With increasingly busy lives, Toronto homeowners have less and less time to take proper care of their homes. Because of this, homeowners have begun looking for more and more schedule-friendly choices for a number of things for the house. This is no different for the landscaping of their homes. Landscaping is the first and foremost thing that people see. It’s what gives guests and passers-by a first impression into the property. As such, homeowners need to stay on top of caring for their landscaping. But with less free time in the week, people are looking into more low maintenance landscaping options that can preserve the aesthetics of their landscape while costing as little time and effort as possible to keep up with.
For homeowners, landscaping maintenance means 2 things: lawn and plant care, and water consumption. The first takes up a lot of time, while the second costs homeowners a lot of money. Reducing both of these factors then is what’s most important when looking for low-maintenance landscaping options.
The best way to cut down on both water consumption and plant care is by making use of stonework as a focus of your landscaping design. Stones require zero maintenance and once in place, will stay intact for years and years. There are also a large variety of landscaping stones available in the market. The following are just some of the uses for stonework. The more stonework makes up your landscaping project means the less greenery you need to take care of.
Creating stone pathways between the different sections of your front and backyard is an easy way to create low-maintenance space in your landscaping. Bricks, concrete pavers, and flagstones can all be used to create these paths and each of them provides their own look that you can match with the aesthetics of your landscape. Not only can stone interlocking be used for pathways but they can also be considered as flooring for your outdoor patios, used as lining for the edges of your outdoor pool, as well as provide a pleasing look to your driveway. Check our article on the different material choices available for patios for more information.
If you’re looking for a low maintenance centerpiece for your landscaping design, then using a rock formation is definitely the way to go. A large stone piece surrounded by smaller pieces on a bed of river or lava rocks is a perfect way to catch the eye of guests provide a focal point for the rest of your landscaping to work around. It’s up to what what you’d like to use for the focus. Whether it’s a stone statue or a large piece of natural granite or sandstone, each type of stone has a specific shade and shape. Meaning that you’ll have a nearly endless amount of choices; one of which will definitely suit your tastes.
Alternatively, you can also use stonework to create a water feature that is sure to impress your guests. This type of stoneworking is definitely more expensive, because you’ll need to install the proper piping, and ensure that the pipes are properly drained before the winter comes. There’s also the fact that such a feature still consumes a considerable amount of water. However, if you’re looking for low-maintenance landscaping pieces, the occasional upkeep required for a water feature may be worth it for the beauty it can add to your landscaping.
The Importance of Balance
While the extremely low maintenance cost of using stonework for your landscaping project is tempting, it’s important to keep balance in mind. A landscape made entire of just stonework will look barren and lacking. You’ll need a bit of color in order to provide contrast to all the different shades of grey and tan that your stonework provides.
Foliage and Greenery
Foliage brings color and personality to your landscape. Having a pleasant mix of greens, reds, purples, and yellows will make your front and backyards pop. However, not all plants are the best for your landscape if what you’re looking for is low-maintenance. Some varieties of plants may need a lot of maintenance and constant care in order to keep looking their best. These are the types of plants you’d want to avoid. For the types of plants you do want however, the following are a few tips:
Using Native Plants
The best choice for plants to use in your landscaping are the ones that already grow in the area. Native plants are already accustomed to the area as they have already adapted to the environmental conditions surrounding it long before humans even set foot here. In the Toronto area these plants include wild geraniums, and fairybells in the spring; turtleheads and cardinals for the summer; and stiff goldenrod and woodland sunflowers for the fall. The City of Toronto has a list of native plants that are perfect as garden flower options. Some of these are also hosts to butterflies which can add a bit more beauty to your landscaping during the summer. Native plants are also more used to the pests and parasites native to the area and so won’t need constant care with pesticides.
Perennials are seasonal plants that die off at the end of their season but remain dormant under the ground for the next year. These plants last for years and require little in terms of watering. Only requiring care for the few weeks to months it takes for them to establish in your garden. After that it’s all smooth sailing. Being seasonal plants like echinacea and peonies, you’ll have to make sure that your landscape has a good variety so that you’ll have color all throughout the year. It’s important that you take care of your flower beds by removing the spent stems and bushes between season to prevent any parasites or insect eggs from returning the following season however.
You’ll read elsewhere that evergreens are great for providing accents to your landscaping. This is true, but it’s also true that most evergreens do not need much maintenance either. Trees like spruce and pines stay green all year round, providing color to break up in the bright white winter months. Some evergreens like hollies also grow berries that provide a festive splash of red during the winter months as well, provided you have both male and female plants to facilitate their growth
A good way to provide foliage to your landscaping while being as low maintenance as possible is to use pots to grow your plants. This is perfect for landscapes that want as much area as possible available to entertain guests. A clear advantage pots have is that they are moveable. You’re free to change the layout of your plants as you see fit throughout the year. Another advantage to potting your plants is that your maintenance is smaller. If you need to prune one of your plants you don’t have to prune an entire hedge. Just that single pot. It’s important to keep in mind that transferring pots is a possibility in the future when they start cracking or breaking.
Using mulch to surround your trees and flower beds is one of the most effective ways you can cut down on landscaping maintenance. Mulch retains moisture meaning that watering can be spaced further apart as the plants will have something to draw water from for longer periods. It can also prevent weeds, which can sap water and nutrients from your plants if left unattended.
Lawn mulch can be either organic, like dry bark or compost; or inorganic like pebbles or gravel or granite. Organic mulches can add fertility to your soil by decomposing and you will need to apply a new batch of mulch periodically. Inorganic mulch like stones will stay for years and won’t need any maintenance but won’t add to the fertility of your soil.
If you’re looking to design a beautiful landscape for your home that’s both easy on the eyes and low-maintenance, speak with the expert team at M.E. Contracting. With our years of extensive experience in landscaping design, pool installation, deck construction, interlocking, stonework and woodworking, we can work closely with you in order to build the perfect outdoor space for your home. Call us now at (416) 238-6700 to speak with us for a free estimate on your project!