Today’s alternative landscapes bring relief from watering lawns and garden maintenance. Let’s see what’s out there.
Before you Begin
Do your homework. If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowners association it may regulate your choices of plants, use of hardscapes and statuary. Rules requiring native plants are common.
Choices for Lawns
Eliminating all grasses, might be going too far. But minimizing grasses to reduce watering and maintenance is definitely the way to go. Pick your grass according to your climate. For example, fescues do well in northern climates; Zoysia does well in the mid-level states and in the south; St. Augustine and Bermuda hold up well in heat, although St. Augustine needs lots of water.
Buffalo grass and sedges provide an attractive and low-maintenance alternative to traditional lawn grasses and can accent adjacent hardscapes.
Position grassy areas strategically, contoured to gardens or hardscapes with decorative stone or paving between them. Have an irrigation system professionally designed and installed to keep grass and gardens hydrated and healthy.
Non-Grass Ground Covers
English Ivy or Japanese Ivy provide a dense cover that can be trimmed and shaped. Flowering bedding plants from the Phlox family or Lantana offer great cover with color.
Growing a Garden
Vegetable gardens grow food and herbs for use in cooking. Can you imagine the fresh taste of tomatoes, lettuce or herbs grown just outside your door? A flower garden provides year-round color as you plant according to the season. Annuals provide color for one year and need replacement, whereas perennials return each year. Mix plants by height with taller plants to the back and ground cover toward the front.
Even Less Maintenance with Hardscapes
Reduce watering and maintenance even more with hardscapes. A design that flows with property lines, trees and the house itself, employing pavestone, crushed granite or river rock is almost a work of art. It shouldn’t be plant free. Incorporate xeriscape plants for greenery.
Around the Base of Trees and Shrubs
Mature shade trees provide a restful setting for a bedding area. Try a mulched bed with flowers, or the lush green of ferns. Mulch can be shredded bark, leaves or pine needles.
A crushed granite bed will also accent shade trees. If you lay hardscape, leave plenty of uncovered ground so that the trees can receive water.