16 Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas—From Artificial Turf to Xeriscaping | Architectural Digest

When it comes to your landscape design and backyard ideas, work smarter, not harder with low-maintenance landscaping. “A traditional American lawn takes tons of maintenance and water and doesn’t really attract any wildlife,” says Camille Cimino, a Los Angeles–based landscape architect at Nature of Things, a firm specializing in low-maintenance, drought-tolerant designs. Luckily, a beautiful landscape design with undeniable curb appeal doesn’t have to be synonymous with hours of backbreaking lawn care and upkeep.

“I create spaces that are low-water and low-maintenance,” Cimino says. “But also lush, diverse, and seasonally stacked to have different things blooming around the perimeter all year long.” You really can have it all. If you’re planning to revamp your yard anytime soon, know that with a little planning and preparation, you can ditch the mowing, weeding, and watering and thrive in a hassle-free outdoor living space.

How do I landscape my front yard for low maintenance?

When it comes to creating low-maintenance landscaping, it’s important to consider what aspects of your yard actually require maintenance before you get too involved with front yard landscaping ideas. Minimizing the lawn is always smart, since mowing can take a lot of time and effort. “Gravel or mulch is great for cutting down on yard work and creating a space to spend time in,” Cimino says. If you go this route it’s important to still consider ways to keep greenery in the yard. You could introduce more hardscaping elements, like a larger driveway, a concrete patio, or walkways that decrease the amount of lawn space.

Blythe Yost, a landscape architect in Pearl River, New York, and cofounder of Tilly, an online landscape design company, says the easiest way to have low-maintenance landscaping is to use plantings that thrive in your region. “These can often be natives—which we encourage—but also plants that require less care,” she says. For example, if you have a sunny yard and plant perennial flowers that prefer shade, they’ll need more water sprinklers and require more upkeep to stay alive in your yard.

What is the lowest-maintenance garden?

“I consider the greatest maintenance task to be weeding,” Yost says, noting that a low-maintenance garden would be one that eliminates weeds as much as possible. To do this, she recommends planting plenty of flowers in garden beds, so the weeds don’t have any room to grow. “Beds should be full of plants with little mulch visible in between,” she says. Keep this in mind as you’re figuring out how to plant grass seed in the fall and spring.

Cimino specializes in creating meadows, also known as tapestry lawns, in front yards, which she believes is one of, if not the best way, to create a low-maintenance garden. “A meadow is essentially the opposite approach to a field of grass,” she says. It involves native plants, wildflowers, and different grasses. “It does not need to be heavily watered, because a lot of the grasses and wildflowers are selected to harmonize with the surrounding climate and its natural rainfall levels,” she adds.

How do I start a low-maintenance garden?

The simplest way to start a low-maintenance garden is to only include elements that will be easy to care for and use little water. Start by thinking about your lawn: Will you opt for gravel or mulch instead of a carpet-like turf? Should you add hardscape elements, like these retaining wall ideas, that don’t require extra cutting or pruning?

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