Puttering around the yard in nice spring and fall weather can be fun, but not so much fun in the summer and winter. Not to mention that you’d rather relax in your backyard than labor in it! As I continue to rework our backyard garden I’m trying to make a more, maintenance-free backyard. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up from others and doing a lot of reading.
Plant easy-care plants- There are a number of care-free plants, including yarrow, purple coneflower and yucca that are not just care-free but also drought-tolerant. Ornamental grasses, Portulaca, and stonecrop rarely need watering after a hot summer day. For more options, look for plants with succulent leaves that hold water. I’ve found begonia’s work well in a spot that receives some shade or even deep shade. Low maintenance for the future does require a little care when first planted. Follow the guidelines for light, spacing and soil conditions to make sure you put that easy-care plant in the correct spot. Also be aware some easy-care plants can spread and take over a planting area so choose plants carefully.
Gain maintenance-free yard with ground covers- The average home owner spends about 40 hours every year mowing their lawn. Add trimming, fertilizing and watering and it requires a lot of time to maintain that wonderfully green carpet of green. You can cut your work load by converting some of that lawn to ground covers; especially if you are trying to grow grass in a very shady area of your lawn. Low-growing, thyme, snow-in-summer, moss, mondo grass are pretty easy-care substitutes for grass. A added benefit will be less time spent watering and a lower water bill. Ground covers require 2 to 4 times less water than turf grass.
Remember to Mulch- This one thing may go the longest way to reducing the time you spend on your yard maintenance. A 2 to 4-inch layer of fresh wood mulch not only conserves water loss and reduces weeds but also give your yard a quick face-lift. If that isn’t enough there is the added bonus that wood mulch improves soil as it breaks down.
Lead the way- Lay gravel, stepping stone, brick or flagstone path that allows passage through your yard and gardens. Paved and gravel-covered area like paths and patios are generally low maintenance- and never need mowing! A path can help showcase your yard leading visitors to attractive and interesting areas of your landscape. Widen the path in these areas and it encourages people to pause and install a bench if you want your visitors to linger a while longer.
Hope you can use some of these ideas in your yard to reduce the time you spend working in your yard and increase the time you spend enjoying your yard!