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Easy Set-and-Forget Landscaping Tips

When you’d rather relax in your yard than work on it, planning is key.

Written by Elizabeth Millard


 Timberpeg photo. 


Whether your cabin is a weekend getaway, a primary residence or you simply don’t have the time or enthusiasm for yard work (who does?), you may think you need to sacrifice beauty for easy upkeep. Good news: You don’t. 

While it will take a little upfront effort to establish a low- to no-maintenance landscape, ultimately you can get an eye-catching look without spending your vacation days or hard-earned retirement years on gardening tasks. Here are six quick tips to do now, so you can take it easy later on:


Spotlight shrubs and small trees.

There’s a reason you see so many trees, shrubbery and decorative grasses at vacation properties; they’re hearty and require minimal trimming. Plus, many are drought resistant, which means you don’t need to worry about a watering schedule. Consider varieties like Russian sage, juniper, bayberry, lilacs and hydrangeas.


Mulch generously.

Choosing a mulch material, like woodchips or pine straw, can significantly reduce weeding, retain soil moisture and keep plant roots cool in hot temperatures. It also can enhance your yard’s appeal and improve soil health, as it breaks down over time.


Consider slow-growing grasses.

If you can’t mow regularly, you might opt for types of grass that don’t require much attention because they don’t grow very tall. The best pick is fescue, which is a slow-growing, short grass that needs to be mowed only once or twice a year and comes in mixes of different varieties.


Expand patio areas — or build them.

Even with fescue, having less lawn in general minimizes maintenance, so installing a patio will cut down on how much green space you have — plus they add room for outdoor entertaining and relaxing.


Add hardy perennials.

Annuals are lovely, but they need to be replanted each year, adding extra items to your yard-maintenance to-do list. Perennials, on the other hand, are a one-and-done planting session. If you choose drought-tolerant plants here, you’ll get the benefit of less watering, too. Some good picks are sedum, daylilies, daisies, coneflowers and elderberry.


Use inorganics to fill gaps.

Instead of putting together numerous plants with different watering schedules and care needs, fill in spaces with no-maintenance, inorganic options that still contribute to a natural look. These include pea gravel, boulders, benches, bird baths and trellises.


All of these tasks, especially when taken together, may seem the polar opposite of a “no maintenance” yard, but think of the upfront effort as an investment in your future R&R. A little extra exertion now can lead to the enjoyment of a burden-free property for years to come.


See Also: Increase Your Timber Home's Curb Appeal

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