Creating Low-Maintenance Landscaping for All Seasons

Written by Ryan Houston of Lawn-N-Order Landscaping
Updated September 28, 2015
Home with landscaping featuring boulders, evergreens and flowers.
Mountain boulders harvested locally, along with plantings that can stand the test of time, were added to this low-maintenance mountain landscape.
Photo courtesy of Lawn-N-Order Landscaping

Learn how a homeowner who often travels now enjoys a landscaping design that largely maintains itself.

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With so many demands on their time, many homeowners may prefer a low-maintenance landscaping plan. But what about a no-maintenance landscape?

A landscape design for the world traveler​

Asheville, N.C., is a mecca for empty nesters and retirees, due to its mild climate and the natural beauty of the mountains. Our challenge was to design a landscape plan for a client who had built her mountain home, but who enjoyed traveling the world. She only planned to live in the home for part of the year.

The solution: Design a low-maintenance “plant and grow” garden, one that can maintain its beauty by relying on seasonal rain.

Garden ideas for landscape irrigation

Managing rainwater was a top concern for this homeowner’s low-maintenance landscape plan. Because two dysfunctional downspouts were dumping water 8 feet from the house and saturating the lawn, rerouting the drainage to a dry river rock bed and drain basins was a top priority.

The goal: Establish storm water flow throughout the property in preparation for landscaping.

Due to the sod and soil on top of it, a trench along the back garden bed, where French drain had been installed, wasn’t functioning properly.

We uncovered the entire length of the drain, dug deeper and lined it with landscape fabric.

Landscaping rocks add a natural vibe

To add that mountain feel and native look, we used river stone to mimic a dry river rock bed and to hide the drain basins.

The water permeated the river stones if there was a heavy flow and was routed to the drain basins on either end of the river stone bed. The homebuilder had routed the downspouts into neighbor’s yards. So underground drainage had to be uplifted and rerouted around the entire perimeter of the foundation to the back portion of the home and over the steep hillside, digging down some 4 feet. 

A landscaping design for a mountain view

Because the homeowner wanted to sit in the privacy of the backyard and admire the mountain view, the landscape plan included installing a tiled back patio. For a better view, we replaced some trees with junipers and ground covers. These will smother invasive growth and weeds in the area, leaving a place where her dogs can safely play. 

Some low-maintenance gardening ideas

With extra topsoil left from digging, we created raised beds, planting Japanese maple and a Scotch pine topiary, as well as plants native to the area and suited to the climate, based on the homeowner’s preferences.

To continue the indigenous theme, we had 10 tons of locally harvested mountain stone boulders delivered, and placed strategically to accent their form while lending foundational anchors to the landscape. Our low-maintenance landscaping plan included specimen conifers and perennials, placed as if they had grown around boulders original to the landscape.

Sometimes landscaping design involves starting from scratch and creating something from nothing. Other times you deal with existing features and issues. In this case,  we were able to work with the homeowner and address some drainage problems to create a relaxing, low-maintenance landscape. Her mountain retreat now features a beautiful plethora of four-seasons plantings that are virtually carefree and look great from spring to winter.

About this Experts Contributor: Ryan Houston, owner of Lawn-N-Order Landscaping in Weaverville, N.C., is a North Carolina registered landscape contractor and plant professional with 15 years experience. He is the recipient of the 2014 Angie's List Super Service Award in seven categories. Follow this business on Google+.

As of September 29, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angi. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angi for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angi.

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