It’s that time of year when chestnuts are roasting on an open fire and visions of sugar plums dance in your head. It’s a busy time that focuses on friends and family. A perfect time for a low maintenance landscaping!

As the holidays become a+ dim vision in the rear view mirror, it’s time to start thinking about your spring garden.  You can still sit in front of the fire, but make that time productive.  A garden plan may intimidate you but the effort will pay off if you start thinking about low maintenance landscaping.

Taking care of a yard and garden can be time consuming.  But it doesn’t really need to be.  In North Texas there are several things you can do to reduce the on-going maintenance. Let’s get started.

For the lawn, think small

The biggest time savings can be accomplished by reducing the size of the lawn.  Mowing, watering, weed removal are all labor heavy and will take up much of your time.  Look for ways to make the grassy areas smaller.  Flower and garden beds can be enlarged.  Remove grass and mulch the area under trees.  If there is an area that has heavy traffic, put in a low maintenance landscaping pathway like gravel or brick pavers.

As you look for ways to reduce lawn size, keep in mind how your family lives.  Do you need a long space for lawn games?  Do the kids and dogs need space to run and play?  Keep lifestyle in mind as you make your plans.

Minimize hard edges

Any spot that requires using a weed whacker will means extra time and attention.  Creek rocks might look really lovely around a flower bed but getting around and in between them to trim grass adds lots of extra maintenance.  A paved pathway that sits above the grass line means more trim time.  Look for an option where paving stones can be set into the soil so you can run the mower over them.

When choosing the type of lawn grass you cultivate pick one that is not as invasive.  For example, Zoysia will eat into your beds with vigorous rhizomes.  That translates to lot of time on your knees pulling out their rooting system.

Use native plants

Native plants refer to those species that have adapted to the North Texas climate.  They are low maintenance landscaping choices because they won’t require as much attention.  They do well in local soil and are tolerant of harsh summer and drought conditions.  Online research or a discussion with a landscape professional can lead you to good choices for your garden plan.

Rethink hedges

Many established gardens have rambling hedges that were grown for privacy or to delineate lawn areas.  Over the years they can become out of control and can have dying undergrowth. Keeping them healthy and orderly is very time consuming.  If working with a blank slate, rethink building a hedge.  If rows of hedges already exist, consider pulling them out.

Mulch is your friend

Mulch is your time saving ally in many ways.  Most importantly, a thick layer of mulch in garden and flower beds will reduce weed growth. This offers tremendous time savings by eliminating the constant need for weeding.  Additionally mulch will keep moisture in the soil reducing how often you will need to water.

Mulch also works to maintain soil temperatures.  In summer it will help keep soil cool so the plants don’t fry in hot sun.  And in winter is keeps soil warm so freezing and thawing won’t damage roots.

Keep it simple

Once you get into the joy of planning your garden space it’s easy to get carried away.  There are so many great ideas.  But if your goal is low maintenance landscaping, keep it simple. The best designs are often modest in scope.

Fountains and koi ponds are wonderful landscape features. Fountains are soothing and watching koi swim is meditative.  But additional features like these will require increased maintenance.

You might be attracted to growing beautiful, exotic plants, but creating perfect growing conditions will rob you of your free time.  Even planting a wild assortment of plant materials will be more taxing than creating mass planting of the same native species.

What will you do with your spare time?

A little thought and a dash of research can help you create a lovely low maintenance landscape.  If your goal is to design a beautiful environment that you can enjoy rather than maintain, planning will be time well spent.