Author Topic: Reduce Lawn Maintenance?  (Read 3123 times)


  • Stubble
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Reduce Lawn Maintenance?
« on: April 04, 2016, 09:28:15 AM »
We own a house with what's supposed to be fancy-ish landscaping. A path with small pebbles, a bunch of garden beds, and a walk out patio. All of it gets overgrown with weeds and should be mulched every year, round-up, etc. and I just don't want to deal with it!

Any suggestions for turning everything into maintenance free landscaping?


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Reduce Lawn Maintenance?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2016, 09:45:12 AM »
We do the au naturale all organic route...aka: the lazy home owner. But it sounds so much fancier when you say you practice organic yard care.
Some ways we do this: only fertilize the lawn about 2x a year in spring and fall with an organic fertilizer. Mow biweekly in summer and cut the blades longish to retain the green stem (too short and you lose that pretty green color, and cutting too short makes it harder for the grass to grow back and crowd out weeds). Mulch the beds every 2 years or so. Only use hardy perennials that do well year after year with little work. Obviously with this method you have to be okay with longer grass, and a few weeds in your beds.
The trouble is I dont think there is any yard that really is maintenance free unless you are okay with living in a meadow or forest. If you want it to look semi clean and put together, you have to do something. But our method really is as lazy as it gets.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 09:48:11 AM by little_brown_dog »


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Reduce Lawn Maintenance?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2016, 10:45:45 AM »
If you find a solution, please let me know.  We bought a home years ago from a couple who landscaped every square inch.  It is now 15 years later and we're still spend a lot of time and money on landscaping, gardening, etc.  You will always have weeds, even if you lay down landscaping cloth with rocks on top, the weeds will still come through.  Mulch will help some, but not thoroughly.  The weeds/grass will grow up through the spaces between patio blocks.  We have fish ponds where tree roots have come into the pipes--it's never ending.  If you budget for landscaping and enjoy gardening, that's one thing.  I do tend to enjoy being outside and working with plants, etc.  If you can get out early enough and get stuff sprayed before weeds really start popping up, that will help somewhat. 

I don't really have any suggestions because I've found that there is no such thing as maintenance free landscaping unless one is living in a condo or apartment.


  • Bristles
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Re: Reduce Lawn Maintenance?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2016, 10:56:42 AM »
Posting to follow.

The house we moved into in November has loads of space where the previous owners took out healthy chunk of lawn around the side walk and replaced it with mulch, then there's a tiered back lawn that's got a load more of rocks/mulch, but not a lot of plants or plants that don't make sense in our climate. We're trying to figure out a multi-year plan to transition some of that back to native plants and some to lawn. The bright red mulch just isn't my style and we're not interested in the upkeep on that anyways.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Reduce Lawn Maintenance?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2016, 11:01:34 AM »
Go organic.   Synthetic fertilizers are designed to turn the grass green, but once the plants pull the nitrogen out, the byproduct is often harmful to the soil and other lifeforms.  Organics treat the soil. Healthy soil, healthy plants.

Use native plants.  Tropical plants in a desert take a ton of care and feeding.  Desert plants in the north will just die.  Native plants usually use less water and need less care.

Weeds happen, you can worry or just accept.  Healthy grass and mowing before the weeds germinate will help.  I know every April my yard will be full of weeds, but by mid May after the grass wakes up from winter, the weeks die off. 

Organics might cost more the first year or two because you have to recover the micro organisms in the soil, after that it is easier and cheaper than chemicals. 

Re-purpose your flowerbeds.  I pulled out all the bushes, put down some river rock, and made a nice seating area.   In the other flowerbed, I planted herbs.  If I'm going to have to deal with plants, they might as well have a benefit. 

Or just get rid of the beds altogether.  If the grass can grow right up to the house in the backyard, why not the front too? 


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Reduce Lawn Maintenance?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2016, 05:20:27 PM »
If you have a lot of garden beds and don't like to garden the easiest thing to do is turn them back into lawn. Mowing an area the size of a garden bed takes minutes. Wedding, edging, mulching takes hours. This can be done by pulling everything out and tilling/ reseeding. Garden beds are just more work than lawns, IMO. Alternatively look for a hardy ground cover and plant it very densely. Pachysandra or ivy as an example (I personally detest ivy as it is invasive and horrible, but it will effectively choke out everything else. Keep it off your trees or it will kill them too).

I love to garden and have replaced most of my large corner lot with garden beds. It is time consuming, physically laborious, and costs a bit of money (my hobby, so justified). If you have beds you will not be able to avoid weddings and edging and mulching or you will have an overgrown mess even if you put in organic locally grown artisanal native plants.

I don't fertilize or use weed killer. Your lawns don't need it and weed killer is awful stuff for you and the environment. Blech.

(Lol at dyed red mulch. Dyed dirt.... Kills me.)

NV Teacher

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Re: Reduce Lawn Maintenance?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2016, 02:40:46 PM »
A few years ago I pulled out all the grass and went to desert landscaping.  About 10 minutes a week of walking around with the hoe to get the odd weed and it's all good.  And my water bill dropped to the lowest possible level of less than 1000 gallons a month.