When you think about creating a gorgeous outdoor living space, chances are, you don’t think about having a space that needs a tremendous amount of lawn or landscape maintenance to keep it looking that way.
After all, you want to be able to enjoy your property, not spend a lot of time working on it—or needing to have it constantly worked on by a professional. You’re likely interested in a landscape that will look its best without constant care.
In fact, it could even be that you have an existing space and the amount of lawn or landscape maintenance required is becoming overwhelming and you may be looking to renovate that space to make it more low maintenance.
While a lot of people tend to think of landscape design and landscape maintenance as entirely separate entities, a low-maintenance property really does come back to the way in which it was designed.
Whether you are looking to renovate an existing space or have the opportunity to start from scratch, we’ve rounded up some effective ways that you can reduce lawn and landscape maintenance at your Bozeman or Big Sky, MT home.
1. Naturalize the Perimeter
Creating a natural landscape that features native plants arranged to mimic a naturally occurring habitat (such as a meadow) is a great way to reduce landscape maintenance.
We generally aim to do this around the perimeter, as it blends the newly created space with the existing land as seamlessly as possible. This often means using a lot of native grasses and wildflowers around the perimeter of a property.
Initially, that will mean a little bit of maintenance in order to get everything established, but with time, this type of landscaping is a low-maintenance approach as these are plant choices that naturally thrive with minimal care.
In general, we believe that choosing native plants allows developed landscapes to best coexist with nature, which is always our goal. But native plant material (once established) will also require minimal watering and have little need for synthetic products (such as pesticides) since they are adapted to local conditions.
2. Be Selective with Plant Material
Of course, it’s not just the perimeter in which you can be selective with plant material. Any gardens or plant beds that are designed should also utilize native plant material that will be naturally lower maintenance. There are many native ornamental grasses that make a great choice and only need to be cut back once a year.
Perennials also deliver a tremendous amount of value and can be very low maintenance. They are usually cut back just once a year, unless you want to keep them blooming by deadheading them an additional time.
While homeowners talk about wanting a reduction in landscape maintenance, they generally don’t want to do it at the expense of having any color or texture on their property. Perennials can be a great way to reduce maintenance while still incorporating “interest” that will make your landscape aesthetically appealing.
It’s important to note that plant selection can be a bit more complicated than a lot of people realize. For one, there is an entire element of protecting plants from animal damage, which is a common problem in our area and something we discuss in a bit more depth here.
We believe there is a balance between choosing plants that will make your landscape look great, be relatively low maintenance, and won’t attract a lot of animals onto your property that could do damage. A landscaping professional with horticultural experience will be able to guide that selection process.
3. Minimize Your Property’s Lawn Areas
When it comes to reducing lawn maintenance, the best thing you can do is to simply reduce the amount of lawn areas on your property. This is a landscape design strategy that we often use for homeowners who want to reduce the amount of mowing and lawn upkeep that their property requires to look its best.
Instead of lawn areas, you might consider hardscaped areas (using natural stone) or garden areas with native plant material.
Of course, we recognize that there are always going to be homeowners who want at least some lawn area, particularly if you have children or pets. Even with a lawn, there are ways to reduce the maintenance.
At the very least, you should consider using a different species of grasses, such as fescue blend, which does not need to be mowed every single week (as a Kentucky Bluegrass lawn would). A low-maintenance grass species won’t be as likely to die if you go on vacation and neglect it for a few weeks. It will stay relatively green with less care, therefore reducing your overall lawn maintenance responsibilities.
4. Consider the Addition of Boulders
Though it’s a form of hardscaping, boulder work is a consideration that deserves its own section as it can go a long way in reducing maintenance. In Montana, we are fortunate to have easy access to gorgeous boulders that can easily take the place of a space where a lawn or other plants might be installed. Since boulders do not need to be watered, trimmed, or cared for in any other way, these can be a great addition as they also provide a lot of aesthetic value.
However, that’s assuming that they are incorporated into the landscape in a meaningful way. A natural boulder might be beautiful but if it’s just plopped in the middle of the landscape with no real thought or attention to detail, then it could actually be an unattractive (or at least unusual) addition that adds no value.
We often incorporate boulders as part of retaining walls, for either decorative or functional purposes. They can also take up space in a plant bed area as a piece of art or a type of sculpture. Boulders add natural appeal without any added maintenance.
5. Utilize Natural Products and Solutions
When it comes to reducing landscape maintenance, the use of natural products will also go a long way. At Blanchford Landscape Group, we firmly believe that working with nature as opposed to against it is critically important. That’s because “fighting nature” always creates more maintenance work and can potentially be harmful.
So, instead of trying to introduce products and materials into your landscape that don’t naturally belong there, we try to work with things like natural mulches and the introduction of microorganisms into the soil, which will help it thrive naturally. We are also utilizing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques, which is a strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and the use of pest-resistant plant material.
At Blanchford Landscape Group this is something that we are committed to. We are constantly researching and looking at ways that we can work more closely with nature when we create and maintain landscapes. In the long-term, this definitely reduces overall maintenance.
A Word About the Myth of Maintenance-Free
Though it is certainly desirable to create a low maintenance landscape, when phrases such as “maintenance-free” or “no maintenance,” get thrown around, we find it important to point out that a landscape with zero maintenance does not exist; at least not if you want it to also look beautiful instead of overgrown and messy. Every landscape needs some maintenance work.
We also find that “low maintenance” means different things to different people so the process ultimately comes down to your expectations.
Like any other design that we perform, it’s generally a balance and the process involves tailoring it to the individual. For instance, how much color is important to you? Do you need lawn areas or can they be eliminated entirely? Can we replace any plant or grass areas with boulders?
As with anything that we create, we’ll focus on customizing it to your wants and needs, including the amount of ongoing maintenance that will be required in order to keep the space looking beautiful and functioning properly.
Choosing the Best Landscaping Company for Your Low-Maintenance, Bozeman or Big Sky MT Property
As we mentioned, creating a low maintenance landscape that you love and can still enjoy to the fullest all begins with the design process. However, it’s important to recognize that not all landscaping companies in Bozeman or Big Sky, MT offer such a comprehensive design process.
At Blanchford Landscape Group, our process is incredibly detail-oriented, which we find helps achieve the goals that we are after. But this is not how all companies do things. In fact, many landscaping companies do not give the level of care to the clients’ wants, needs, and expectations as is deserved.
This can create problems when it comes to the finished project. The last thing that you want is to tell your landscape designer that you want a low maintenance landscape and for them to make their own interpretation of what that means without considering your expectations. A successful design process takes many factors into account in order to achieve the best possible results (which will differ from client to client).
If you want low maintenance landscaping that you also love, it’s important to work with a company that takes the design process seriously. When it comes to investing in your outdoor living space, you deserve nothing less.
Are you ready to begin the process of creating a low maintenance landscape that you adore at your Bozeman or Big Sky, MT home? Let’s connect and talk about your project. Then, we can meet and begin talking about your ideas. We can’t wait for you to enjoy your beautiful (and low-maintenance) outdoor space!