Designing a Low-Maintenance Yard

Moving from an apartment or condo into a home with a substantial yard is a dream held by many Tennesseans. However, unless your dreams of homeownership include spending countless hours every week tending to your yard, consider designing a low-maintenance landscape. We’ve curated the following nine tips to get your new outdoor space growing.


1.) Choose Hardy Plants that Thrive in Middle TN

Before you plant anything new, consult with a locally owned garden center. Share your yard’s orientation with the sun, level of shade, soil type, your level of experience gardening, and how much time you want to spend on yard care. The knowledgeable staff will be able to suggest easy to care for plants that will naturally flourish in our region.


2.) Reduce the Size of Your Planting Zones

Rather than planting in every possible nook and cranny of your yard, focus on adding pops of color and layers of texture in the most high-impact areas. Spend time looking out of your yard-facing windows and consider where you most want to see plants from indoors. Next, head outdoors to ascertain which areas will be most visible when you’re spending time relaxing outside. These zones, once planted, will create a lush impression visually without overloading you with excessive weeding, mulching, and mowing responsibilities.


3.) Rethink Your Lawn

Having a lush lawn requires immense amounts of water, and a substantial commitment of time doing reseeding, fertilizing, mowing, edging, and weeding. If your lawn is a non-negotiable part of homeownership for you, you can always hire a lawn care company if you don’t wish to do these tasks alone.

Alternatively, you can reduce your lawn’s size, replace it with a native ground-covering plant, or swap it out for stone paths that meander through your hardy plants.


4.) Expand Your Outdoor Living Zones

One of the best things about having a backyard is entertaining friends and family. By expanding any existing outdoor dining spaces, installing a fire pit, and creating multiple seating zones throughout the yard, you’ll simultaneously make your yard more inviting, practical, and lower maintenance. Other than renting a power washer once annually and keeping up with the recommended sealing schedule, your hard outdoor surfaces will be entirely no-maintenance throughout the year.


5.) Trade Flower Beds for Shrubs

Seasonal flower beds are pretty, but in order to stay looking their best, they require weeding, watering, planting, and staking. You may want to keep a flower bed or two, but if your new home has a bevy of beds awaiting your care, consider swapping a portion of them out for shrubbery. While you’re at the garden center, ask about the shrubs that will do best in your yard. You’re likely going to be enticed by the sheer variety of shades and shapes of shrubbery available in our plant-friendly climate zone.


6.) Swap Annuals for Perennials

In the flower beds you choose to keep, plant sturdy perennials to make your spring and summer yard work a simpler, less costly task. Once planted, these hardy blooms will return year after year, keep their color for months, and need only strategic pruning once per year. If you love watching busy bees and butterflies, plant species that invite these pollinators. Once they realize that your yard is a great spot, you’ll see them return every spring when your perennials burst into bloom.


7.) Embrace Mulch

Though mulching can be a labor-intensive process at first, it’s one of the best ways to cut back on the time you’ll spend weeding, watering, and feeding your soil over time. Once spread, mulch instantly elevates your yard’s appearance, which will likely boost your confidence and enjoyment of your yard.


8.) Give Some of Your Yard Back to the Wild

If your yard stretches off away from your home, especially deep into shade, consider whether you’d be willing to see what happens if controlled portions of your yard were left to the whims of nature. Mature trees leave a natural mulch every fall, Tennessee’s own plants will naturally thrive, and small fauna species are likely to make appearances throughout the year. This approach can be informative for small children, and enjoyable for nature lovers of all ages.


9.) Keep Water Features Small and Simple

There’s no denying the appeal of a koi pond but maintaining a large pond or water feature is no picnic. Still, you don’t have to give up on the idea of incorporating a water feature altogether. Choose a design that is a breeze to clean, like a recirculating fountain or simple birdbath. The sound of water over stone is relaxing to most of us, and the sight of birds splashing happily is a joy—clearly, there are excellent reasons to make sure your yard features a fountain.


When you purchased your first home, did you make tough decisions regarding how to make your landscaping low-maintenance? Or, if you’re currently searching for a new home, is this aspect of homeownership something you’re thinking about as you tour properties? We look forward to reading your responses in the comments.


* Specific loan program availability and requirements may vary. Please get in touch with the mortgage advisor for more information.