Gardening Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day Landscape design

Working Towards a Low-Maintenance Landscape

Trees and shrubs form the backbone of low-maintenance landscapes. Photo:

As you plan your home landscape, it’s worth noting that not all plants are created equal when it comes to maintenance. Some require very little care and others need a lot of effort.

On the top of the “low maintenance scale” are woody plants (trees, shrubs and conifers). As long as you choose varieties adapted to your conditions, they require very little care and can, in fact, grow pretty much on their own. Of course, that’s presuming that you don’t decide to make your life difficult by pruning them into geometric shapes or using them in a pruned hedge.

In the middle, you’ll find perennials and grasses. They require a moderate amount of upkeep: not weekly, but certainly several times a season.

On bottom of the scale are lawns and annuals. These high maintenance plants are needy creatures, often requiring weekly care, and will really keep you on your toes.

So for a “acceptable” low-maintenance landscape (one which won’t shock your neighbors), try beds of shrubs and dwarf conifers dotted here and there with trees and full-size conifers . You can edge these beds with a thin strip of perennials and grasses, plopping in a few higher maintenance annuals here and there to ensure a minimum of color at all times.

Make these low-care beds as wide as possible to reduce the amount of heavy-on-the-upkeep lawn and you’ll be surprised by how little maintenance your home landscape really needs!

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

0 comments on “Working Towards a Low-Maintenance Landscape

Leave a Reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!

%d bloggers like this: