Essential Elements For Low-Maintenance Landscape Design
Having a low-maintenance landscape in Bucks County is both good for your sanity and your wallet – not to mention any future purchaser of your home.
It’s easy to overlook the actual time and cost involved in maintaining a new landscape- especially when you’re likely to be so focused and excited about the front or backyard transformation you’ve been waiting for.
Trust us… a ‘great’ backyard isn’t so great when it takes a ton of your time and money just to manage it. Here are some helpful approaches that you and your landscape designer should consider when creating an outdoor landscape that allows you to spend the bulk of your time enjoying the space instead of maintaining it.
Read on to see some of the key approaches that PLANT uses to make backyard landscapes less time-consuming and more… ‘I love my backyard’ for our clients.
Low Maintenance Landscape Design:
To get an outdoor space that’s easy to care for (and one you’ll love), you need to start by planning mindfully while incorporating your style and the natural environment.
Low maintenance design means less work for you… so ensure that the elements in your landscape can, to the greatest degree possible, ‘take care of themselves.’
Choose Plants That Are Drought Tolerant
By choosing drought-tolerant plants, you can buy yourself a bit of wiggle room when it comes to having a perfect watering schedule. When you’re super-busy, sometimes watering the plants gets pushed to the ‘to-do tomorrow’ list. When you have plants that can deal with the occasional missed watering session- it will help to protect your gardens and your free time.
The downside of having plants that need less frequent watering is that your selection is limited to those that are cultivated specifically for drought resistance / require less overall water.
For Structures, Use Composite Instead of Wood
Ensure that materials for fences or decks or structures are chosen wisely. Consult those who can vouch, first-hand, for a certain material’s performance (or warn you of a lack thereof).
Wood requires more maintenance than its futuristic cousin- resin-wrapped composite. For example, TimberTech® (a wood alternative) is a material that we use often and we’ve seen it hold up year after year- so we trust it. Resin-wrapped composite decking materials like TimberTech can:
- Resist mildew and mold better than wood
- Increase the desirability of your property if it gets listed for sale
- Resist splintering fading and warping
- Requires no painting or staining to keep in good condition
And just because a material is advertised as ‘composite’ doesn’t mean that it’s great. Some composite decking materials have exposed wood fibers that swell and mold creating a constant “dirty look” that drives OCD people like me crazy. Don’t hope for the best when it comes to the materials you choose for your backyard project.
Ensure Adequate Drainage
If your property does not have adequate drainage- it can be a major chore each time the clouds burst forth with H2O.
Minor flooding displaces mulch and erodes soil from around plants or shrubs. So, looking into a french drain or other methods of keeping rain and water in check (like re-sloping or grading) can help to keep things dry and safe for you and guests while also avoiding time-consuming and potentially costly clean-up.
Add Mulch Or Stone Instead of Grass
Grass can get finicky and require a lot of expense to upkeep. Stone or mulch requires less time and effort to keep looking good. Other native ground cover options exist that can save you time and add a totally different look and feel to your outdoor space.
Anywhere you can avoid mowing- you’ll save yourself time and money. You’ll also be cutting down on fuel when your landscape requires minimal mowing- which in turn helps the environment.
Get Installation Right
Get installation right. Misaligned pavers and poorly prepared foundations will lead to shifting and sinking over time and will inevitably result in repair calls.
Proper installation also plays a role in the number of maintenance hours your yard will need. Pavers, for example, that aren’t laid properly can become a haven for weeds. This is just one way that improper installation can cost you time and money down the line.
Don’t Skimp On The Lighting
Don’t be the person who has outdoor lighting that doesn’t work. Install high-quality fixtures and bulbs that resist the elements. Low-quality bulbs are susceptible to moisture, requiring constant replacement. Low-quality fixtures are made with not-so-durable paint finishes and cheap internal connectors that quickly degrade when exposed to harsh conditions brought by curious dogs and stick-wielding children. High-quality, cast-metal fixtures are designed to take abuse and should operate problem-free for decades.
Create A ‘Weed-Free’ Landscape
The task of weeding your outdoor space can take a whole lot of time and effort unless you prepare the landscape for weed prevention from the get-go.
Weedkiller is not cheap and can also be harmful to pets, family, and the environment. So, instead of spending the time-fighting weeds later- plan ahead now and focus on preventing weed seeds from sprouting, so that your new landscape will have substantially less of them.
To make your landscape as uninviting for weeds as possible, you can:
- Install a good landscape fabric in garden beds that allows air and moisture to pass through- but prevents most weed types from taking root
- Use a nice thick layer of organic mulch in gardens to make it harder for weeds to flourish
- Keep your grass a little bit higher so weeds and crabgrass have less of a chance of taking root in the soil
- Plant in tight groupings to avoid vast open spaces where weeds can flourish
- Stay ahead of weeds early on to prevent their seeds from propagating your newly landscaped areas