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The Vandenberg Blog

What Makes a Landscape Low-Maintenance?

Like beauty, it really is in the eye of the beholder

Every conversation we have with new clients before we begin planning their new landscape starts with “I want it to be low-maintenance.” Now, this sounds like a reasonable request, but it’s really not that simple. 

Some people think having a great expanse of lawn is low-maintenance, while others shudder at the thought of having to mow it every week. That’s why the next question we ask is, “Why do you want a low-maintenance landscape… and what does that mean to you?”

Most people will crack a joke about not wanting to weed, but a truly low-maintenance landscape looks different for everyone. There really is no such thing as a no-maintenance yard… it really comes down to you and the type of maintenance work you can tolerate. As crazy as it sounds, I even know someone who likes to weed! 

That being said, there are a few things that will help reduce the amount of time you spend working in your yard so you can spend more time enjoying it!

backyard with patio

Our process always starts with “Why”

“Why?” is the most important question we ask our clients and the first step in our process. It’s really the only way we get to know you and what it is you value in life. 

So when you’re in the preliminary stages of planning a new landscape, you need to sit down and think seriously about the type of tasks you’re willing to do to maintain your property. 

Of course, you could always have someone maintain it for you, which makes this decision much easier! 

backyard  patio with pergola

For those who hate to mow…

If mowing your lawn isn’t your idea of fun, your plan should include plenty of patio space. 

Patios are a great way to extend your living areas into the outdoors and give you ample space for entertaining. 

When choosing which materials to use for your patio, each type has pros and cons, so go for the one that will give you the most joy. 

Stamped concrete, for example, is beautiful, long-lasting and easy to clean… but it needs to be sealed every year or two to keep that gorgeous colour.  

For those who really hate to mow…

If mowing really isn’t your thing, you can always have synthetic turf professionally installed. This is important because poorly installed turf is as obvious as a bad toupée and definitely not the look you’re going for. 

Artificial turf is especially effective around patios, pools and other areas where mowing might be awkward and difficult.

bushes in garden

A planting plan is crucial for low-maintenance landscapes…

We’ve all seen gardens that look overgrown and unkempt, even after just a few years, while other gardens seem to always look great. Is it because the homeowners with messy gardens are lazy? 

Of course not! Usually, it’s a situation where the wrong plants were used — they either don’t get big enough to fill the space (which will happily be filled by weeds) or they get too big and take over the entire garden.

Low-maintenance gardens start with a comprehensive planting plan. This determines where each plant should go based on it’s size, form, colour and texture. It should also take into account:

  • The type and condition of your soil
  • The amount of sunlight the plants will receive
  • The plants that are best adapted to the local climate. 

You might automatically assume that perennials are easier than annuals because they don’t have to be planted every year, too.  But they do need to be pruned and divided regularly to maintain their shape and health. 

We’ve written previous posts about choosing the best annuals and best perennials for the lower mainland if you’re looking for more detailed information and tips from our horticulture team.

lounge chairs

Manage your expectations 

Another factor that determines how much time and effort you need to maintain your landscape is the expectations you have for your yard. 

A lawn with a bit of moss and a few stray weeds is far easier to maintain than a fancy golf-green lawn. It all comes down to the law of diminishing returns… is the time, effort and expense you put into maintaining “perfect” lawn and gardens worth it? Does it really need to be pristine? 

The current trend is to move away from perfection to create a “green” atmosphere that more closely resembles nature. In fact, it is often the small imperfections that give a landscape its beauty and character.

Your new landscape will be as maintenance-free as you want it to be

At Vandenberg landscapes, we’re interested in creating a landscape that’s just right for you. Not your neighbours. Not the guy down the street. And certainly not like any of the other landscapes we’ve created for other people. 

If you’d like help designing a landscape that matches your idea of “maintenance-free”, schedule a consultation, send us an email or just give us a call. 

We’ll help you figure out what maintenance-free looks like to you.

Written by  Trent Brown