The typical image of the elusive perfect lawn is picturesque, colorful, and difficult to maintain. While there's no such thing as a maintenance-free garden, choosing smarter plantings will cut down on the amount of pruning and watering you'll need to do. Here are some tips that can help you maintain an eye-catching but low maintenance garden:
For the non-gardener: Add potted plants or rock garden beds around existing plants and trees, driveways or porches. For larger yards, create a path with flat rocks leading to a tree or driveway. Drought-tolerant plants need only yearly trimming and occasional watering–which leaves plenty of time to relax on a lounge chair. Place decorative pots in strategic locations to add character and color.
For weekend gardeners: Add native plants. In California's Mediterranean climate, adding plants or shrubs that are comfortable with this temperate zone can help lower your water bill and greatly reduce upkeep. For year-round greenery and easy care, plant boxwoods; they look stately no matter how big or small your home. Installing a drip irrigation line with a timer to provide water as needed will ensure that your garden will be maintained consistently even when you're not there.
For the avid gardener: Find a spot around a tree, or along the driveway edges to create a perennial flower bed. These flowers are often colorful and fragrant, yet only need to be planted once and cared for occasionally. Consider planting in a mulch or rock bed, which will reduce the area you need to mow. For the ambitious – build a small pond and line with river rock; just watch for algae that will accumulate. To further reduce upkeep of this type of landscaping, leave open spaces to make raking leaves in the fall easier without disturbing the layout.
Finally, don't overlook the front door. Potted topiaries provide a feeling of symmetry and orderliness, even amidst a flowery front yard space. Flank the front door with a pair of well-potted topiaries for instant curb appeal.
These low maintenance landscaping tips can boost your curb appeal and overall home value – without breaking the bank or your back.