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4 Landscaping Ideas for a Small Backyard - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Owning a home can require a lot of upkeep. From unexpected repairs to routine cleaning, there’s a lot that needs to be done. Part of caring for your home is maintaining your landscape and curb appeal. If you struggle to find the time, or simply dislike doing yard work, here are some low-maintenance landscaping ideas for your yard.

Plant Some Evergreens

Evergreens help your home look beautiful during all seasons. While other plants and vegetation may lose their foliage after the summer months, evergreens maintain their leaves throughout the year.

Even though evergreens are more costly than some alternatives, they will help your home maintain curb appeal even in the gloomy months. The lack of attention these plants require will return your investment year after year.

Try Artificial Grass

Gena Lorainne, gardening and landscaping expert at Fantastic Services, an English outdoor- and home-services company based in the London area, says, “Artificial grass is easy to maintain, as no lawn mowing, watering, or fertilizing will be necessary, unlike with real grass. On top of that, you can still have that touch of greenery in your outdoor space for a really long period of time.”

If you hate mowing your lawn every few days, consider purchasing artificial grass. This alternative type of grass has come a long way since the early days of turf. In some cases, you may not be able to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fake. Artificial grass requires very minimal care. All you need to do is hose it off from time to time.

In addition to purchasing artificial grass, you can also try artificial plants. If you have an outdoor space that’s covered from the elements, buying artificial plants can give the space an extra pop of color.

For example, you could add some faux potted plants to your front door step. No one will ever know the difference.

Consider Xeriscaping Your Yard

Charles Munford, owner of Chuck’s Landscaping in Canoga Park, California, says, “Succulents like Aloe Vera, hearty ornamental sages, and Artemisia that can be combined with rocks and mulch can cover a lot of ground without adding a lot of upkeep. While most xeriscape plants are already low-maintenance, you can also add a drip system to make it even easier to care for your yard.”

Xeriscaping your yard is a great low-maintenance way to add character to your landscape. Essentially, Xeriscaping is a process that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water or the water used in an irrigation system.

This type of landscaping is traditionally used in areas that have a limited water supply or are very dry. However, with a little creativity and the right plant selection, you should be able to apply this design concept to any yard.

Add River Rock

River rock is another alternative to organic mulch. It adds a clean and sleek look to any landscaping.

Zach Hendrix, co-founder of GreenPal, a Michigan lawn care company based in Detroit, states, “Adding river rock is a one-time upfront investment and adds beauty to your lawn and landscape. The cool thing is that it never has to be re-dressed or redone next season.”

You should only use river rock in shaded areas because it tends to raise the soil temperature, which can harm your plants. While river rock can be a great low-maintenance addition to your garden, you should stick to traditional mulch if you live in a warm climate.

Install Hard Landscaping

If you don’t have an outdoor space to entertain, you may want to consider using a large portion of your yard for hardscaping. You can use asphalt, stone, or pavement to create a backyard oasis of your very own.

Installing hard landscaping can be costly but it will save you time and energy when maintaining your lawn. Similar to other types of renovations, it may even increase the value of your home.

Connect an Irrigation System

Lorainne adds, “Hand watering plants and flowers can take a lot of your time, so an irrigation system might as well be a good solution. One of its advantages is having timers that can be set and your garden will water itself while you are resting.”

With the continual advancements to technology, irrigation systems have become more and more efficient. In the past, irrigation systems typically lost about 50% of their water due to evaporation, improper installation, or maintenance issues.

Now, irrigation systems have features like controllers that allow you to control watering by zone and season. Different zones in your yard may have different watering needs based on soil type, sun, shade and plantings. Plants may also have seasonal watering needs that require a different output.

In addition to controlling water by zone, you can set your system based on the rainfall around your home. If you’re getting more rain, you don’t want to give your plants more water than they need. That’s why using a controlled irrigation system can help you cut water costs while giving your plants what they need to survive.

So instead of watering your plants, consider an irrigation system. They may be much more cost-effective and save you time!

Choose Some Perennials

If you want to add a little color to your landscaping, try looking for low-maintenance perennials. While some perennials may require a lot of work, others don’t need your assistance at all.

Do a little research to discover the best perennials for your region.

The Bottom Line

There are plenty of low-maintenance solutions for your yard. Using a little creativity and conducting some research will help you find the best ways to minimize the upkeep of your outside space. Before you know it, your neighbors will be envious of your easy-to-care-for landscaping.

Do you have any low-maintenance landscaping tips? We want to hear from you, please leave your tips in the comments below.

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. i can’t believe this article! you call yourself a gardening expert and all you recommend is to put plastic and even more plastic or non living things in their yard? there are much more WAY better things someone can plant to maintain an easy and beautiful yard, like grasses, shrubs, trees, a flower meadow, ground-covering plants and so on. and you’re recommending artificial plastic grass, that soon will turn into microplastic, will change its colour, kill the eco system in your ground, be hard to maintain (what do you do when leaves fall on the fake grass?) and after a couple of years, you will have garbage to throw away! congratulations! same goes for artificial plants. in your house, they might not hurt anyone, same as a cheap plastic figurine..but on the outside, they will turn into microplastic soon, change its colour and become garbage. then- putting stones in you garden?! ok, if you don’t put black plastic under the stones, so no plants can grow., but recently it has become trendy to have some sort of artificial zen garden, where nothing grows. it’s bad for the microclimate, all the dying insects, birds, our air, water and nature! putting asphalt in your yard? are you kidding me?! that has NOTHING to do with gardening and i don’t know how it’s not illegal. i think you could have made this list much shorter and tell people to just sell their house and move into an apartment. if they hate nature, garden work, the colour green, plants and our planet, then maybe they shouldn’t have a garden? that solution would be best for everyone. please people, just put your yard in the newspaper and ask someone who lives in an apartment, if he would like to take care of it. i’m sure lots of people would love to have a small area for gardening! it would be a win-win situation for everyone.

    1. We appreciate your feedback and we’re sorry this article didn’t meet your expectations. With that said, we’ll keep this stuff in mind for future articles.

  2. Thank you for the article. I’ve always liked the “set it and forget it” mentality for routine tasks, it makes a lot of sense to do the same for the yard. I feel like low maintenance items mentioned here are definitely good for this.

  3. Excellent backyard landscaping process which gives a clear cut idea. I think the best described article for the low maintenance landscaping ideas. I get all answers of my questions and very informative at the same time.

    1. My neighbor in Albuquerque uses native grasses along with flowers and it’s beautiful! The grasses themselves are very pretty.

  4. I have started using the rubber mulch and where I have my flower beds located, there is no chance of it getting in to storm water drains or natural water ways! Glad you mentioned this though!!!

    1. I was really shocked that anyone who professes to know anything about gardening would suggest rubber mulch. It gives off toxic fumes. The recycling craze, fad or whatever you want to call it has resulted in a lot of very bad ideas.

  5. Be careful with planting evergreens, eucalyptus, palms, etc anywhere near your house or other structures if you live in areas known as potential wildfire zones, especially in many areas of Southern California, as these plants can be explosive in a fire and exacerbate a fire. There are also plants that have the opposite effect and help control wildfires, like oleander and ice plant.

  6. Rubber mulch you have got to be kidding. That rubber will end up in rivers, water ways, plug up sewers. That is irresponsible. You might as well tell your customers to throw garbage in the oceans. Just because it was recycled doesn’t mean it is environmentally friendly. People who are making and selling this are catering to the lazy and uninformed. Stick to advise on financial matters. Most of this article contains misinformation but I could not leave without comment on the most egregious.

    1. I just added a comment about this. As the rubber degrades it gives off toxic fumes. It is really not safe around humans or pets. I can’t believe it hasn’t been banned yet! People, please don’t assume everything you read is good advice.

      1. Good morning, Zoey:

        Thank you for bringing up this point. We’re going to take the time to do a little more research on this before making a decision. We appreciate your thoughts and that you took the time to write us.

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