April 23 2014
NJ Landscape Designer1

Creating a Low Maintenance Lawn

NJ Landscape Designer
NJ Landscape Designer

Want a beautiful lawn, but don’t want to waste your valuable time on gardening and re-gardening after every winter? Well, there are some low-maintenance ideas here that can assist in the transition, especially after the colder months. You’ll also find some out-of-the box ideas that differ from your traditional lawn care.

Grass Options

Grass is usually what first comes to mind when it comes to traditional lawns, but there are alternatives. Groundcover is a low maintenance option, as is Clover. A nice low-maintenance choice is ornamental grasses, which require less time and care than a full lawn that you’d have to mow!

Groundcover can include such plant types as Verbena, Bishops weed, and Juniper. These types grow very short, and therefore do not require trimming. The first year of growth is the hardest, which requires weeding, mulching, and an edge barrier system, but it is well
worth it in the long run, as once the cover takes hold, then little care is needed at all. There are even edible varieties of Groundcover you can experiment with – like Strawberry plants!

If you still want the “grass lawn look” without the hassle; ornamental grasses require some trimming, but are nice because they grow well in most climates. Another benefit of these grasses is that they are also drought resistant for the summer! Ornamental grasses seldom
require fertilizer, and are supposed to be grown a little longer than traditional grass. Common types are names like Feather reed, Fountain grass, and Desert plains.

Clover many times is actually confused for grass, and is the “wild common form” that we see growing in fields or open areas. It is a soil enhancer, which means that it chokes weeds and enables other plants to grow prosperously in the area. Common types of Clover are DutchWhite and Yellow Blossom. Looking for the lowest possible maintenance from year
to year? Most gardeners recommend Dutch White as it is considered a perennial,
and will return easily after winter. This way you will not have to reseed the
area!

Flower Options

Interesting and beautiful to the eye of course are flowers. Flowers are an easy way to brighten up a lawn and keep your outdoor space pleasing to the eye. Easy, that is, if you choose the right types! Here is some information about the easiest types of flowers to maintain. Keep in mind, however that most flowers do best with at least a little sun and
moisture. And the planting period (time of year) must be followed. A common
mistake made is not waiting long enough to plant in the spring, and then
flowers freeze.

 

First, Hydrangeas are flowers with certain colors based on the acidity of the soil in the area. Colors can be blue, purple, or cream. These plants grow in shrubs, and luckily tolerate almost any soil type. They require partial shade, and will produce flowers from
summer to fall! Perfect to enjoy from spring to fall.

Geraniums are a good choice for our climate. There is a lot to be said about this flower, but most of all know that it is a tough cookie! The Geranium will stand up to winds and cold, while being flexible with soil type. They can thrive in both full sun or partial shade, and
are even resistant to animal encounters; especially deer.

 

Another suggestion for a low maintenance flower is Foxglove. This lavender, blue, or pink flower is quite dramatic as spikes surround the tall stems. The tubular shape will also seed itself for the next year, and multiplies easily. It’s only requirement is that it has well
drained soil…it cannot sit in a place that collects a lot of water.

Xeriscaping

If you are still not feeling 100% about the options above, there is a newer type of landscaping that has become very popular – Xeriscaping (pronounced “Zero-scaping”). The key part of the word here being “zero.” No doubt the most hands off you will be able to get with an outdoor space – this type of lawn care is your friend.

Xeriscaping is especially good for areas that do not have enough water supplied from irrigation, or for drier climates. On the other hand, it is becoming more mainstreamed and is being used in other areas as a low maintenance option. Popular elements for this type of
landscaping are Gravel, Garden Rocks, Succulents, Cacti, and Native
Plants.  You will definitely save money on the water bill, and these types of lawns have been said to be more visually interesting than the normal.

You simply cover an area with rocks or gravel (or even rubber mulch) and plant
hardy plants like cacti in certain spots. Or place them in pots here and there
instead of planting in the ground. Add an occasional decorative rock or fake
“boulder” to complete the look.

Hopefully after reading this article you’re not feeling so overwhelmed with creating your backyard or outdoor space for the upcoming season. There are many options at hand that you can tailor to your own personal interest and time frames. Consider finding a non-traditional lawn idea that works for you; you will reap the benefits and will have time for
more activities this spring/ summer! Don’t hesitate to ask us, your local lawn and garden professional, for more
ideas!