Now is the perfect time to start thinking about your landscaping. The weather is nice, summer BBQs are right around the corner and your property can probably use some sprucing up now that the snow is gone. But maintaining the landscaping doesn’t have to become a chore, nor should it be difficult. Our resident landscaping expert shares his secrets to low-maintenance landscapes.
After spending ten days at the National Home Show, I had the pleasure of meeting with several people looking to redesign their backyards. The easiest way to have a low maintenance backyard is to put a stone patio from fence to fence, but if you aren’t a fan of the ‘prison yard’ look, there are several ways to bring character into your design.
Fake grass is easiest to maintain
One thing you may want is an area for your children, even those with paws, to run around. The best low-maintenance option for this is artificial grass. At approximately $16 per square foot, it goes down at about the same cost as interlocking (there are a lot of variables to consider when pricing a job. This is simply meant as a guideline). Artificial grass has no allergens, and is often more comfortable to walk on than real grass, even freshly laid sod. Going a little bit further, you can also turn that grass into a putting green; even when the novelty wears off, it will still be beautiful to look at!
Besides, who wants to spend those beautiful days mowing the lawn anyway?
Turn this project into a DIY and install your own artificial turf. Take a look at this accelerated video that shows you exactly what to do:
Sprinkle your property with beds
If you have an interlocking patio with artificial grass, you have to add beds to round out your property. With a proper design, this will prevent hours of weeding every week. One helpful trick is to use ground covers such as Periwinkle, Ajuga or Sedums. Peter Stevens at Humber Nurseries Ltd., preaches mass planting for a low-maintenance garden. Consider planting evergreens, ornamental grasses, flowering shrubs and perennials. There may be some weeding while you let the plants fill out, then some trimming to keep them to size, but if you fill any voids with landscape fabric and beach pebble, or mulch, you can relax knowing you have an aesthetically pleasing garden without all of the hassles typically associated with one.
To stain or not to stain that deck?
If you plan to incorporate wood, it can require slightly more maintenance than a patio, since you will have to sweep the leaves off, and shovel the snow if you want to maximize its life span. Typical decking products, Pressure Treated, Western Red Cedar and Ipe, all can be left outside without staining, and even if you don’t sweep or shovel, it is still a safe bet you should get more than a decade if it is built properly. The downfall of not staining is it will slowly grey over time. Personally, I love the look of aged cedar, but if the look is not for you, staining it every couple years is a reasonable option. I know this is considered maintenance, but as I mentioned before, there is no such thing as a maintenance-free backyard. PVC or Composite deck boards can be thought of as lower maintenance as well, but even these materials have to be cleaned semiannually to avoid mould.
With these three tidbits, you should be well on your way to enjoying your backyard space. Remember to consult with professionals if you plan to take on the project yourself. Every trade has secrets within itself, and if you ask the right questions, you may just come across them. Be warned: once they have explained it to you, you will reach for your chequebook since you’ll realize these sorts of things are best left with the professionals.
Ready to hire a professional for your backyard? We’ve got you covered. Consult our list of landscaping and design contractors and get your backyard ready for those summer BBQs!
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About the Author: Jimmy Williams is an expert in outdoor carpentry, a niche market that has allowed him to work closely with landscape designers. Jimmy is a newbie blogger who’s interested in educating readers on landscaping, plants and design.