One of the best ways to reduce the maintenance requirements of your landscape is to plant native plants. They do not require irrigation and will need little pruning. This type of landscape is called xeriscape. Let nature take care of what you plant and enjoy the benefits of attracting birds and butterflies. Most native plants are deer resistant. If you wish to grow a few non-native flowers, herbs or vegetables, confine them to small space.
The landscapes with lowest maintenance are planted with natives that do not need irrigation and tend to grow and thrive on their own. The website enature.com has lists of both native plants and invasive species to avoid for all growing zones in the United States. Your local nursery will also recommend natives that require little attention.
Mulch and Irrigation
Apply 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch in the spring to enrich the soil and retain moisture, especially around garden beds that need irrigation. The best mulch is the leaves that drop from trees in your yard. Leave them where they fall. Mulch keeps weeds away, too. Install an irrigation system with a timer to provide water as needed for vegetable and flower beds.
Lawns require constant maintenance: irrigation, fertilization, and mowing. Eliminating your lawn is the most critical step toward a low maintenance landscape. Create a rock garden with native grasses, flowering ground cover and a dry creek bed instead. A local nursery can recommend specific plants that grow well in your area.
Perennial Plants and Trees
Perennial shrubs and flowers need little maintenance. Plan for year-round beauty. Bulbs for spring bloom, native flowering shrubs and grasses for summer bloom, deciduous trees that grow well in your area for fall color. Evergreen trees and shrubs to enjoy during the winter months.