Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas

Planning is essential for a low-maintenance landscape. Know your budget and the ultimate goal for your yard. Assess the entire site and know which areas receive the most sun and shade and how that changes throughout the year. Have your soil tested and be aware of the needs of chosen plants and trees. Healthy vegetation is easier to establish and maintain than sickly, deficient stock. Above all, simplify where possible to achieve a low-maintenance landscape.


Use mulch to conserve water, but also for weed reduction. Various mulches are available commercially with different looks and attributes, but its also easy to create your own. Rake up fallen pine needs to use in flower beds and around shrubs. Use mulch around and between plant beds and around trees. Having a mulch border around trees helps to keep weed trimmers and other mechanical equipment from damaging tree trunks and bark.

Low-Maintenance Plants

Choose plants that require less maintenance. Stay away from trees drop messy berries on walkways and flowers that constantly need dead-heading to remain attractive. Flowering plants require more maintenance than trees and shrubs in general; however, don't choose shrubs that grow rapidly and need frequent pruning. Pick slow growing varieties when possible. Often, an area's native plants are a recommended choice because they are well-adapted to the climate and may have better disease resistance than plants brought in from sources elsewhere. Plants and trees that tolerate drought conditions are especially well-suited to a low-maintenance landscape. Local county agricultural extension offices can provide knowledge about plants and trees that are best for a particular region. Reputable plant nurseries are a recommended source for finding local, native plants and those well-adapted to an area.

Lawn Alternatives

Sometimes the best low maintenance idea is to eliminate turf grass. Most lawns require a good deal of maintenance--irrigation, fertilization and frequent mowing--especially during the summer months. As an alternative, use lawn alternatives such as gravel, paved walkways, large patios, and naturalizing ground covers. Use ground covers like perennial peanut, creeping fig, confederate jasmine in areas where lawn grass isn't necessary or it's too shady to establish. Tall, ornamental grasses provide interesting color and texture, and massed grouping of easy-care perennials, like daylilies, are good choices for simplifying the landscape.

Keywords: Low-maintenance plants, Simple landscaping, Low-maintenance landscapes

About this Author

Marie Roberts is a freelance writer based in north central Florida. She has a B.S. in horticultural sciences from the University of Florida. Roberts began writing in 2002 and is published in the "Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society."