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Low Maintenance Landscape Design Tips

low maintenance landscape kansas city

While it’s impossible to have a completely maintenance-free landscape, you can plan out a landscape that has much fewer maintenance needs than a typical garden or lawn. You don’t have to sacrifice beauty to get a low-maintenance landscape either. In fact, low maintenance gardens tend to be relatively consistent year-round, as they don’t rely on annuals or major trimming to add interest and shape. For that reason, you may find these gardening tips helpful even if you’re okay with putting in a moderate amount of maintenance.

To get a landscape design that will require the least maintenance possible, follow these tips.

1. Choose Ground Cover

Lawns are very maintenance-intensive. Not only do they require regular watering and cutting, they may also require aerating, fertilizing, re-seeding, weeding and more. That is, if you want a quality lawn. However, you can skip all of that if you choose a different type of ground cover for some or all of your lawn. If you choose a drought-tolerant ground cover it will not need to be watered or trimmed, significantly reducing the work you need to do.

Which ground cover is best for you will depend on the light conditions your lawn faces. However, some options you can consider include:

  • Scotch or Irish Moss
  • Creeping Jenny
  • Chamomile
  • Red or White Clover

2. Invest in Hardscaping

Hardscaping is the architectural features in your landscaping, made of wood, stone or interlocking. Your patio, pathways and fences all count as hardscaping. Obviously, these materials need much less maintenance than a lawn or other plants. Thus, the more hardscaping elements your landscaping has the less maintenance it needs.

Consider making pathways, decks and patios larger to cut back on grass and flowerbeds. You can make these elements decorative and stylish, so you’re not sacrificing good looks. Also, consider that many modern, minimalist gardens rely heavily on hardscaping, so introducing this style can help you make the most of the hardscaping and reduce overall maintenance.

3. Plant Native Plants

Native plants should require considerably less maintenance than non-native plants. As these plants evolved in the area, they are already well adapted to the conditions. This means that you shouldn’t have to amend your soil to a different consistency, add large amounts of fertilizer, or worry about poor propagation year-to-year due to bad weather. Also, native plants should increase the biodiversity of your area by supporting wildlife, especially bees and other insects.

If you live in and around Kansas City, native plants you could consider include:

  • Aromatic Asters
  • Back-eyed Susans
  • Blue Verbena
  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • Desert Biscuitroot
  • Drummond’s Aster
  • Foxglove Beardtongue
  • Gray-headed Coneflower
  • Indiangrass
  • New England Aster
  • Partridge Pea
  • Prairie Coneflower
  • Purple Poppy Mallow
  • Red Columbine
  • Side-Oats Gamma
  • Willow Leaf Sunflower

4. Choose Drought Tolerant Plants

It’s wise to choose drought-tolerant plants, as they require less watering and can survive even unseasonably warm summers without needing to be replaced. You reduce the time you spend watering, mulching and replacing plants. Some of the best drought-tolerant plants are succulents. Low growing, they produce bright flowers but almost never require a drop of water from you. Consider these succulents for your garden:

  • Burro’s Tail
  • Hens and Chicks
  • Common Glasswort
  • Jade Plant
  • Wolly Senecio
  • Sticks on Fire
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Aloe Vera
  • Pincushion Cactus

5. Rely on Perennials 

Perennials are plants you can expect to return next year without needed to be re-bought, re-seeded or re-planted. Some perennials will retain their foliage through winter, like evergreen trees. Others will re-grow, seemingly from nowhere, from the ground up. They maintain their root systems, so you have to take care not to damage the roots when you are planting other plants around them.

6. Mulch Heavily 

Weeding can be a hassle in your garden beds and lawn. While you can’t mulch your lawn, mulching between perennials and other plants in your garden beds can prevent weeds from growing. Further, a layer of mulch helps the soil retain water for longer, which cuts back on the time and money you need to spend watering. If you invest in plants that are frost sensitive, a layer of mulch can also help keep them protected from unseasonal cold spells.

7. Avoid Labor-Intensive Plants  

Even if they are native perennials, some plants require more maintenance than others, like staking, fertilizing and dead heading. It’s best to avoid these plants if you want a low-maintenance landscape:

  • Roses
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Ivy
  • Wisteria
  • Dahlias
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Melons

If you’d like help with a low maintenance landscape, click “Get Started” now.