If you love spending time outdoors or you enjoy throwing parties in your backyard, that doesn’t mean that you want to spend a ton of time keeping up your landscaping. If that sounds like you, selecting low maintenance landscaping is the perfect compromise. You get to enjoy time in your yard that looks fantastic and you are spared from having to spend numerous hours each week on upkeep and maintenance.
If you are considering a landscaping project, remember this. Everybody’s personal definition of low maintenance can be very different, so it’s really important that you find a landscape designer who listens to you and understands what you consider low maintenance. That’s the only way they will be able to design a landscape that’s right for you and your lifestyle.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have some ideas of what you want, or what would work for you prior to meeting with designers. Here are 8 simple ideas that can be used to create a cozy, vibrant outdoor space you and your family will enjoy.
1. Mulch Vs. Stone
Mulch may be the number one choice for plants, but it can be messy. If you have a pool or hot tub, you could find the mulch being dragged or blown into it. A low maintenance solution is to have areas near the pool or hot tub covered using stone, or larger sized decorative gravels, with areas of mulch and plants far behind that barrier. Larger stones have a unique look and will not stick to bather’s feet or easily blow away.
2. Landscape Plants
Choosing the right type of plants is key. You want to select a variety of low maintenance plants, that don’t need lots of looking after or tending to. Look for plants that are not disease or pest prone, are drought tolerant, don’t need trimming, and are generally hardy species. You might want to include some of the following low maintenance plants:
- Ornamental Grasses – Sedge Grass, Fountain Grass
- Ground Cover – Coneflowers, Creeping Juniper, Periwinkle, Pachysandra, Liriope
- Shrubs – Burning Bush, Butterfly Bush, Boxwood, Spirea, Weigela, Siberian Cypress
3. Low Maintenance Structures
A structure, such as a pergola, makes a wonderful, attractive addition to your landscaping, but you should consider your materials carefully. Pressure treated wood may be cheaper than a composite, but lumber needs to be regularly sanded, and stained, which is time-consuming.
Composite needs much maintenance than lumber. Spills can be easily wiped up, and it can be made to look as good as new with the odd pressure washing. It’s also more durable than wood and doesn’t crack or splinter as wood does.
4. Gas Vs Wood Fire
Choosing a fire is a case of personal preference. Real wood fires have a unique smell, and sound, but a gas fire is much easier to use. Gas fires can be turned on or off with a simple button, and you don’t need to wait for the fire to burn out. Gas fires are quick to cool when turned off. There’s no need to store wood or dispose of hot ash, and a gas fire will start instantly.
Having said that, some people find building a fire relaxing and enjoy a wood fire much more than a gas one. This means that choosing a fire is truly a personal choice and should be taken into consideration during the design process.
5. Patio Materials
When it comes to patio materials, you have a few options, and some are more low maintenance than others. Pavers and natural stone are both excellent options. They’re durable and require very little maintenance. Pavers, however, will need sealing every three years.
Concrete is a low-cost option, but it is higher maintenance than the other two. Concrete cracks, especially during the freezing and thawing of winter. Cracks need to be repaired, and these patched areas are impossible to hide.
6. Outdoor Kitchen Appliances
An outdoor kitchen can be one of the best investments you could make for your outdoor living space and to increase the value of your home. It’s definitely worth spending a bit more here for high quality, long lasting appliances. You’ll spend more upfront, but it will save you money long term. Investing in luxury, stainless steel appliances will stand up to all weather elements, be durable and bring your outdoor cooking experience to a whole new level.
7. Water Features
Water features can be a relaxing, and beautiful addition to your outdoor area. If you’re looking for low maintenance, then a fish pond is not for you. Fishponds are actually quite high maintenance, as they need to be weeded, the fish need to be fed, and the filter needs to be checked, and periodically cleaned or replaced.
Instead, choose a water feature that gives you the sound of water, without the work. You could have a pondless waterfall, fountain, or a bubbling urn.
If you would prefer a pool instead of a water feature but don’t want the expense, hassle and maintenance of an in-ground swimming pool, an above ground model will do the trick. Today, there are plenty of durable above ground pools that feature modern designs and will look fantastic incorporated into your landscaping. Simply place on your lawn, fill up and enjoy.
LED lighting is a really popular choice for outdoor lighting. It’s energy efficient, which will save you money on your utility bills. It also lets you add some interesting features, such as pre-programmed holiday lighting, or color-theme programmes. Your lighting system should suit the needs of your property and your lifestyle and not have to frequently be changed to upgraded.
Low Maintenance Landscaping for Higher Enjoyability
If enjoying your outdoor living area, and not needing to worry about maintaining it is your priority, then some of these ideas will help you get your project rolling. You’ll also need to work with a landscaping or backyard living specialist that understands your needs, and your expectations of how much maintenance you want to perform.
What if a low maintenance backyard is still too much? It may be that you have the backyard of your dreams, but absolutely no time for maintaining it. You may feel busy and a little overwhelmed with your schedule as it is, that all you want is to relax in your outdoor area, and not spend time looking after it. If this is the case, you may want to consider looking into professional maintenance. You can think of it as ‘property management’ for your backyard. A professional will take care of all your maintenance needs, and all you have to do is relax, unwind, and enjoy your backyard!
About the Author
Scott Bland has been in the leisure industry for nearly 20 years. As a sales manager in the leisure industry, he knows hot tubs inside and out. Right now, he works sales while writing about consumer goods on the side. If you want to contact him, you can do so at his LinkedIn.