How to Take the Headache out of Lawn Care. A nice lawn makes a good impression on visitors and keeps the neighbors happy, but that’s not all it can do for you. It’s also an extension of your home, an outdoor space that the whole family can enjoy. But taking care of a lawn can still be a huge hassle. Mowing, weeding, and fertilizing are physically strenuous and time-consuming chores. Putting in and maintaining flower beds and vegetable patches is a lot of work, too.
But what if you could have a beautiful, well-landscaped lawn with just a fraction of the maintenance? With a little planning, low-maintenance lawns are possible. Plant grass wisely to avoid mowing trouble spots. When it’s time to fill beds, choose hardy plants that are easy to care for. Have your soil tested so you can amend it as necessary, and plan your landscaping around your garden’s natural geography.
How to Take the Headache out of Lawn Care
Plan to Make Mowing Easier
Perhaps one of the best things you can do to cut down on lawn maintenance is to take advantage of lawn care maintenance and treatment services to help you with tasks like soil amendment, fertilizing, and other lawn care tasks. But mowing is one of the biggest and most frequently performed lawn care tasks, so you should take steps to make it as easy as possible.
Mowing strips can make mowing easier by eliminating the need to edge your lawn by hand. A mowing strip is a strip made of wood or paving stones that borders flower beds, sidewalks, and the edges of your lawn. Mowing strips protect the plants in your beds, and they also make it easy to trim the grass at the edges of your lawn; just run two wheels of the mower over the mowing strip to cut grass all the way up to the edges.
Plant Grass Wisely
Not every part of your lawn needs to be planted with grass. Avoid putting grass on steep slopes; they can be dangerous to mow and hard to water. Instead, try planting a hardy perennial ground cover. The same goes for narrow strips of ground, such as those between sidewalks and the street. Planting grass in these areas will just give you more to mow, and mowing these parts of the lawn could be difficult. If municipal ordinances or your local homeowners association will allow it, plant these areas with a perennial ground cover, too — or put in a nice rock garden!
You should also avoid planting grass in areas where it won’t grow well, such as those that don’t get a lot of sun. If your lawn is shady, consider a mossy ground cover instead. You might not even have to mow it; many mosses only grow a few inches high.
Landscape with Hardy, Low-Maintenance Plants
If you’re looking to plant a low-maintenance lawn, you may understandably shy away from flower beds, reasoning that these will just give you more to take care of. While it’s true that flower beds do take some maintenance, it’s also true that the more flower beds you have in your yard, the less mowing you have to do! And there’s a lot you can do to minimize the work of maintaining flower beds.
First, have your soil tested and amended if necessary to suit the needs of hardy, low-maintenance plants. Then choose some plants that are suited to your USDA hardiness zone and don’t require a lot of maintenance. Buy plants from a local nursery with a good reputation, rather than from a big-box hardware or department store; that way, you’ll be able to get answers from the grower about what kind of care the plant needs and how hardy it is.
Perennials are good for low-maintenance gardens, since, barring disease or calamity, you only have to plant them once. Peonies are a hardy and popular low-maintenance favorite; they’re beloved for their large, fragrant blooms and extraordinary longevity. If you like annuals, marigolds are easy to grow, resistant to many pests, and bloom brilliantly all summer long. Of course, there are many other shrubs, trees, and flowering plants that can thrive on little care. Mulch flower beds and vegetable patches yearly to keep weeds from ruining your day.
A low-maintenance lawn isn’t just a pipe dream. With a little planning, you, too, can have a beautiful lawn that’s easy to care for and doesn’t take up all of your spare time. The less time you spend caring for your lawn, the more time you’ll have to put it to its proper use by enjoying it with your family.