If you're like many homeowners, you want the best of both worlds — a comfortable, attractive outdoor living space that you actually have the time to enjoy instead of spending every spare moment of your weekend doing yard care and maintenance chores. Fortunately, you don't have to choose between the two. With the right landscape design strategies, it's possible to have a yard with appealing aesthetics that doesn't require a ton of work. Following are three things you can do to make this happen.
Naturalize Your Flower Beds
Naturalized flower beds are supposed to look a little messy and therefore won't detract from the overall aesthetic from your yard. Certain types of perennials and self-seeding annuals will come back every year and don't require much beyond adequate water and occasional mulch, but you have to make sure to pick the right varieties. Flowers that are good for naturalizing include most bulbs, almost anything in the aster family, marigolds, sunflowers, and nasturtiums.
Minimize Your Lawn Space
Vast green lawns have been an important part of the landscaping of the average American home for decades, but current trends are quickly moving away from traditional lawns — and one of the main reasons for this is that lawns require a significant amount of time and attention if they are to look good. Lawns that don't receive extensive weeding, mowing, and fertilizing end up looking scraggly and unkempt. Lawn alternatives include rock gardens, low-maintenance ground covers such as clover, ajuga, spreading juniper, and mint. If you've got active children in your home who love playing outdoors, consider using playground mulch for their play area instead of depending on lawn grass. This will prevent muddy areas and help keep mud from being tracked into your home.
Plant Native Shrubs and Trees
Next to lawns, ornamental shrubs and trees are the most time-intensive aspects of the average person's yard care routine. They need to be pruned, fertilized, and treated for fungal and insect pathogens to help them thrive. However, native shrubbery and trees are already acclimated to local soil conditions and therefore don't require any extra fertilizer, and they've developed a resistance to regional pests and pathogens and therefore require minimal, if any, insect or fungal controls. As an added bonus, native shrubs and trees can get by with average precipitation levels except for during times of drought. They also don't need much pruning or trimming except to shape them up and remove dead or dying wood.