A beautiful landscape brings happiness and pride; one with a low-maintenance design has the extra benefit of maximizing your enjoyment while minimizing effort. You can achieve a wonderful design and gardens without hours of backbreaking work each week with a low-maintenance landscape.
Native plants are your best choice. Plants that evolved in our area over thousands of years require the least amount of extra care. They know how to withstand our salty air, sandy soil, and occasional drought conditions.
Plant perennials are consistently beautiful. Fill your landscape with perennial plants that will survive the winter and grow back year after year. Annuals that effectively self-propagate are also excellent choices.
Choose hardy plants and grass. Even if you decide not to use native plants in your landscape, make sure the ones you do plant are still hardy enough to withstand our South Florida extremes. The more tolerant they are of drought and varying soil types, the less reliant they will be on external sources of water and fertilizer. Zoysia grass is a beautiful lawn cover that is naturally low-growing, resistant to disease and drought, and doesn’t require much fertilizer. Hardy plants such as this mean less work you have to do to keep them healthy and happy.
Keep your landscape short. Trees and shrubs need to be pruned routinely to keep them healthy and beautiful. By choosing plants that naturally remain short, it will be easier to reach them for pruning. Small trees generally have a crown that grows less than 20 feet tall–this height provides ample shade and vertical variation in your landscaping, but still is short enough to prune from the ground or with a small ladder. Trees that get much taller than this require more tools and machinery to prune them safely, meaning you need to spend extra money and time. Some tree and shrub species, like the Sabal palm, automatically drop dead branches and frons so you have to do little to no work to keep them pruned.
Be smart with fertilizer. Compost slowly releases its nutrients over time; you only need to apply it once, then it lasts through multiple seasons. Commercial fertilizers are excellent for when you need an immediate influx of nutrients, but you need to apply it multiple times throughout the year. If your goal is to have a lovely, low-maintenance yard, compost is the fertilizer for you.
Let your tools do the work for you. One of the most time-consuming tasks of managing a landscape is daily watering. However, it doesn’t have to be! Use hoses that wind through your garden beds to establish a drip irrigation system–this way, the only thing you need to do to water your garden is turn on the spigot. To make matters even easier, you could install an automatic timer for your watering system so that you don’t have to manually turn it on and off.
Throughout your low-maintenance landscape, use materials that are durable. While this may require a higher cost up front, it is a great investment that will last for years. Flagstone, brick, and pavers retain their color and have a long lifespan. Use strong, tightly-woven landscaping fabrics throughout garden beds so that you don’t need to replace them each year.