Traditional backyards were designed with the idea of taming nature and bending it to our will, but as we move more towards an ecologically sustainable future, we’re beginning to realize that cooperation with Mother Nature rather than control is the key to backyards that practically take care of themselves. Here are some landscape tips to keep your Dutchess County outdoor spaces looking great, without the long hours of hard work!
While evergreen trees do still drop their old leaves, they do this at a more measured pace throughout the year. This means that you don’t have to spent fall raking up the leaves. Planting evergreen trees can therefore reduce the hard work involved in keeping a yard tidy during the colder months. Planted in a row, evergreen conifers also make excellent low maintenance windbreakers. Because they maintain their shape well, rows of smaller conifers can be planted as a relatively hassle free hedge. As a bonus, evergreen trees will bring greenery to your outdoors even during winter’s bleakest periods.
A plant doesn’t have to be a cactus or a Kalahari thorn tree to be considered rugged. There are plenty of attractive yet resilient flowering perennials that will thrive without a lot of maintenance on your part. Daylilies, buddleia, coneflower, Asiatic lilies, Cranesbill, and the trumpet vine are just a few brightly colored flowering plants that will flourish without attention. Artemisia is another small, low maintenance shrub with attractive silver-grey foliage worth considering.
Plants that don’t require pruning
Pruning is another time consuming outdoor activity. To counteract this, small shrubs and plants that maintain their shape are ideal. The Japanese Andromeda for example, requires no pruning and will grow up to 10ft, maintaining a full, lush appearance. Oakleaf hydrangeas and Ogon Spirea remain relatively small and can also be left without pruning.
Large flower beds
Narrow flower beds leave a lot more room for lawn. In areas where a backyard path runs past a flowerbed, many folks tend to leave a strip of grass. Instead, extend the flowerbed to the edge of the path to cut down on awkward to mow sections. Pack your wider flower beds with a mixture of tough perennial plants that come to flower in different seasons so that your flowerbeds are lively and vibrant at any given time of the year.
Lawn maintenance undoubtedly constitutes the largest portion of backyard maintenance for most homeowners here in Dutchess County. However, more and more homeowners are opting for alternative coverings for their backyard. Concrete pavers can greatly reduce the size of your lawn and section it off into easy to manage chunks. Alternatively, these leftover sections can be covered with loose stones, sand, bark or even low maintenance water features. If you’d still like to keep some greenery, moss, and other ground covering vegetation can be used. Slow growing grass seed is also available on the market, although this will still require the occasional trim.
Hardscaping and decking materials
As part of your landscape design, low maintenance hardscaping and decking is equally important. When building a patio or paved walkways, be sure to select durable concrete pavers or hardy natural stone. High-quality paved surfaces will require no more maintenance than an occasional hose down and will last a lifetime (if installed correctly). Decking on the other hand, is trickier. Impregnated wood, while it won’t last forever is far less maintenance than traditional timber that requires sealing every couple years.