11 Low Maintenance Landscaping Ideas

When you’re a homeowner, you want to take pride in your yard. Your home’s exterior is the first impression people have of your most vital lifetime investment. Even if you’ve hired a fantastic professional landscaping team, you’ll have to maintain your yard’s daily upkeep.

During the fertile lawn and plant growth of spring and summer, you may feel overwhelmed by the idea of landscaping maintenance. Who has time to spend on hard outdoor labor on top of the mountain of other life responsibilities? When will you get to relax and enjoy the outdoor sanctuary you’ve created for yourself and loved ones?

The great news is there are simple ways to maintain your landscaping without working yourself into exhaustion. Check out these 11 fantastic, low-maintenance landscaping ideas.

A person picking up garden mulch while doing low maintenance landscaping

1. Choose Your Mulch Wisely

Many homeowners use mulch to prevent weeds from growing, nourish the soil, and prevent soil erosion. Different types of mulch bring different looks to your yard and hold their own, specific benefits.

Any type of mulch will lower required garden maintenance. Mulch reduces the necessary amount of watering, regulates the temperature of your soil (which directly impacts plant and flower growth), and protects the root system of your plants.

However, “hardwood” mulch will require far greater landscaping maintenance than options such as shredded leaves, pine needles, and compost.

A flower bed of perennials that are ideal for low maintenance landscaping

2. Plant Perennials

Perennials are flowers and plants that only have to be planted once. In contrast, annuals are planted every season. By filling your yard with perennials like hibiscus, coral bells, and daylilies, you reduce the need to replant your garden. Enjoy the beautiful colors and scents of perennials and get rid of the stress of a yearly garden overhaul. Ideas and low-maintenance garden notions might help your own inspiration in choosing what is best suited for you.

A garden stone pathway

3. Incorporate Paved Areas

A plush green field that encompasses the exterior of your property may seem like a dream in theory, but during the warmer months, this can require hours of daily maintenance.

Hardscaping provides an excellent, low-maintenance alternative. Cobblestone pathways, tiled patios, and concrete pool areas are all great hardscaping ideas: This will minimize the need for weeding, mowing, and watering and allow your unique personality to shine throughout your yard.

Artificial grass

4. Utilize Astroturf

The moisture-filled climate of Illinois makes growing grass a relatively easy endeavor. However, an astroturf lawn creates a cost-effective, maintenance-free alternative. If your yard is relatively small and you have outdoor pets, astroturf may prove a good option.

Astroturf stays green throughout the seasons — no watering needed. It’s durable and malleable to the landscaping design you envision for your yard. You won’t have to worry about mowing or planting astroturf and it can last for years.

Monkey Grass Blooms

5. Quit Monkeying Around: Add Monkey Grass

Monkey grass is prevalent in Asian countries, and has become a popular staple of low-maintenance landscaping in the U.S. as well. Monkey grass is a member of the lily family and looks similar to turf, but isn’t artificial. Along with a fantastic, fun name, It makes for excellent ground covering.

If you have hills in your backyard, your yard is expansive, or you have shaded and treed areas, monkey grass is a great option. Monkey grass doesn’t require pesticides as it self-protects against pests.  Annual mowing or pruning is the only maintenance this ground cover needs.

However, monkey grass shouldn’t be used in gardens as it can choke out other plants.

A woman holding a succulent plant

6. Succulents are Your Friends

Over the past decade, succulents have become a trendy plant for homeowners in any region — and for a good reason. They can grow in shallow or dry soil and prevent soil erosion. Succulents don’t require daily watering, rarely need weeding, and work well in rock gardens.

These environmentally friendly plants are also extremely cost-effective as they can be easily replicated. Succulents transform pollutants into nourishing plant food. Jade plant, hedgehog cactus and the cool-sounding dragon’s blood stonecrop are great outdoor succulents. You can grow succulents like Aloe Vera inside of your home, too.

A garden worker trimming plants during summer

7. Plants for the Climate

Although you should choose plants based on their benefits, it’s important to choose plants that can thrive in your climate as well. For example, the greater Chicago area climate in Illinois is considered humid continental, which usually means a lot of moisture, hot summers, and extremely cold winters.

It’s also important to understand the microclimate in your yard and garden. This increases the time you can spend enjoying peaceful relaxation in your yard and decreases the amount of time you need to spend pruning, weeding, and watering. One more thing is that they help you create balance in landscaping ideas.

Planting for your region and garden’s climate is a fantastic way to enjoy low-maintenance landscaping.

A little garden pond with a small fountain

8. Rock Out Your Yard

Rocks don’t have to be synonymous with barren, bleak landscapes. In fact, rocks can spotlight the yard features you love, create yard grading, and help with yard drainage. You’ll never have to stress over watering your rocks, nor are weeds an enormous issue.

If you want to add water features (such as koi ponds or waterfalls), rocks are a vital component. They’re resilient and will rarely — if ever — need replacement.

 A garden underground sprinkler system

9. Automatic Sprinkler System

Most newer models of sprinkler systems can be placed on an automatic timer. This drastically reduces water waste, cuts back on your utilities bill, prevents oversaturation of your lawn, and alleviates the stress of intentionally turning on your sprinklers every day. Automatic sprinklers also distribute water evenly throughout your yard and cuts out the need for watering by hand.

A line of bright white dogwood blossoms

10. Plant Chill Trees

Low-maintenance trees can make a huge difference in landscaping designs.  Again, it’s important to research which trees are best for your climate. However, there are many trees that require little to no maintenance and will just thrive and chill once planted.

For example, in the greater Chicago area, dogwoods may be a better low-maintenance landscaping option than elms or maples.

A lawn mower mulching autumn leaves

11. Mow Your Leaves

Have you ever thought, “What if I mowed my leaves rather than rake them?” It’s not as weird an idea as you may think. Mowing leaves can eradicate the labor of raking throughout autumn. Mowing your leaves helps with decomposition and transforms those messy, crunchy piles into usable mulch or compost.

This helps prevent hours of raking and allows you to relax. By mowing your leaves once or twice after their largest fall, you benefit your yard … and your back.

How Ware Landscaping Can Help

For over two decades, Ware Landscaping has worked passionately to help homeowners in the greater Chicago area take pride in their yards. We can help you implement customized low-maintenance landscaping ideas so that you can enjoy your relaxing sanctuary.

We create landscapes and hardscapes to help you get the most out of your property. During the brutal Illinois winters, we will assist with your snow removal needs too. Call at (630) 885-6370 our professional landscaping team for a consultation today.