Often, people with busy schedules or with debilitating injuries are unable to care for their front and back yards. Lawns that require weekly mowing can be some of the most difficult to maintain. One solution to the problem of yard maintenance is to incorporate maintenance-free areas into your landscape. This will lower the amount of time you need to spend on your lawn.
Hardscaping, including decks and patios, are solutions for high-traffic areas that do not allow grass, weeds or other ground cover to grow. Periodic maintenance can be as infrequent as mending cracks in cement every couple of years for patios or annual staining for wooden decks. The initial process to install hardscaping is often more involved than it is to install a lawn. Additionally, the materials used may be more expensive. When considering hardscaping, factor the long-term cost of upkeep and the durability of the materials.
Gravel lawns are often used in areas where there is little water, such as the desert climates of Arizona, Texas and New Mexico, or in retirement communities where residents may not be able to care for a green space easily. It is also a solution many people choose if they simply do not wish to incorporate green space into their yard. Like green lawns, gravel follows the natural curve of the land. Because it is usually placed over a weed barrier, however, no mowing, weeding or watering is required. Use colored gravel or incorporate larger rocks to create a pleasing design.
On properties with large trees, setting aside an area that can be returned to its natural woodland condition can be an attractive, maintenance-free way to landscape. Large trees shade the ground, which prevents grasses, weeds and underbrush from growing. In sunny areas, plant wildflowers to establish a meadow garden. Occasional weeding to remove vigorous weeds may be required, especially when tender seedlings are young. Once wildflowers are established, however, care is minimal for a meadow garden.
If you want a green space but don't have the time or ability to tend to a lawn, consider planting a green ground cover such as clover or vinca. Ground covers do not grow to the point that they look un-manicured. Clover thrives in dry areas because it is drought-resistant. Another of clover's elements is its unattractiveness to bugs, so it helps discourage pests.