Are you dreaming about getting out of town for summer vacation, but don’t want to neglect your yard? You’re not alone. After putting major effort into spring landscaping, most people like to turn to other activities for the summer. Unless you have a low-maintenance yard, it may require more work than you like.
Although every landscape requires some maintenance, here are five ways you can reduce your yard work:
- Prevent weeds. Pulling weeds for hours when you could be taking a trip to the mountains is a major drag. Weeds become a problem in areas of bare soil and unplanted gravel. Eliminate areas of bare soil and weedy gravel in your yard by installing something purposeful, like a patio, plant bed or low-maintenance grass. A visit to ourWater Wise Demonstration Garden can give you lots of ideas. For areas of gravel you plan to keep, mark your calendar to apply weed preventer next year. March 1 and May 1 are the ideal dates for the Pikes Peak region.
- Cut back on mowing. While traditional lawns have amazing traffic-tolerance, they also require weekly mowing. Considering changing to a grass that you can mow less often. Buffalo grass, for example, only needs to be mowed three to four times during the entire summer. Other options include fine fescue, blue grama and native grass mixes. Read our grass comparison fact sheet or visit the Water Wise Demonstration Garden to learn more.
- Choose low-maintenance plants. While plant beds look like a lot of work, they need less care than lawns, if planned correctly. Choose low-maintenance perennial flowers, ornamental grasses and shrubs that thrive in the Pikes Peak area. Visit waterwiseplants.org and use the “Low maintenance” filter under the “Features” heading to learn about our recommendations that only need to be cut back once per year.
- Add spreading plants. If you need to cover large areas of your landscape and don’t want to use grass, consider adding spreading plants. These are low-growing shrubs and groundcovers that fill in over time. They’re great for big lots and hillsides. We’ve listed our favorites at waterwiseplants.org under the “Suitable for groundcover” filter under the “Features” heading.
- Embrace wood chip mulch. Covering bare soil between plants is a must to prevent weeds. While gravel creates an attractive southwest look, weeds will germinate easily between plants and create more work. Wood chips, bark or shredded wood are much better at suppressing weeds if you keep the mulch layer three to four inches thick. If you’re looking to cut back on your yard work, use more wood mulch in your plant beds, under trees and in unplanted areas. Use gravel to cover only 30 percent or less of your landscape. Plan to replenish your wood mulch layer each spring to save time throughout the summer. Check out our mulch fact sheet to learn more.
It is possible to create a yard that looks great and doesn’t requires hours of maintenance. While there’s no way to eliminate yard work, implementing these five strategies over time can help you create a landscape you love that fits your lifestyle.