© 2008 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee
“Pay particular attention to how much time is spent mowing grass. Consider whether it is really necessary to mow the grass twice a week.”
Low-Maintenance Landscaping Can save you Work
After even a few months, even the finest landscaping can deteriorate unless properly maintained. It is logical, therefore, to plan low maintenance landscaping initially and save a homeowner a lot of work.
The concept of “low-maintenance” landscaping becomes a more interesting objective where the homeowner is realistic enough to realize that he actually has very little free time to spend painting, cutting lawn, trimming, pruning, edging, thatching, aerating, planting, pulling weeds, fertilizing, and watering. The demands on free time for painting, staining, and repair to structural components can be enormous and discouraging.
With simple planning, time and effort spent maintaining your landscaped areas can be reduced substantially.
Selection of the right plants, bushes and flowers can reduce your maintenance workload substantially. Plan ahead carefully, and try incorporating some of these common-sense ideas for low-maintenance landscaping.
Consider building on-grade multi-level patio areas built of slate, brick, or stone instead of a wooden deck to avoid future wood staining, painting, and wood repairs or ultimately, replacement.
Maximize spacing on steep lots by using widely spaced terracing and very low retaining walls instead of single-vertical retaining walls if required, to minimize maintenance of high retaining walls. Consider lateral steps, large stepping stones to change levels for simplicity of access and maximum utility.
If you must have fences at all, use natural bushes, hedges, natural split-rail, or stone instead of dimensioned lumber fences that need maintenance, repair, staining or painting.
Install artistic stone walkways, paving stone, fencing, and dry-laid stone retaining walls for both horizontal and vertical structural appeal, to provide visual guidance and low-maintenance focal points.
Reduce the time landscaping maintenance takes you with these ideas:
- Pay particular attention to how much time is spent mowing grass. Consider whether it is really necessary to mow the grass twice a week.
- Avoid yard clutter regardless what it consists of. Collections of small lawn decorations everywhere necessitate moving everything around for grass cutting.
- Plant torture-proof grass species that require little cutting, virtually no watering in all lawn areas. In hot areas, plant Bermuda grass, and “eco-type” drought-resistant grasses. In cooler areas consider using clovers.
- Reduce lawn size by incorporating the lawn area into a “Xeriscaping” plan, which is a landscape based on all species present being tolerant or native to hot areas and requiring little or no watering because of deeper, superior root systems and heat resistance.
- Use built-in automated irrigation plans if irrigation is part of the maintenance regimen necessary.
- Use level mowing margins in transition areas instead of elevated margins to eliminate time-consuming edging and trimming.
- Install ground fabric (geotextile) underneath margin and walkway components to prevent the establishment of weeds in joints.
- Avoid crowding and spacing of any features that will ultimately preclude the use of the largest and most convenient mowers for lawn areas.
- Consider future growth patterns of bushes planted together.
- Similarly, use mulch bases around trees to eliminate weed growth and the necessity to mow close to tree trunks.
- Use patches of low ground cover, geometric layouts of pebbles, stones, or alternative types of mulch instead of high-maintenance lawns. Lamb’s ear, sedum, and similar drought resisting plants require little, if any maintenance or watering.
- In hot areas use sand, graded gravels, and rocks with cacti accent areas.
- In cooler areas, use short clovers, mosses and natural stones to create an absolutely maintenance-free moss lawn in shaded areas. The practice of moss gardening is common in Japan for enchanting, beautiful landscaping , if a pond is included, plant elegant weeping willows for eye-catching appeal, and to make shade even deeper for the mosses.
- For flower beds, use perennials. Low maintenance perennials include ageless, beautiful peonies, Monks hood, tiger lilies, day lilies, comfrey, various hostas, and variegated plants of all colours. Incorporate mulch into perennial flower bed areas to discourage weeds.
- Install mulches, brick or paving stones with ground fabric around and under focal display pieces to avoid the necessity of trimming the inevitable growth around them.
- When considering trees, choose flowering trees for early spring colour, evergreens for continuity throughout the year, and low-maintenance oaks, maples, and other colourful trees that require little if any pruning.
- Do use early directional pruning for unique, attractive trunk growth of larger bushes and trees. After the tree or bush is full-grown, it is virtually maintenance free, but can be visually stunning, even in winter.
Using some of these ideas and working with nature may encourage you to find your own additional, creative ideas for low maintenance landscaping.
Is that Incoming I hear?
photo credits: all photos ©2009 by rakukkee