Save time, effort, and money by turning your conventional yard into an easy-care landscape
There’s a significant reason why maintaining your landscaping is called yard “work.” Simply put, it takes significant work. A lot of time, sweat, energy, and money can be poured into your yard in order to keep it looking pristine and presentable. Weekends can be spent pulling weeds, watering, pruning, fertilizing, repairing watering systems, and mowing the grass (which also includes clearing the yard of kids’ toys and pet waste, cleanup, disposing of clippings, and other work-related duties).
And at the end of the day, what do you have to show for your work? In addition to a temporarily clean and maintained outdoor space, you probably have a sore back, tired legs, grass-stained shoes, a few callouses and the looming work week right around the corner.
Is it all worth it?
If you enjoy the “joy of gardening” and value a big, expansive lawn made of real grass, then it probably is worth it and more power to you. If, however, you’ve become overwhelmed by a high-maintenance yard and garden space, maybe it’s time to jump on the trend of “low-maintenance landscaping,” a term that coincidentally does not include the word “work.”
It’s important to note that low-maintenance landscaping is still landscaping; it does not mean you are giving up any semblance of a traditional yard. It is, instead, a different approach to your yard and garden spaces that incorporates ideas like using rock and pavers, featuring plants that require less water and care, reducing the grass footprint, eliminating grass completely, or replacing it with artificial turf – for a clean, easy-to-maintain yard. It all adds up to less money and effort spent on maintenance, and more time for you to actually enjoy your outdoor spaces. Plus it can easily end up more pristine, unique, and fulfilling than a traditional yard.
It’s a trend sweeping through Western Canada, especially in cities where drought has created watering restrictions. It also turns the idea of a plain, conventional yard upside down by incorporating comfortable outdoor furniture, soothing water features, and advanced cooking systems.
“People are turning their backyards basically into outdoor living rooms with low-maintenance yards,” says one BURNCO Landscape employee. “Over the past four or five years, we’ve seen this trend really grow as people are wanting a yard that is more manageable with new functionality. Big patios, fire pits, barbecues, and even pizza ovens are taking the place of yards and flower beds.”
Benefits of Low-Maintenance Landscaping:
- Water conservation – Lawn watering can lead to excess consumption which can reduce stream flows, ultimately affecting fish.
- Safer – Eliminate the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides, which can leach into groundwater, streams and then lakes through storm water runoff.
- Reduced pollution – Every time you mow, you are creating noise and toxic air pollution.
- Increased free time – Once you set up your low-maintenance yard, you’ll work less to maintain it and have more time to enjoy it.
Designing Your Space:
What you put into your low-maintenance yard is entirely up to you and will likely be a good mix of elements that require little to no care once they are created. Your biggest investment will be in hardscaping – or the non-living (stone, wood, etc.) portion of your yard that will form the foundation in your new, modern, easy-care setup. Other fundamentals of a low-maintenance space include easy care plants, a small patch of grass or artificial grass or turf for greenery, and an assortment of special features like outdoor furniture, statues, and landscape lighting.
Instead of living things like grass and plants, hardscaping uses non-living landscaping elements – like garden walls, retaining walls, patio blocks and steps, pavers, natural flagstone, bricks, and roman paving stones to fill out your yard space. Transforming your living space into a hardscape creates a clean, easy-to-maintain – and beautiful – outdoor space.
“We’re finding a lot of people are putting in decorative rock or round rock in the spaces between homes,” says one BURNCO Landscape employee. “They’re typically shady areas that are hard to water, hard to mow, and more of a hassle than anything. But with clean rock, they’re simple to take care of and look really nice”
There are endless options and design ideas for utilizing hardscaping to enhance your yard while also making it easy to care for. Some common hardscaping ideas include replacing half of your yard with pavers, creating expanded garden wall planters with stackable stones, or using decorative rocks in place of a traditional garden bed.
Gone are the days of cheap, plastic, fake-looking artificial turf. Today’s products are far more advanced in look, feel, and performance, and create a soft, natural replacement for a high-maintenance real lawn that requires watering, weeding, fertilizing, and mowing. Artificial turf (also known as synthetic turf) stays the same, lush green colour year-round and never fades. It’s soft and safe to play on, and features better drainage than a real lawn. It’s a great way to keep some natural-looking greenery in your yard, without the hassle of caring for natural grass.
“For people with small yards, turf is a great alternative,” says one BURNCO Landscape employee. “With any size yard, you have to have a way to cut the grass. And with a small yard, it’s almost not worth it to buy and store a lawnmower, but you still need to cut the grass. Artificial turf solves that problem in a beautiful, lasting way.”
Though plants will always require some care, going low-maintenance doesn’t mean you have to be plant-free. There are plenty of smart plant options that will work well within your design plans. Specific plants can be easy to care for and require little watering, while still adding beauty and greenery to your landscape.
Ornamental grasses are drought-resistant, hardy, and grow well in most soils. They also don’t require fertilizer often and naturally resist pests and diseases.
You can also add color to your landscaping with hardy flowers and shrubs. Native perennials are best in that they require less work, watering, and fertilizer. Native plants are also more suited to Canadian weather than imported plants. You can also ask your nursery for local, low-maintenance and drought-resistant variety options.
By mulching around your plants, you are setting the foundation for easy maintenance. Mulch is a natural weed barrier and holds in moisture which means less watering. Mulch also presents a clean garden space.
Other Elements of a Low-maintenance paradise:
- Planters – planter containers come in all shapes, sizes, and colours and are great for a tidy potted plant to complement your space.
- Outdoor furnishings – create an outdoor living space with quality patio sets, picnic tables, and park benches.
- Outdoor kitchen – add a built-in barbecue, pizza oven, or even a fire pit for warmth and ambience.
- Landscape lighting – light up your outdoor space to become a beautiful place to entertain and to enjoy your evenings with friends and family.
Busy lifestyles and times of drought are giving us clear signs: it’s time to ditch the work and negatives of maintaining a conventional yard and get into a low-maintenance paradise.
“With a low-maintenance yard, you don’t have to work on the weekends, and you always have a nice, clean, fun yard!” BURNCO Landscape employee.
For low-maintenance yard inspiration, check out our “Do it yourself landscaping ideas.”