The Invincible Yard: 10 Ideas for Lazy Landscaping

Some people love the backbreaking business of tending to lawn and garden. Then there’s the rest of us—who’d rather relax and let that little piece of heaven largely take care of itself. Ahead, easy ways to make your outdoor space the envy of the neighborhood.

Play Hard

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Hardscapes

Less lawn equals less work. That’s the best argument for hardscaping—that’s the use of pavers, brick, or decorative stone. Whether you opt for a patio or lay garden paths, you’ll have a durable surface that never needs weeding or watering—although you may want to sweep it occasionally. Options abound, from neat grids to a patchwork effect, so a great no-fuss look is just a stone’s throw away.

Play Hard

Hardscapes

Less lawn equals less work. That’s the best argument for hardscaping—that’s the use of pavers, brick, or decorative stone. Whether you opt for a patio or lay garden paths, you’ll have a durable surface that never needs weeding or watering—although you may want to sweep it occasionally. Options abound, from neat grids to a patchwork effect, so a great no-fuss look is just a stone’s throw away.

Once and Done

Perennials

Perennials are the gift that keeps on giving, season after season, unlike annuals, which you have to plant every year. Some perennials are more carefree than others, though. Forgetful gardeners will love drought-tolerant pasque or the delicate-looking but durable penstemon. For hot and dry climates, we like brilliant sedum, and, yes, yarrow (don’t dare call it a weed!).

Go, Native!

Native Plants

Plants adapted to their environments long before people did, so native species are a wise choice for the laid-back landscape. Native plants require less fertilizer, water, pesticides, and overall care than plants brought in by settlers. To learn what will thrive in your neck of the woods, type native plants, and your state into a search engine—you’ll find tons of info.

Fake It!

Artificial Grass

Artificial grass has come a long way from your granddad’s Astroturf. Today’s synthetics, made of nylon or polymer, have varying heights and color gradations to look and feel more like the real thing. You can even plant a tree in it. Though pricey ($8 to $12 per square foot), your faux lawn will be fuss-free.

It’s Easy Being Evergreen

Evergreens

What could be simpler than plants that keep their vivid, verdant color all year long? Put dwarf varieties into flower beds, set shrubs near your house to disguise the foundation, choose tall, columnar types for privacy—there are even creeping varieties for ground cover.

Borders Without Bother

Border Plants

For interesting edges without the effort, try clumping monkey grass (Liriope muscari) along flower beds, borders, and walkways. This Asian native is hardy; stands up to dogs, deer, bugs, and weeds; and does well in a variety of soils and climates. Monkey grass can grow to about 15 inches, so trim it if you wish or go long.

Less Is More

Landscaping Design

Rather than crowd a bed with lots of plants you’ll need to tend, put in just a few high-impact, high-performance varieties. One or two nice trees and some powerhouse perennials mean more time to sack out in the hammock.

Set in Succulents

Succulents

If watering falls low on your to-do list, succulents (like echeveria and agave) are your garden go-to’s. Tough, colorful, and captivating, they also play well with others, so mixing ’em up adds more excitement to your landscape. Drainage is key, however: Put these shallow-rooting, sun-loving plants in raised beds with porous, well-aerated soil.

Flower Power

Knock Out Roses

A rose by any other name probably isn’t as easy as the Knock Out®. These set-’em-and-forget-’em flowers are heat-resistant, pretty much prune-free, and “self-cleaning”—you don’t even have to deadhead them. Just use a good organic or chemical granular rose food in early spring, and follow up with foliar feedings (liquid fertilizer applied to the leaves) through the blooming season.

Stay in Your Zone

USDA Zone

Remember to pick plants suited to your USDA Hardiness Zone. Anything too tender is destined to failure—and who needs the frustration? While you’re at it, a soil test will diagnose your dirt and tell you what nutrients it needs (go here for more info).

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