How to Design a Low-Maintenance Landscape



How to Design a Low-Maintenance Landscape

How to Design a Low-Maintenance Landscape

While there is no such thing as a maintenance-free landscape, good planning, and plant selection can reduce the amount of time spent on landscaping tasks.

Analyze your family’s needs and lifestyle to determine the kind of yard you want. For example, families with children may need open lawn areas for outdoor sports and games, while those who entertain often enjoy large paved areas for gatherings.


There is no such thing as a maintenance-free yard, but with good planning and thoughtful plantings, the amount of work needed to maintain your landscape can be minimized. Before installing any plants, analyze the site conditions to determine what is already growing and the amount of sun or shade it receives throughout the day. This will help you choose trees and shrubs that are suited to the conditions and may reduce the need for excessive pruning or watering.

Many homeowners plant a lot of different species, but the more plants you have in your landscape, the more time it will take to keep them looking attractive. Plan your plantings to be as simple as possible, making sure each plant has a purpose. Simplicity is characteristic of both good design and low-maintenance landscapes.

When choosing shrubs, trees, and flowers, look for ones that are adapted to the climate and soil conditions of your property. This will decrease the need for excessive pruning or watering and will help to ensure that the plants are healthy and strong enough to withstand environmental stresses. Selecting varieties that are resistant to particular diseases or pests will also reduce the need for expensive chemical treatments. Many perennial flowering plants and annual wildflowers will reseed themselves, eliminating the need for purchasing additional seedlings each year.


Cultivating an eye-catching landscape doesn’t have to gobble up your spare time. While no landscape is completely work-free, good planning, design, and plant selection can greatly reduce your maintenance chores so you have more leisure time to enjoy the beauty of your home landscape.

Start by analyzing your site conditions and noting problem areas, desirable areas, views, and other features you want to include. Plotting these on a garden site plan will help you create an attractive design that meets your objectives.

When planning your plantings, be sure to select low-maintenance trees and shrubs that will fit the site conditions. Planting native species, for example, is a great way to minimize upkeep. These plants thrive in the natural environment and rarely need extra watering; they have natural defenses against local pests; and they are adapted to the climate.

Mulching your beds is also a key component of low-maintenance gardening. Adding 2 to 4 inches of mulch (composed of organic materials such as wood chips or shredded bark) will discourage weed growth and conserve moisture in the soil. The added benefit is that as these materials decompose, they provide a steady supply of nutrients to the soil.

For plants that will be planted in the front yard, consider using shrubs or ground covers with a naturally dense, uniform appearance that will limit the need for regular pruning. In the same vein, use low-maintenance flowers such as sweet woodruff and lamb’s ear that will not be eaten by deer.


It is possible to make a landscape low-maintenance without eliminating all the plants. But focusing solely on shrubs and grasses will create a jungle that is uninhabitable. Instead, focus on hardscaping, or the non-living elements of a landscape. These include brick patios, concrete walkways, stone walls, and gravel beds. While these features require some maintenance, they don’t need watering or fertilizing as do plants.

The best way to reduce maintenance is by limiting the number of high-care shrubs in your garden and replacing them with low-maintenance alternatives like boxwood, yew, or juniper. They are suitable for hedges, borders, and ground cover and can reduce mowing, watering, and chemicals required by traditional lawns.

A rock garden is another way to add a focal point to your landscape that requires little care. This type of garden uses coarse, dry sand or very small pebbles and requires no watering, pruning or fertilization throughout the summer.

Consider adding outdoor living spaces to your home with a custom stone fire pit, outdoor kitchen or pergola. These can increase your usable square footage, decrease maintenance and even increase your property value. Evaluate your existing space and consult a professional to determine what will work with your landscape, budget, and lifestyle. Every successful hardscape project has one element that draws the eye and sets the tone for the entire design.


All gardens require some amount of maintenance, but proper planning and good plant selection can significantly reduce those chores. Taking time in the beginning to study and plot your site conditions, problem areas, and desired features will pay off later with a much lower workload.

Adding 3″ of shredded bark or other organic mulch to garden beds helps keep weeds out and insulates plants, decreasing their water needs and chemical use. Instead of a lawn, you can save yourself even more work by planting flowers, grasses, or shrubs that do not need to be mowed.

When choosing trees, opt for dwarf species that mature around 15 feet tall and do not drop messy leaves each fall. When designing shrub borders, consider using low-maintenance shrubs like yew, boxwood, or juniper that require minimal pruning and weeding.

Avoid installing a lawn in shady or windy sites that are prone to erosion. Also, if your site has severe slopes, install terraces and retaining walls to decrease maintenance tasks such as soil erosion control and grass mowing. Xeriscaping is another way to minimize landscape maintenance by lowering the overall water usage of your landscape through the use of drought-tolerant plants and by arranging them into groups that need the same amount of irrigation. This is especially beneficial if you live in an area with limited rainfall.

Final Thoughts – Talk to a Landscaping Company

We are experts in installing new landscapingrenovating landscapes, outdoor lighting, and irrigation installation systems. Whatever your project is to make your outdoor look amazing, we can help you. Give us a quick call so we can talk more about your next outdoor project.

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