Most of us want a lush, green yard, neatly-trimmed shrubbery, and plenty of flowering plants that will provide curb appeal in the front and a beautiful and inviting entertaining space in the back. There are those select few that prefer the minimalism and eco-friendly appeal of a desert landscape, and if your soil is hardscrabble, this certainly seems like an economical solution, as well. But while the majority of homeowners would rather surround themselves with greenery, many would probably also prefer the amount of maintenance required by the desert landscape. It’s a conundrum, to be sure. However, it turns out that you can arrange for both the lush foliage and the low-maintenance you crave when it comes to your landscaping. Here are just a few tips that will help to minimize labor and maximize payoff.
- Perennials. When it comes to choosing what to plant, you’ll find that there are really only two main categories to consider: annuals and perennials (although biennials fall in the middle). Annuals are plants that go through their entire life cycle in the course of a year. Once they flower you can gather seeds or bulbs to plant again, but without some help they will not regrow come spring. Perennials, on the other hand, will continue to grow each year, often sustaining foliage throughout the year, which clearly makes them preferable in terms of maintenance. Of course, you may have to cut back dead growth periodically, but it’s bound to be less time consuming than planting a new selection each spring.
- Native plants. While you might be attracted to a variety of exotic plants that aren’t native to your region, you should know that you’re probably going to have to devote a lot more attention to keeping these plants alive and flourishing. There’s a reason they’re not native to your environment; either they’re not well suited to the climate, the soil, or some other condition, or your region features some kind of predator (insect, animal, other plant species) that wipes them out. So they may struggle after planting. On the other hand, you could wind up with a species that thrives, has no natural predators, and ends up choking out other plants. In short, opt for native plant species.
- Drought-resistant options. The wonderful thing about drought-resistant plants is that they can survive on a lot less water than their brethren in the world of flora and fauna. This can save you time on upkeep and money on watering. You might be surprised to learn that there are even drought-resistant grasses, which could make for an ever-green lawn even if you often forget to water.
- Pest-free plants. Before you pick the most attractive flowers in the nursery, keep in mind that you’re not the only one that’s going to find them appealing. Insects and animals may also be drawn to the brightly-colored petals and delicious fragrances wafting from these flowers. If you want to keep your maintenance low, choosing plants that tend to come with natural insecticides (marigolds, for example) could be the way to go.
- In-ground sprinkler system. Regardless of your landscaping solutions, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t have to bother with the duty of watering your plants on a schedule. Instead, program your sprinkler system do the job for you. As for in-ground options, you’re a lot less likely to run over sprinkler heads with the mower or trip on them when they retract into the ground after use.