How to Make Your Front Yard Low-Maintenance

Not everyone has extra time to spend taking care of their front yard. While outdoor spaces are important, it’s easy to let yard upkeep fall by the wayside. Luckily there are lots of things you can do to make your yard attractive and inviting without spending hours working on it every week. Here are some of the best tips for creating and maintaining a low-maintenance front yard:

Always Research Your Plant Choices Beforehand

Grass lawns are notorious for requiring time and effort to maintain, but other plants can be just as bad. It’s easy to plant a lot of beautiful flowers and shrubs only to find that it’s a full-time job to keep them alive and looking good. The best way to avoid this is to research and plan your plant choices before you buy.

Some things to consider when looking for plants include:

  • Climate Zones – Most plants are labeled according to their respective USDA Hardiness Zones. You can use this information to make sure your choices of plants have a chance of surviving in your climate. While it’s possible to grow plants outside of your zone, it’s definitely not an effortless task. Choosing plants for your zone will keep your workload smaller.

  • Compatible Needs – It’s important to stick with plants that need similar amounts of sunlight and water. This will save you time and potential frustration over patches of your yard perishing in the heat while others thrive. For example, if you have lots of shade in your yard, group shade-loving plants together rather than mix in those requiring lots of sun.

  • Upkeep Requirements – Some plants simply require more attention than others. Many flowers need pruning and dead-heading every week during the growing season in order to stay beautiful and fresh. It might not sound like much, but that time can add up especially if you have a lot of plants to take care of.

Plant Perennials Wherever Possible

Perennials are plants that go dormant in the winter and spring back to life every year when the weather gets warmer. All perennials have slightly different growing seasons, so you can plan strategically to stagger them and always have some color in the yard. Perennials will save you a lot of time and money—you only need to buy and plant them once for years worth of foliage or blooms. Hardy perennial flowers like coneflower, geranium and chrysanthemums are excellent choices for low-maintenance color in your front yard.

Don’t Forget Mulch

Mulching your yard will keep your plants healthy and keep your work to a minimum. Mulch has several different benefits, primarily helping the soil maintain the right moisture and temperature levels. It also deters pests from preying on your plants and also keeps weeds from growing. Weed-prevention alone is a huge time-saver, but you’ll find that with proper mulch application you won’t need to water as frequently or worry about many common pests.

These are some basic guidelines to help you create and keep a low-maintenance front yard that still looks healthy and beautiful. As long as you stick to these tips and do your research you’ll be able to save time and money while having the best looking yard in the neighborhood.

DIY Guide: Stepping Stones for Your Garden

Stepping stones are a perfect alternative to traditional garden paths. For small spaces or for a more rustic look, stepping stones can liven up a space while providing helpful functionality. There are many styles of stepping stone, such as those made from flagstone or concrete pavers. However, pebble stepping stones are a fun and creative addition to any yard or garden. The best thing about them is that they’re simple to make yourself. Here we’ll go over how to make your very own stepping stones.

Materials

Smooth stones or pebbles
Mortar

Equipment

Paintbrush
Rubber mallet
12×12 inch concrete mold
Protective gloves

Process

  1. Fill the mold with dry mortar, leaving about 1/3 inch at the top.

  2. Level the mortar either by hand or a small float, smooth out the mortar into an even surface. Use protective equipment to avoid skin burn or irritation from the mortar.

  3. Begin arranging the stones by nestling them into the dry mortar. Place them so they are snug against one another and stand up without tipping over.

  4. Because the mortar is still dry, you don’t have to worry about planning a design ahead of time. You can change stone placement as much as you need to make the perfect pattern.

  5. Once the stones are where you want them, use the rubber mallet to tamp them down. Try to make them level with the top of the mold. You can use a piece of wood, a ruler or any other flat object to test the level.

  6. Use the paintbrush to dust off the surface of the stones to remove any extra dry mortar.

  7. Slowly add water to the mortar using a spray attachment on a hose. Keep the water pressure low so that it does not send stones and mortar flying. Plan to do several light rounds of watering rather than drenching the mold.

  8. To test the moisture, use the mallet to tap on the stones. Watch for bubbles to appear or excess water to drain out when you tap the stones—this is your cue to stop watering.

  9. Take your thoroughly damp stepping stone mold to a covered but well-ventilated spot. The mortar will need to cure and harden for at least 48 hours before your stepping stone will be ready to use.

  10. The stepping stone should be hardened and cured after two days. Carefully remove the mold and wash away any loose mortar with water and a paintbrush.

Now you have a beautiful custom stepping stone for your garden. Repeat the process to make an entire path or keep them as standalone points of interest in your landscaping.

Conserve water with these gardening ideas

If you’re trying to find eco-friendly gardening ideas, the best place to start is with water conservation. Recycling and reducing your water use in the garden is simpler than you might think, too. Here are some ideas for DIY garden projects to help you save water:

Go with ground covers

Grass lawns are a major source of water waste and require a ton of maintenance. Instead of a grass lawn, consider using ground-cover plants for any exposed areas of your garden. Stonecrop is one of the best options for low-water usage ground cover, since it’s a succulent with a natural spreading growth pattern.

Build a dry stream

A dry stream built out of smooth river rocks makes a beautiful statement in any garden. For a fun DIY garden project, dig a shallow channel to naturally divert excess moisture to the plants that need it most. The rocks will form a natural filtration system and create a charming desert oasis aesthetic.

Opt for drought-tolerant plants

You can still have garden beds full of diverse and colorful plants while still saving water. The key is to choose drought-tolerant plants that can go longer periods of time without being watered.

Some beautiful ideas for raised garden beds are shrubs like butterfly bush, red bird of paradise and bougainvillea. Prefer succulents and cacti? Create a garden bed or vertical garden full of colorful succulents in a plethora of colors, shapes and growth patterns.

Try a rock garden

Rock gardens are another beautiful way to decorate an outdoor living space without adding extra need for water. Rock garden designs range from sparse to elaborate, and can be both artistic and natural in appearance. Create an area of the garden with different sizes and types of stone planted with drought-tolerant ground cover crops for an eco-friendly DIY garden project.

Collect with rain barrels

If you live somewhere with frequent rainfall, it might seem like saving water isn’t as important. However, using rain barrels to collect extra rainwater for later use is a more sustainable practice than turning on the hose every time, which costs you money. You can create budget friendly DIY rain barrels out of basic materials, or check out the offerings from your local garden center.

By using any of these garden projects to conserve water, you’ll experience the benefits of a lower water bill and the peace of mind knowing you’ve reduced the amount of wasted water – and time spent on labor – in your garden.