Your Own Low Maintenance Landscaping
Story by Kimberly Bonéy
Let’s face it. People tend to shop with their eyes first. The same sentiment holds true when considering the purchase of a new home. And while the inside features of a home may draw potential buyers, the landscape may be the very thing that seals the deal.
With all of the rain California has had in the last year, it’s been said that we are officially out of our seemingly-perpetual drought. But that doesn’t mean everyone feels up to the time, effort and money involved with maintaining a park-like landscape in their yard. Follow along for a few low-maintenance ways to make the outside of your home shine.
POTTED PLANTS – A good garden bed is lovely to behold, but can be difficult to maintain in that pristine “I-deserve-a-feature-in-Better-Homes-and-Gardens” kind of way. Investing in some decorative pots – those on stands or those that hang – allows potential buyers to determine their own level of comfort where landscape maintenance is concerned. If they love the plants, they can keep them. If they don’t, it won’t require a huge overhaul to restructure the look. Opt for pots in various sizes and display them at different heights in odd number groupings for added dimension.
DROUGHT-RESISTANT PLANTS – Your yard doesn’t have to house 100-year-old oaks or a myriad of fruit trees to be remarkably beautiful. Succulents and cacti are not only on trend right now, but are the perfect options for cutting down on water usage and maintenance. While they can be a bit expensive initially, these low-maintenance garden buddies are sure to enchant visitors and potential buyers alike. Group them together with other succulents to create a bit of natural whimsy.
A VEGETABLE GARDEN – This isn’t as low-maintenance as some of the other options, but should you choose to invest in some greenery for your yard, this is one way to make it count for more than mere eye candy. There is something magical about growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs – for both adults and children. Not only does it promote healthy eating, but it’s often a sweet bonding ritual for families – something you can all work on together. And because fruit, vegetable and herb gardens grow seasonally, you can choose what to grow and when – leaving you downtime when you need it most. Build a wooden garden bed (or several smaller wooden boxes throughout the yard, based on the sun/shade needs of each plant) to house your favorites. They’ll give you a place to return to each year during the planting season.
PAVERS – This might be one of the easiest ways to give your yard a lift without employing your green-thumb. The shape, size, color and arrangement of pavers can help reduce the need for grass while adding style to the space. Loose sand, wood chips or moss are lovely ways to fill the spaces between them.
A DECK – Wood or concrete, small or sprawling, a nice deck is a lovely way to usurp space in a beautiful way, without any water required. A covered patio can serve as an extension of your home, complete with comfortable seating (think couches with throw pillows, covered in outdoor fabric), lighting, a dining table and even a kitchenette/bar hybrid. Your home is sure to become the “it” gathering place for family and friends.
YARD ART – There is nothing that says a yard is required to have a huge amount of green to make it stellar. Consider strategic placement of a beautiful stone fountain or a piece of metal sculpture as the focal point of your outdoor sanctuary. Old wagon wheels or rustic farming equipment displayed prominently can be wonderful, creative conversation starters. A wooden arbor – with or without trailing ivy, honeysuckle or night-blooming jasmine - adds a touch of enchantment to an outdoor space.
A ZEN GARDEN – Sometimes, less is more. A zen garden, with sparse greenery, rocks, sand and wood chips, is certainly evidence of that. Designate a space in your yard for your place of peace and seek out some plants that make your heart happy. Be sure to leave space for a stone bench, a piece of sculpture and a small rake to shift the sand around with. Having a place to breathe in a busy world is a worthy investment of time, space and resources.