Your landscaping can color how tenants and neighbors remember your property. After all, it’s the first thing people see when they visit your building. In fact, over 68 percent of respondents said that landscaping influenced their decision to rent or buy a property in a 2014 study on the impact of landscape design on residential development by APCBEE Procedia. More than 90 percent of the respondents also believed that good landscape design increases the value of a property.
Designing and maintaining a beautiful landscape around your property is easier than you may think. Smart landscaping that incorporates low-maintenance options like drought-resistant plants, xeriscaping, and strategically placed flowers will go a long way toward beautifying your property and making your tenants feel more at home. Use a few of these 10 tips to design a low-maintenance garden around your property that will stun your neighbors:
1. Learn about xeriscaping.
Xeriscaping refers to the practice of designing your landscape to minimize water usage. Depending on design preferences and property setup, xeriscaping can be done in several ways. You can choose to plant drought-resistant greenery and make sure to group plants with similar water needs together. Some property owners incorporate mulch or even hard surfaces to cover unused areas that otherwise sap moisture from your intended plants. Xeriscaping can include lots of hearty succulents, but plenty of other types of plants and trees are also drought-resistant and may be well-adapted for your local climate.
2. Default to native species.
It’s no surprise that native plants and trees tend to be lower maintenance than non-regional and exotic species. Trees and greenery from the area are already accustomed to your climate zone and weather patterns, requiring less regular upkeep to stay healthy in their native habitat. With a little research, you can beautify your property with a variety of native plants and trees that complement each other both aesthetically and symbiotically without putting in a lot of effort.
Many areas have instituted programs to help local residents take on their own ‘smart-scaping’ projects incorporating native and low-maintenance plants, such as the Grow Green initiative by the City of Austin in Texas.
3. Think evergreen.
The bulk of labor in landscaping should be at the beginning of the process, when you are initially putting in all your new greenery. Choosing to include perennial flowers that bloom year after year instead of annuals that require regular replanting in your landscaping will save you a lot of maintenance work later on. Planting evergreen trees like conifers and tropical hardwoods can also help, providing a constant source of green and shade throughout the year.
4. Make mulch your new best friend.
There’s no need to cover every inch of your outdoor space in grass or plants. Your plants require some space to be able to grow. Space out your plants appropriately and fill the remaining negative space with mulch or a barrier cloth. This will help lock in moisture and prevent weeds from growing. You can use these methods to carve out entire patterns in your landscaping or create paths throughout your property with minor maintenance required.
5. Plant flowers, strategically.
Flowering and ornamental plants often require more upkeep than evergreen trees and plants. Maximize your landscaping efforts by purposefully placing flowers and appealing greenery at the most commonly seen spots on your property while using more resilient plants liberally. Consider placing flowers at your building’s entryways, office building, and near amenities like the clubhouse or pool. Strategically limiting your usage will make it easier to maintain your landscape design in the long term.
Smart landscaping that incorporates low-maintenance options like drought-resistant plants, xeriscaping, and strategically placed flowers will go a long way toward beautifying your property and making your tenants feel more at home.
6. Consider grass alternatives.
Depending on where you live, keeping a lush lawn usually requires a significant amount of watering and sometimes other types of maintenance. Instead of planting grass, consider using a grass alternative that requires less watering and other resources. In northern areas like Illinois, winter-resistant plants like pussytoes and wild ginger can provide beautiful ground coverage. If you live in a humid region, moss can be a great option for a full, unique lawn alternative. In states like Texas in the south, gardeners lean on evergreen plants like creeping mazus and clover fields.
7. Look into artificial turf.
Artificial turf can be as eye-dazzling as any natural lawn, if done right. Consider using artificial turf in various parts of your outdoor area to complement the more time-consuming plants and trees that you are happy to dedicate your resources to. Artificial turf needs some regular maintenance to repair any torn or worn out areas, but much less than what a plant-based lawn requires. You can choose from three main types of artificial turf material, each with its own set of pros and cons: polypropylene, polyethylene, and nylon.
8. Remember that rocks are part of nature too.
Landscaping isn’t only about greenery. Rocks and stones are a wonderful way to structure your outdoor area in a natural way that requires almost no maintenance. Incorporating rocks into your landscape design will enable you to highlight various areas or trails and help retain the shape and moisture levels of your garden. Choosing rocks and stones sourced from your local area is a low-cost option that can add further detail to native landscaping designs.
9. Lay the groundwork with hardscaping.
Your landscaping design can incorporate different types of hardscaping elements to add more form to your outdoor space and recreational options for your tenants. If you have envisioned people meandering through your gardens from amenity to amenity, consider installing a concrete or other hard path to literally cement that trail into the landscape. You could also lay out areas for calm and meditative sitting or festive BBQs, all interspersed with various greenery. Stone landscaping elements need almost no regular maintenance.
10. Keep colors in mind.
Because your outdoor area will play such an important part in how people view and remember your property, don’t skimp on the overall aesthetics. Imagine how the colors of your intended landscape design will complement one another across every season of the year. If possible, you may want to intermix deciduous and evergreen trees and plants to ensure that your garden always has some life to it.
When choosing your flowers and fruiting trees, keep an image in mind of how the blooming tree will look nearby your buildings and other greenery. Chicago has been lauded for some of its brown color schemes at the Botanic Garden and the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park.
Start planning your low-maintenance garden today
Your landscaping can look postcard-perfect all year long with the use of low-maintenance design options and some clever planning at the beginning. Planting native, drought-resistant plants, and trees while strategically placing your green gems at the most visible points of your property will beautify your land without adding a ton of extra maintenance labor. Use these tips to put in a little extra landscaping work now to save yourself a lot of time and energy later.
About Draper and Kramer
All of Draper and Kramer’s luxury buildings were designed with appealing and tasteful landscaping in mind. To learn more about Draper and Kramer’s portfolio of luxury properties, or to schedule a virtual tour of any of the properties, visit draperandkramer.com.