Chances are you don’t have an awful lot of time to spend keeping your backyard in top shape. Wouldn't you rather spend time taking a dip in your new swimming pool, doing some laptoping on your patio, or just relaxing with the fresh Long Island breeze? Okay, maybe you're an avid gardener, but wouldn't you rather choose what you spend your time on out there rather than constantly worrying about watering and weeding? We're here to help! If you're in process (or thinking of) transforming your outdoor living areas, here are some useful tips on how to design a low maintenance backyard that practically takes care of itself. Now you can enjoy your outdoor spaces at your leisure, without having to constantly worry about keeping it looking great. You can thank us later :-).
For low maintenance hardscaping, you need look only as far as the materials you use and how they're installed (for example, read here about Unilock products). You want something that won’t need regular treatment or patching. Natural stone might chip and fade (if not installed correctly), poured concrete tends to crack, and asphalt eventually becomes pitted. Concrete pavers are durable, stylish, and ideal for the lock-up-and-go home owner. They’re also inexpensive and, because they’re already designed to last, don’t require any further sealing. The only maintenance you’ll have to do is a quick and infrequent hose down to get rid of any soil buildup. Depending on the patio size, concrete pavers or natural stone can also cut down on time spent mowing the lawn. Consider hardscaping in large areas and leaving small, easily maintained spaces of grass with plantings for picnics, aesthetics, and outdoor activities. Related: Choosing Between Concrete Pavers and Natural Stone.
If cutting down time spent mowing the lawn is your objective, then look no further. Grass is not the only ground cover that does the job. Gravel in sections can aesthetically pleasing sections in your backyard as well as your front yard. They also drain well and require minimal maintenance (depending on placement). Sand works well for small zen-garden type themes (especially if you're near the beach). Groundcover plants can also be a great alternative. For example, moss and clover (depending on the overall style of your outdoor spaces) will provide covering with all the aesthetic value and a fraction of the maintenance.
Selecting plants that require little attention will save you a ton of time in the long run. Bear in mind that the maintenance added to your backyard with plants and trees not only includes pruning and watering, but also how much raking you’ll have to do in the fall when they start losing their leaves. For this reason, evergreens and smaller, hardy shrubs are often ideal. And of course, play nicely with the shady and sunny areas. Plants often have a preference and when you go against their preference, maintenance (and even longevity of the plant's life) is impacted.
To cut out maintenance time on a water feature, avoid installing anything that contains a large body of water that sits for some period of time. Ponds can be set up as self-contained eco-systems that require no external interference, but finding the balance of fauna and flora can sometimes be quite tricky. Instead opt for water features where water is continuously
We saved the best low-maintenance tip for last. Plants that are made to thrive in our Long Island environment will want what's natural and possible here. And to go a step further, some plants do better in some areas on LI than others. Now of course, everything requires maintenance. The amount of maintenance will vary depending on the plant, season, and age, but because the plants are native, they'll require less maintenance. Get a professional to help pick and plant these plants when you're transforming your outdoor spaces. And no, you don't have to sacrifice beauty at all. In many cases, you'll still get gorgeous, lush plantings that can be arranged for your taste - whether it's country, modern, zen, or anything else!