By Tony Steine
When it comes to lawn and garden care, a top priority among today’s homeowner is low maintenance.
A survey by the National Association of Landscape Professionals shows Americans like their yards to be attractive, but they also want them to be hassle-free so they can spend more time with family or enjoying retirement. Fortunately, when it comes to yard work, choices that don’t require too much physical exertion are all around you.
Here are five ways you can make building and maintaining a beautiful landscape a breeze:
1. Plant Natives
The best way to achieve a low maintenance yard is to fill it with native plants – everything from turf and trees, to shrubs and flowers. Natives such as beautyberry are already adapted to Florida’s climate, so they need less pampering than nonnatives. They also tend to be hardy and more drought resistant. In short, they need less of your time and attention. Natives also attract beneficial wildlife, including songbirds and pollinating bees. As a result of its warm and humid climate, Florida has a wealth of native plants that thrive with minimal care, while still giving you a gorgeous yard. You can find an abundant selection of native plants at reputable nurseries.
2. Expand Your Beds
Add flower beds around the perimeter of your house, along fence lines and even as centerpieces in your turf. The more space you can take up with beds of native shrubs and flowers, the less you’ll have to mow. You can also use decorative mulch in your beds to add color. The mulch will retain moisture and stave off weeds, cutting down on your labor.
3. Add Non-plant Elements
Paths of pavers or stones, trellises, gazebos and water features will add more visual interest to your landscape. They also take up space that would otherwise contain grass that requires regular mowing, edging and watering.
4. Get Smart
Smart technology has moved into the yard. Some labor-saving devices, such as robotic lawnmowers, can help with maintenance. Plant sensors communicate with your smartphone to let you know when you need to water. Some products also monitor soil conditions. Smart sprinkler controllers are replacing older models and let you set your sprinkler system via phone or other smart devices. Some even check weather conditions and adjust automatic watering schedules accordingly.
5. Practice proactive plant and lawn care
Healthy plants and a healthy lawn can take much of the work off your shoulders by taking care of themselves. If kept in good condition, they’re better equipped to ward off weeds, disease and insect infestation. Timely application of fertilizer and herbicide, if needed, will save you time and trouble in the long run. Water deeply when needed but avoid watering too often. Watch your landscape for signs of problems and nip them in the bud before they get out of control.
Your yard should be a source of enjoyment, not an obligation you dread. Keeping a beautiful landscape doesn’t have to be a time-consuming, back-breaking effort if you follow these guidelines.
Tony Steine is a garden and landscaping writer. Tony prides himself on finding the easiest way to do anything he can. You can bet he’s made his entire garden self-watering. Of course, he isn’t just about convenience, adding unique design flair to everything he does.