Low Maintenance Landscape Design

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The latest studies show that in the U.S. there are more than 30 million acres of lawn, making grass our #1 irrigated crop. In these days when conservation�of natural resources and your personal resources�is all the rage, now is a good time to consider some alternatives that will save time, money and energy. A landscape with a design for low maintenance can easily be yours. And it doesn�t have to come at the cost of a bland, boring yard. All it takes is some knowledge about the right plants and techniques.

�With a design for low maintenance, the goals are basically the same as for any other landscape design, except we focus on using materials that reduce the Big Four of ongoing maintenance: watering, trimming, weeding and mulching,� says Jeff Halper, landscape design specialist with Exterior Worlds.

Design for Low Maintenance: Actions and Choices

� Choose drought-resistant plants, like pampas grass, Plumbago, and Lantana. You might even choose older rose varieties, which are hardier than modern large-flowered hybrids.

� Avoid plants that need continuous pruning, like boxwood and dwarf yaupons (often used in hedges).

� Stay away from plants, such as azaleas, that are susceptible to diseases or insect problems.

� Mulching can be eliminated by using gravel, which rarely needs to be replaced.

� The use of gravel instead of mulch also cuts down on weeds and helps retains soil.

� Use ground covers that don�t need regular pruning and will cover the ground so that weeds are controlled. This type of ground cover is another choice that eliminates or reduces mulching.

� Maximize your seasonal color by installing flowers in planters, urns or bowls to lower the costly replacements season to season.

Design for Low Maintenance:

Develop Other Focal Points

Consider using non-plant material as focal points. Get creative with:

Pathways. Functionally, pathways are the way into the space, and visually, they lead the eye in, through, across and around the landscape design. Pathways can have a big impact on the landscape and your experience as you transition from the street to the home. As an approach to a home, pathways tend to be the first insight into the homeowner�s personality.

Landscape lighting. The right landscape lighting allows you to showcase beautiful trees and garden elements, but, at the same time, lets you control what you don�t want people to see by leaving some things dark. From a practical standpoint, it provides security and safe access and is often recommended as a relatively inexpensive way to increase your property value.

Outdoor water fountains. Outdoor water fountains make a graceful statement about a home by creating a pleasing and welcoming ambiance. They can be used to enhance the architectural style of a house. Outdoor water fountains are especially beneficial in these technological times, serving as camouflage for traffic noise, humming air-conditioning units and thrashing lawn mowers.

Design for Low Maintenance: Other Ideas

A common mistake is to choose plants that look perfect the day you plant them, but then they take over the space. Thus you create an ongoing maintenance task. A professional Houston landscape designer will help you with this issue.

Even if plants require only minimal maintenance, water is still essential. An irrigation system on a timer eliminates the need to move sprinklers around and rush around to water at just the right time. Since a little water for a long time is healthiest for plants, you might consider investing in a drip irrigation system.

Gardening Articles: http://organicgardenarticles.com/

Jeff Halper is passionate for Landscape design and gardening and wants to share infomation about that passion. www.exteriorworlds.com

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