You’ve probably spent hundreds of hours and a lot of money creating gardens around your home, but now you might be wondering why you have to put so much time and effort to maintain them. It is possible to have gardens that you can enjoy without spending all of your time knee-deep in soil, mulch, digging, pruning and watering, but low maintenance landscapes must be planned ahead of time.
Many homeowners do not plan their landscape beforehand, but rather make the mistake of piecing their yards together sections at a time. This style of landscaping design typically costs more time and money than initially anticipated. The easiest way to prevent wasting your effort is to hire a professional landscape company to help you lay out a plan for the gardens you desire with reduced maintenance in mind. Whether you use a landscape company or rely on your own ingenuity, the more time you spend in the planning stage will result in less time for maintenance down the road.

Planning Your Garden:

Over the course of a growing season, take the time to pay attention to the significant characteristics of your yard. Do a visual survey of the property when it’s raining outside to determine where the water is draining or collecting and what parts of the yard are getting the most or least amount of water. Spend a day reviewing how the patterns of the sunlight moves across your property, including which parts receive morning and afternoon sun or remain shady all day long. Pick up a soil testing kit at your local hardware or garden center and then take some samples of soil from different parts of your yard to determine what nutrients is might need and in what amount. Once you understand your yard’s microclimate features, this will help with plant selection, but that’s not all. It will be easier to design an attractive and more efficient, low maintenance landscape plan.

Here are three ideas to get your landscape maintenance down to a minimal amount of time:

Reduce the Size of the Lawn

Lawn care requires a great deal of work on a routine basis because grass grows faster than any other plant and requires weekly mowing. The upkeep to maintain a lush, insect-free lawn is costly and during times of limited rainfall or drought, lawns are always thirsty requiring a good amount of watering. You can reduce your maintenance time by reducing the size of the lawn and replacing it with xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is the concept of grouping plants with similar watering requirements together on the landscape, such as shrubs or ground cover. By extending patios, walkways and other hardscape elements, such as decks into your landscaping theme, xeriscaping plants will significantly reduce your maintenance time.

Install an Irrigation System

A properly designed irrigation system can save you time and money because it applies water only when needed to replenish soil moisture that’s been lost due to evaporation from the soil. Unlike manual watering that’s done by hand using hoses or sprinklers and requires a lot of work and attention by a homeowner, irrigation systems does the work automatically. It can be more expensive to install, but if you’re looking to reduce your upkeep time, the benefits pay off in the long run. An automatic system requires professional installation, but once it’s set up, you can schedule your irrigation system to accommodate your climate and landscape needs.

Add a Rock Garden

Besides the aesthetically visual beauty and magnetism that rock gardens can have on any property, they are a very low-maintenance landscape design. They are always in season, adding interest and variety to their surroundings. Even though it takes a bit of work to establish a rock garden, this small time investment will pay off in spades, reducing the time you have to put in for maintaining your gardens. Rocks gardens can turn grassy and awkward areas into an artistic display. Since the garden is a simple mixture of rocks and drought-resistant plants, the most work you’ll have is an occasion watering and removing a weed or two.
With a bit of good planning, a little gardening knowledge and some creativity, you can create a beautifully landscaped yard that requires minimal care.