We all dream of having a gorgeous outdoor living space where we can relax, entertain and pass the warm summer days, often we spend more time maintaining an outdoor space rather then enjoying it. Here are a few tips to help you create a low-maintenance paradise in your backyard. Prepare to spend more time enjoying and less time maintaining!
1. Plan Ahead and Research
Spending time planning and researching will help you avoid future time consuming maintenance. Find out what each plant and structure will require for maintenance and how they will interact with your local environment. Are there common problems like flooding or wildlife that will affect your yard? Which plants will survive best with the least amount of upkeep in your area? Are there particular trouble areas on your yard that need to be addressed?
2. Realistic Expectations
Be honest with yourself! If you love roses but know that growing roses in your climate is going to require more attention that you have to give, pick a different plant. If you know you’re not going to spend hours weeding every week, don’t put in a huge garden. Good intentions will often lead to messy, disappointing results. Keep a realistic expectation as to the amount of time and effort you will honestly be willing to invest each week into maintaining your outdoor living space.
3. Create Zones
Help keep your yard organized by creating zones. Make a list of the types of activities you will be using the yard for and create a zone for each activity. For example, having a play zone for kids will help keep all the toys in one general area, making the clean-up easier. Creating specific zones for storing toys, garden equipment and the like will help keep your yard clean and keep you from wasting time searching for tools when maintenance is required.
4. Low-Maintenance Structures
Plants aren’t the only thing that requires maintenance. Decks, patios, garages, storage sheds, fences and other large structures also need to be maintained from year-to-year. When adding new structures to your yard, look for low-maintenance options that will not require constant repainting, staining or repair. For existing structures that need to be repainted or stained, look for products like SharkSkin that are designed to withstand tough climates.
5. Downsize the Lawn
If you have children who spend a lot of time running and playing outdoors, you may want a large lawn area. If your yard will be used more for entertaining and visiting, downsizing your lawn can help reduce the need for mowing. Replacing lawn space with rock gardens, pathways, mulch, patio space, and low-maintenance gardens can create a fantastic space that requires little to no mowing at all!
6. Grass Alternatives
If you prefer to have a lawn but would still like to avoid mowing, there are a number of grass alternatives available. One common alternative to grass is clover. Clover is easy to grow, spreads quickly and does not grow very tall which makes it perfect for a lawn that requires almost no mowing throughout summer.
7. Rock Gardens
Rock gardens are a common choice for low-maintenance landscaping. A properly-designed rock garden will not need regular weeding or watering and its perennials and shrubs require very little upkeep.
8. Fuss-Free Shrubs, Trees and Perennials
When choosing plants for your yard, look for fuss-free options. For instance, fir trees and shrubs that do not lose their leaves in fall will require less raking. Weather-hardy perennials are always a good choice but avoid plants that require dead-heading, constant pruning or other seasonal maintenance.
9. Automatic Irrigation Systems
If you are planning a garden that will require regular watering or you live in an area where drought is a common problem, you may want to consider an automatic irrigation system. Installing a system can save you hours of time spent watering and can also help save money and time by keeping your lawn and garden perfectly moist so that you are not spending money repairing areas that dry out.
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