5 Tips For Designing Maintainable Landscaping

Do you ever look at neighbors yards with a bit of envy, longing to have the well-designed and welcoming outdoor space they enjoy? The good news is that anyone can have a well designed yard. The key is implementing a design that fits your budget and falls within the amount effort you are able to expend on general maintenance and upkeep. 

1. Start With the Bones

Any attractive landscape begins with a strong underlying structure -- the "bones" of the design. The bones are made up of hardscaping features that aren't easily changed. Pathways, retaining walls, patios, shade structures, and even garden statuary and ponds are all considered the hardscaping structure upon which plants are added later. Spend your initial efforts and budget on creating a structure that supports all your desires, such as outdoor entertaining or a gazing pond.

2. Choose a Focal Point

A common design mistake is to have a lot going on without anything being cohesive in the landscape. To avoid this, choose a focal point for the lawn. This can be an installed feature, such as fountain or arbor area, or it can be an attractive planting, such as a large shade tree or an island garden filled with pretty perennials. Tie features of the focal point in elsewhere in your design to tie it together, such as using matching edging around the focal point and the rest of the yard, or repeating flower colors from the focal point elsewhere in the yard.

3. Set Anchor Plants

Your anchor plants are the longer lived perennials that will form the ongoing living framework of your design. Choose what trees and shrubs you want and put them in first, as they will take a while to fit full size. Perennial flowers and small subshrubs, such as pretty lavender, peonies, and bulb flowers should also be put in at first. 

4. Minimize Labor

Choose plants, especially perennials, that grow well in your climate to help minimize labor. Native plants are especially nice, as they tend to require less water and fertilizer. They also tend to have fewer pest problems. Mulch over bare areas that haven't filled in with plants yet so you don't have to weed as often too. You may also want to put in irrigation lines prior to planting to further make landscape care easier.

5. Use Annual Fill

Finally, don't over plant if you want an easily maintainable landscape. Instead, leave plenty of space around all the newly planted perennials and fill in the empty areas with low maintenance annuals the first few years. Eventually the perennials will spread and fill in the empty areas, allowing you to plant fewer annuals each year.

Contact a landscaping design service like Diamond Lawn Care & Landscape LLC for more help in developing a landscaping plan that meets your needs and desires.