There are a lot of reasons for choosing low-maintenance landscaping for your home. Whatever your reasons are, knowing your “zone” before you get started is important. Climate zones will strongly dictate what you’ll be able to get away with.
What you are able to plant in Florida may not necessarily fly in, say, Washington or Vermont, so you’ll want to confer with someone who is more knowledgeable about this if you’re unsure. And, remember, everything requires some maintenance, some just less than others, so being realistic with your goals will help ensure maximum satisfaction with your overall project.
The planning phase
When in the planning phase, start by asking yourself what it is you’re looking to accomplish. Low-maintenance landscaping focuses on drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plants. Yes, low water or drought tolerant does equal low maintenance, but it doesn’t mean no water or no maintenance. If you don’t ever want to mow your lawn again, consider things like ground covers, wood chips (mulch), or crushed rock instead of grass for truly low-maintenance landscaping.
Look into indigenous plants in your area for things that will require the least amount of fuss and that will withstand your naturally occurring climate changes the best. Privet hedges work well in almost any climate and offer privacy with minimal upkeep once they’re established.
Things to consider
With anything you plant that is going to get much larger, be sure and give it plenty of room for growth. This means keeping it away from structures, water pipes, irrigation, and above- or below-ground power lines. It’s a whole lot easier to plan ahead than to move something like that later on. Many plants and trees like ficus have invasive roots that can cause costly problems later on with sidewalks buckling, strangled sewer lines, and cracked driveways or foundations, including patios.
Also, if you are eventually going to sell your home, take into consideration that not everyone will share your sense of whimsy if you choose to create something too far out of the ordinary and it may affect the turnaround time on the sale of your home.
After you’ve fully formed your vision for the look you hope to achieve and you’ve done your homework on which low-maintenance landscaping plants are best suited for your particular climate or zone, a super easy way to begin mapping out your project is with a can of ordinary spray paint. Whether you’re simply removing large sections of your lawn or tearing it all out and starting from scratch, spray painting the lines that you want to follow for the different garden beds and pathways you want to create will make it that much easier.
For saving money on your low-maintenance landscaping project, consider these tips. Your local dump may offer free mulch. Note: it may not be the cleanest stuff available, but the price is right and usually the unwanted materials contained within it will eventually float to the surface for easy removal.
Local landscapers that deal in bulk may offer better pricing on such things as clean fill, mulch, stone, pavers, and other landscaping supplies. Look for businesses that sell broken, damaged, or “seconds” at greater savings for projects that include manufactured concrete or stone products.