conditions in your area and will need less maintenance. Include some clumping grasses for an interesting look. This is especially effective if your property joins an area that is already natural.
A similar way to go is a cottage garden, though they are not as maintenance free as you would think.
Some plants are naturally more invasive than others, so you'll need to keep an eye on controlling them so some of your other choices will grow. That effortless, carefree look takes a lot of planning, especially at first.
Lawns don't automatically mean low maintenance landscaping. Sure, a broad green expanse may look nice, but to keep it that way takes mowing, edging, aerating, watering and fertilizing.
Weeds need to be removed or you'll have nothing but a field of weeds before you know it.
Keep your lawn confined to where you truly want it.
To make your lawn as maintenance free as possible, choose the right type of grass for the environment and the use it will get.
Ways to Reduce Weeds in the Landscape
The best way to deal with weeds is to remove them at the beginning. You can pull them, dig them or spray them. Use whatever method appeals most to you.
If this is an area that will have a rock bed and where you won't want to add new plants in the future, you can use a weed barrier landscape fabric once you've gotten rid of them. Weed fabric allows water to trickle down into the soil, but it prevents weeds from sprouting through it. If you are just going to mulch in the landscape bed, no fabric is needed.
Mulch is another way to smother weeds. You need a thick layer. Mulching also saves you on watering time since water won't evaporate as quickly when you have mulch around the base of the plants. As the mulch breaks down, it also releases nutrients to your plants. This is a slow process, however.
Choosing Low Maintenance Plants
If you like trees and shrubs, generally they will have less maintenance than annuals and perennials.
Roses and a few other shrubs require more maintenance, so be sure to ask the nursery staff if you are uncertain.
Slow growing and dwarf specimens are generally very easy to care for. For less maintenance on your part, keep plants in their natural shapes.
By choosing plants that perform well in your area, you will save yourself a lot of problems with disease and insect infestations.
Don't crowd your plantings. Crowded plants suffer from lack of nutrients and water. This makes them easy prey for insects and disease. All plants need good air circulation to thrive.
Finally, if you really want to save yourself time and labor, install an irrigation system. There are many types of automatic watering systems that can be put in as you install your landscaping. They work wonderful for dry summers.
Choose a good system that won't waste water. Drip systems usually work well and less water is lost to evaporation.
Invest in a good timer. With an automatic timer, you won't ever have to worry about watering again. The water will turn on when you need it and turn itself off after a set amount of time. You won't have to worry about forgetting that the sprinkler was running ever again.
So, overall, choose simple, low maintenance landscaping. Plant shrubs and trees that require little care.
Use mulch to make your garden beds look nice and keep down weeds. Stay away from annuals that must be attended to frequently and then replaced with the next season's annual of choice.
With a little planning, your new landscaping will look great year round with minimal interference from you.
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