By: Luci Santos
You’re not likely to find gold buried in your front yard, but with a little research and planning, your landscaping can save you time and money. A low-maintenance landscape will also add to your curb appeal and boost your property value.
Low-Maintenance Landscaping Basics
Low-maintenance landscaping focuses on elements that take care of themselves. Instead of forcing your yard to appear or perform a certain way, we merely enhance it to meet our needs. The result? A landscape that requires less water and upkeep, and lower utility bills.
Professional landscapers make decisions based on slope, soil type, and climate. But there are things you can do yourself to lower maintenance.
- Opt for native plants.
- Plant according to local conditions.
- Choose the right grass type for your region.
- Swap high-maintenance elements for low-maintenance alternatives.
Opt for Native Plants
Plants that are native to your area offer lots of benefits.
- They prefer the soil type in your region.
- They’re less susceptible to pest infestations
- They attract local pollinators.
- Most need less water and fertilizer.
Pro Tip: Choose plants and flowers that you can easily cut for indoor arrangements. Your dream landscape can also help accent the decor inside your home. Perennials are also preferable to annuals since they’ll come back every year.
Plant According to Local Conditions
Landscaping will increase your home’s value – but only if you plant according to your geographic region. Decisions that are excellent in arid regions can be disastrous in places where heavy rains are common. Soil composition, sunlight exposure, annual high and low temperatures, and a host of other factors all vary by locale. Make sure to consider them all when planning any landscaping upgrade.
It’s also essential to choose turf which will thrive in your area. Warm-season grasses do best in temperatures between 80 and 95 degrees, whereas cool-season grasses thrive up north, where the spring and summer temperatures average between 65 and 75 degrees.
Make Plants Property Specific
Even properties within the same geographic region can present considerably different conditions. Plants that thrive in the sun may need lots more attention on a property covered in shade trees. If there’s a spot in your yard where water pools, add some absorbing plants to discourage mosquitoes. If you want to plant a tall tree, locate it where it can block wind and sun to lower energy costs.
Few people want to spend their weekends raking or dragging out the leaf blower. Flowering dogwood, spruce, and maple trees are easy to care for. Plant a cottonwood or sweetgum tree, and you’ll spend hours cleaning up after it.
Use Crushed Stone or Mulch
Stone and mulch around your home keep water from damaging your foundation. Mulch around your plants will fertilize them, keep moisture in and prevent weeds from sprouting. Mulch also adds a pleasant scent and color to your yard.
Crushed stone or pebbles are even easier to maintain because they never need replacing. They provide a nice border and discourage weeds.
Swap High-Maintenance Elements for Low-Maintenance Alternatives
A swimming pool can be a luxury, but often it’s more of a liability. Experts argue it may or may not increase the value of your property, but the cost to maintain it can be as much as $4,000 a year. Most homebuyers don’t want to spend hours vacuuming, changing filters, and checking the chlorine levels. Pools also require special landscaping to keep bees and other stinging pests away.
The more patio or deck space you have, the less grass you’ll have to mow and fertilize. An outdoor fire pit, grilling, and dining area make your home more enjoyable and easier to care for.
A low-maintenance landscape isn’t no-maintenance. You’ll still have to do some upkeep. You just won’t have to spend all your time working on your home instead of enjoying it.
About the author: Veteran house-flipper Luci Santos has a traveler’s heart but likes a base camp. Her goal is to buy and flip a house in every part of the United States. She writes about DIY and real estate topics.