2. Select Lush, Low-Maintenance Plantings
The design goal for this front courtyard in Montecito, California was to create a calming and intimate entry garden. The homeowner requested that the existing hardscape be removed and replaced with something other than lawn. Now a simulated stone path curves through the courtyard with lush, low-maintenance plantings on either side. The plant palette is made up of varieties suited for a Mediterranean climate and that offer a pleasing scent. The plants require little water and infrequent trimming, making maintenance a breeze.
3. Plant Natives Amongst a Bed of Gravel
In the desert, the main maintenance concern is water-usage. This front yard near Tucson was enclosed with walls to create a courtyard and planted with a few high-water-use plants balanced by low-water-use desert natives. Furthermore, a detention basin captures runoff from the roof and puts the water back into the garden. This courtyard proves that having a lush and colorful garden, that is also low-maintenance, is a possibility, even in the Arizona desert. The secret is proper plant selection and good water management principles.
4. Go Modern with Grid Plantings of Cacti & Grasses
This modern front yard in Cardiff, California takes low-maintenance to an extreme, becoming almost a no-maintenance landscape. On the left side of the driveway a bed of Mexican beach pebbles is planted with a grid of barrel cacti. On the right side, rows of ornamental grasses grow amongst dark mulch. All this landscape requires as far as maintenance is some occasional watering and the cutting back of the grasses once a year. The beach pebbles and mulch are applied in a thick layer to discourage weeds from popping up and to retain moisture in the soil as long as possible.
5. Convert to a Water-Wise Xeriscape
Albuquerque has a unique climate that causes the maintenance concerns to vary by season. Plants need to be able to survive drought conditions, but also withstand occasional winter snow. This front yard is a great example of a high-desert xeriscape. A xeriscape strives to provide a beautiful landscape with as little supplemental water as possible. Easy-care perennial shrubs and grasses add color and texture to this front yard, while colored gravel mulch prevents weeds and retains soil moisture. After plants like these are established they require very little water and can be trimmed as necessary.
6. Trade the Lawn for Gravel & Succulents
For many homeowners their front lawn is a source of pride, but if maintenance is a concern, lawns are among the worst culprits. Lawns are notorious for demanding both time and water, especially during the summer months. If you’re tired of mowing every weekend and want your water bill to return to a lower rate, consider trading your lawn for gravel and succulents like these homeowners did. Because of the reduced maintenance, you’ll find that you have more time to spend enjoying your yard. You’ll also have more money to put towards unique features, such as the in-ground water feature seen here.