Maintaining your landscape begins with your design and plant choice. Mowing, edging, watering, fertilizing and mulching then become regular chores to keep your plants healthy and your landscape looking well cared for. Honestly assess the amount of time you have to devote to maintenance of your landscape and design it, if possible, around your availability.
Depending on the time you have to devote to landscape maintenance each week, consider keeping the workload simple. The best time to plan is before you put a single plant in the ground. Design flower beds so you have easy access to weeds from all sides. Plant shrubbery in clusters, which will minimize both weed growth and the effort required to care for individual plants' needs. Keep the design of your garden and yard simple so that you do not have to perform complicated and time-consuming edging and mowing.
To minimize the time spent watering and fertilizing, choose native and drought-tolerant plants, which will perform better than nonnatives and plants that require excess water and are also beneficial to native insects, birds and other wildlife. Native plantings will settle into and thrive in your landscape. Drought-tolerant plants will withstand extended dry periods, and you don't have to be as rigid with your watering schedule.
Mowing grass areas and trimming landscape edges are perhaps the most common landscape maintenance activities. It is wise to invest in a good mower, line trimmer and other tools. The fewer repairs you have to make and the better the tools' performance, the quicker your mowing and edging will go. Maintain your mower, line trimmer and other tools according to the manufacturer's directions.
In both the spring and the late fall, mulch your landscape with a good compost. This will not only provide a source of food to your plants, cutting down on the amount of fertilization required during the year, but will also help suppress weeds. Additionally, a good layer of mulch will help your soil retain moisture, saving watering time.
If your landscape is large or if you have limited time to spend on maintenance, you may consider hiring professional landscaping services. Choose a company that has liability insurance, and create a contract that clearly states what the service provider is responsible for and what you are responsible for. For example, landscapers are typically not held liable for the death or poor health of a plant but might be held responsible for damage done to a plant by their equipment. A clear, well-written contract that both parties agree on will prevent disagreements in case of damage, accidental or otherwise.