9 Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas

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Having a lovely outdoor living space to relax in and breathe some fresh air is a wonderful thing, but maintaining it can be a huge drag. Watering, trimming, mowing, and pest control all add up, and at times they can be too much for one homeowner to handle alone. Here are 9 low-maintenance landscaping ideas to help make it easier.

Low-maintenance landscaping can save you time, money, and energy when it comes to your outdoor space. Knowing where to start might seem tough, but this list can help inspire some ideas. Read the helpful guide below for some low-maintenance landscape ideas that will make your life easier.

1. Flowers and plants

flowers
Pxhere

One of the best things you can do to cut down on your landscaping’s maintenance is to plant low-maintenance flowers and other plants. Here are a few good candidates, along with some other low-maintenance plant and flower tips.

Low-maintenance plants: 

  • Succulents. Succulents are a low-maintenance plant related to cacti. These can be potted or planted in the ground and only require watering when their soil is completely bone dry. They thrive with plenty of sunlight, so if you live in a dry area and struggle to keep other plants alive, these could be right for you.
  • Rhododendrons. Rhododendrons are a relative of Azaleas. Once they’ve been established, they’re very low-maintenance.
  • Lavender. Lavender is another low-maintenance plant for your garden, one that smells fantastic.
  • Hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are a relatively low-maintenance plant that come in a variety of species. Do some research to find the right ones for you and your garden.
  • Daylilies. Daylilies are an incredibly low-maintenance flower that looks beautiful. They have few diseases or pests and are very hardy, able to survive various harsh conditions such as drought.

Planting tips:

  • Plant perennials. Perennials are any flower that lasts for longer than two years. They are surprisingly low-maintenance provided they’ve been planted correctly. Many bloom at different times of year, so you can plant a variety to help keep your garden beds beautiful year-round. Their needs will differ from flower to flower, but you should have no trouble finding some to suit you.
  • Mulch. Laying mulch down in your flower beds can prevent weeds and help the soil retain moisture, lessening the amount of maintenance you have to do.
  • Pick the right soil. Research the right soil type for the flowers you’re putting in so that they will thrive better and need less maintenance.
  • Start your plants off right. Paying more attention to your flowers when they’re first planted and giving them a good start will make them need less maintenance in the future. Follow proper planting guides for the flowers you’re putting in and give them additional nutrients.

2. Grow native plants

Native plant garden with an assortment of various types and colors of native plants
Ron Frazier | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Another good tip for low-maintenance plants for your landscape is to consider the species that are native to your area. Native plants require much less upkeep than non-native plants and will thrive that much better since they’re already in their ideal environment. They’ll also help the local ecosystem, attract pollinators, and increase your house’s curb appeal.

3. Low-maintenance grass

close-up of zoysiagrass
Zoysiagrass
Forest and Kim Starr | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0 US

Another great idea for low-maintenance landscaping is choosing a grass type that requires minimal care. There are plenty of low-maintenance grasses you can install that will look good and require less work. Here are a few types of low-maintenance grass:

  • Zoysiagrass. Zoysiagrass is a very low-maintenance grass with a deep root system. It can tolerate heavy foot traffic and is drought-tolerant.
  • Bermuda grass. Bermuda grass is another low-maintenance grass, one that goes dormant in the winter.
  • Buffalograss. Buffalograss is low-maintenance that’s soft and makes for good turf.
  • Fescue grass. Fescue is a good low-maintenance cool-season grass that can tolerate heat, drought, and cold.
  • Bahiagrass. Bahiagrass is a low-maintenance grass that can thrive where others would struggle. It has very good heat and drought tolerance.

4. Grass alternatives

leighklotz | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

If you don’t like a traditional grass lawn, or don’t have the energy and resources to maintain one, you can remove it and put in something that won’t require as much upkeep. Here are a few grass lawn alternatives, along with some tips:

  • Gravel. With gravel or rock in the place of grass, you can skip all the hassle of lawn care altogether. It still requires some maintenance, but much less so than a lawn of green grass. You have a variety of options when it comes to stony materials for a gravel yard, including river rocks, volcanic stones, granite, and even glass.
  • Mulch. If you want to skip the lawn but don’t want a yard full of rocks, another option is mulch. Using mulch in place of grass requires almost no maintenance at all. All you have to do is refresh the mulch when it breaks down.
  • Moss. A greener option for a grass alternative is moss. This doesn’t require as much maintenance as a grass lawn, but it does require some. Too much sun is bad for it, and it does need moisture, but it’s still a more low-maintenance option compared to a traditional lawn.
  • Artificial turf. Artificial grass can give the appearance of a lawn without the need for all the maintenance.
  • Make your yard a meadow. If you want greenery in your yard that you don’t have to maintain, consider letting your lawn’s hair down. You can find mats of grasses and flowers for sale online to install in your backyard and let them grow into your very own meadow.
  • Greenery without grass. Another option is plants that will provide ground cover in lieu of a traditional lawn. Ground cover plants that can accomplish this effect include clover, rupturewort, bugle, and certain species of thyme.
  • Turn your yard into a deck. If you want to fully customize your backyard, you can deck over the entirety of it. This might be easier with small backyards, but should be possible with medium to large ones as well.
  • Rock garden. A rock garden is a good addition to an alternative lawn. It’s a good way to cut down on maintenance needs and can make a beautiful low-maintenance space without taking out your entire yard or garden if you don’t want to.

5. Trees

tree in front of house
Pexels

Trees are a great focal point in a backyard or garden, and they’re surprisingly low-maintenance. Here are a few trees you can plant that are particularly easy to care for.

  • Japanese maple. Once Japanese maple have established themselves, they’re a beautiful low-maintenance tree that can add a touch of color to your landscaping.
  • Serviceberry. Serviceberry is another low-maintenance tree, one that will produce edible fruit for you to enjoy.
  • Crape myrtle. Crape myrtle trees come in a variety of options and are a very hardy tree. They tolerate heat and drought and can thrive in many different soil types.
  • Magnolia trees are beautiful, low-maintenance trees that smell amazing and have stunning flowers.
  • Jacaranda. Jacaranda trees thrive in warm areas with lots of sun. Once they’re established, they’re low-maintenance and resistant to pests and diseases as well as droughts. 
  • Redbuds. Redbud trees are a great low-maintenance tree, especially for smaller yards. They grow fast, are heat, drought, insect, and disease resistant, and look beautiful.

6. Hardscaping

retaining wall
Redi-Rock International | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Adding hardscape elements to your yard can help contribute to making the landscape low-maintenance. There are a variety of different hardscaping options that can help you cut down on the maintenance your landscaping requires.

  • Retaining walls. A for a low-maintenance garden is to install some retaining walls. These will not only cut down on the surface area you need to mow and trim but also protect your plants and lawn from harmful erosion and the elements.
  • Raised flower beds. Raised flower beds are another option to help make your landscaping more low-maintenance. These can cut down on the area you have to mow, reduce weed growth, and protect the plants from pests and disease. 
  • Paths. Another good way to help make your yard low-maintenance is a path. This can give you a walkway to stroll through and enjoy your garden while at the same time cutting down on the area of your yard you have to maintain. You can use gravel, paver stones, or any other kind of material for your path.

7. Container gardening

flowers in conatiners
Lori L. Stalteri | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

If you want to exercise your green thumb without too much effort, then consider a container garden. A container garden is a garden where the plants are planted in pots instead of the ground. These plants are much easier to care for than a traditional garden, require less time and effort, and can be swapped out and customized to your liking.

8. Automatic irrigation

Set of automatic sprinklers watering fresh grass
Aqua Mechanical | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

If you like a lush lawn and blooming flowers but don’t have the time or energy to water them all, an automatic irrigation system can take all of that hassle out of your life. Aside from the initial installation and any repairs, all you should have to do is watch your irrigation system keep your yard green.

9. Xeriscaping

xeriscape garden with succulents, palm trees, and gravel
Jeremy Levine | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Xeriscaping is a landscaping practice that aims to eliminate the need for irrigation. Although you won’t be able to completely get rid of your landscaping’s irrigation needs, it can cut down on them significantly. Here are a few xeriscaping tips for a low-maintenance landscape.

  • Plants. Xeriscapes typically make use of native plants and those without significant watering needs, like succulents.
  • Rock lawn. Replacing grass with rock, gravel, or other alternatives is a cornerstone of xeriscaping.
  • Drip irrigation. Xeriscaping is all about using as little water as possible, but they still need some, especially if you’re in a particularly dry or arid area. A drip irrigation system is good for xeriscaping.

FAQ about low-maintenance landscaping

Is it expensive to install low-maintenance landscaping?

It can be. Any landscaping can be pricey, and if you’re ripping out your grass and installing hardscape features, the price tends to go up. It’s all about how much you put into it.

How much maintenance will low-maintenance landscaping actually require?

Any outdoor space requires some maintenance, no matter how small. Again, it all depends on how far you’re going. If you do a full lawn replacement that involves reducing maintenance in every possible way, then maintenance will shrink significantly more than simply planting low-maintenance grass and flowers.

Can I make my landscaping low-maintenance if I have a big yard?

Yes. Maintenance needs will inevitably increase with size, but you can still create a low-maintenance outdoor space with a large backyard or front yard.

Call in a Pro

If you want landscaping that won’t require a ton of maintenance but just can’t seem to get it right, it’s time to hire a professional. Reach out to your local landscaping experts to achieve a low-maintenance outdoor space.

You can also contact your local gardening professionals for help with creating a low-maintenance garden to go with your landscaping. In addition, your local pest control experts can aid you in keeping your outdoor space bug-free.
Finally, if you’re looking to hand over your lawn care chores to someone else, contact a local lawn care professional who can handle the job.

Main Image Credit: benedek | Canva Pro | License

Austin Geiger

Austin Geiger is an avid reader and writer. He has loved to read and write from a young age, and does both daily. His favorite subjects are fantasy and comedy, and he despises run-on sentences.