Low Maintenance Landscaping Ideas for Busy Florida Homeowners

  • By: Cheli Scott
  • Date: Jan 25 2023

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Low maintenance landscaping ideas for busy Florida homeowners

We are all busy with our hectic lives, so low maintenance landscaping is the ideal way to have a beautiful yard without having to spend hours of hard work keeping it up.

Low maintenance landscaping ideas work for gardens of any size, from small patios to large backyards. With a bit of research you can create an environmentally friendly, low maintenance garden to enjoy with your family.

Can I have a low maintenance garden in Florida?

No matter what size your yard, there are things you can do to keep your yard low maintenance. Choosing the right plants and following a simple maintenance schedule can help reduce yard work considerably, preventing problems before they start.

One important thing to consider is to manage your expectations. If you are lusting after a massive, weed free green lawn with no work, it’s probably not going to happen without professional help.

However, there are lots of low maintenance landscaping ideas you can incorporate to create a beautiful yard that raises your property values.

hands rolling out landscaping sod

What adds steps to your yard maintenance?

Essentially, failure to properly research when you start planning your garden is going to add a lot of maintenance hours. You want to plan your outdoor living space with maintenance in mind. Will the plants you choose require a lot of watering, mowing and pruning, or cleaning up leaf litter?

Golf course looking lawns with non-native grasses require considerable mowing, irrigation, fertilizing and aeration. Growing plants and grasses that require heavy watering and aren’t cultivated for the type of soil you have in your yard will multiply the hours you have to spend on your garden fertilizing and diagnosing growth problems.

Additionally, picking virulent growers or trees and shrubs sized too large for your space will force you to prune often to keep them sized appropriately. Trees that drop leaves and fruit will require time cleaning up yard waste.

Take careful consideration and consider talking to a local expert when choosing plants. Go for drought tolerant native varieties. The University of Florida has an online guide with lots of detailed information on landscaping plants to help you choose.

a riding mower doing lawn maintenance

Lean in to your hardscape elements

If you don’t want to fuss with watering or too much digging in the dirt, consider installing a clean, appealing hardscape to shape your outdoor living space.

Filling your area with hardscape and planters reduces the amount of actual gardening you have to do. You can fill the small green spaces you’ve quartered off with low maintenance, evergreen perennials to create a lush look that stays green year round.

Adding water features, garden decorative stone, and furniture will all work together to create a beautiful space and limit your time gardening. If you are overwhelmed with the options available try speaking to a professional, experienced in landscape design. They will be up to date on the latest trends and best practices to get you started.

A pretty low maintenance landscape with lots of hardscape

Consider artificial grass

Artificial turf is not for everybody, but it can be useful and very attractive in low maintenance landscaping. Artificial grass can be used in large pieces or in small areas to supplement natural elements. Modern artificial turf looks natural, is durable, and can be relatively inexpensive.

It is a great solution for pet owners who find their dogs tear up their lawn space, making it a dirty mess.

Choose an artificial turf with UV protection to help it stand up to Florida sun and consider a professional installation. Artificial turf is an investment that can last a long time if installed properly. Pick a natural green color with darker and lighter fibers mixed in for the most realistic look.

Artificial turf is easy to maintain, you simply need to sweep it with a broom to reset the fibers if they flatten and hose it down occasionally to prevent stains.

a closeup of artificial grass

The power of native plants

Native plants aren’t just a buzzword in gardening magazines. They really lower your yard maintenance because they naturally grow like weeds wherever you are!

If you choose plants that are native to your area you water less and need to do much less to your soil to make it suitable for your plants success. They require minimal effort to keep up and deter weed growth. Choosing native grass is especially important if you want less work. Drought tolerant plants will help you avoid using more water to keep your lawn beautiful.

a low maintenance garden in key west

Low maintenance trees

To help trees stay low maintenance be sure to mulch seasonally to add nutrients to the soil and retain moisture. To save time be sure to pick dwarf tree varieties if you are planting in a small space. Many professional gardeners suggest that most home owners should choose a dwarf variety as doing so will greatly decrease the amount of pruning you have to do or pay someone to do.

Live Oak

These beautiful trees are native to Florida and require very little maintenance except that they need plenty of space to grow. Live Oaks make beautiful shade trees and require much less water than other trees, meaning they are drought tolerant plants.

A path lined with live oaks

Sabal Palm

These tall, iconic palms grow well all throughout Florida. They are actually edible and sometimes referred to as “cabbage palms”. In most cases Sabal palms don’t need any pruning at all and they create habitats for a number of native birds and other animals. If you are interested in a tall, statement plant this might be an interesting option for you.

low maintenance sabal palm

Low maintenance shrubs

Just as with trees, mulch around the base of shrubs will help reduce moisture loss so you have to water less. Mulch also adds nutrients to the soil that will break down over the winter, giving your shrubs a boost in the spring for new growth.

Southern Wax Myrtle

This evergreen shrub has both dwarf and large varieties available for whatever size space you have. Southern wax myrtle has a pleasant smell and was traditionally used in wax making. Even if you don’t want to make candles, the aromatic, attractive green foliage makes an ideal privacy or wind screen.

low maintenance shrub leaves

American Beautyberry

If you want to attract birds to your yard American beautyberry is an excellent choice. The bright purple berries are an added bonus, bringing color to your more dull garden in fall and winter. Fertilizing these shrubs may reduce the number of berries they produce so is not recommended unless necessary. American beautyberry is also known to deter insects.

american beautyberry low maintenance plant

Low maintenance flowers

Flowers and garden beds are associated with a lot of upkeep and require hours of weeding and pruning to keep looking nice. However, many native plants require very little upkeep. Low maintenance plants like Powderpuff mimosa and Marsh hibiscus have some of the most stunning flowers around, but are very simple to grow.

Powderpuff Mimosa

This quirky plants are great if you want something more exotic than the traditional blossom. It can also be used as an excellent ground cover, growing low. Mimosa spreads quickly, with delicate green leaves and pretty puff ball flowers from spring to fall. Powderpuff Mimosa handles traffic better than other ground cover plants and comes back annually.

powderpuff mimosa low maintenance plant

Marsh Hibiscus

If you have a wet spot in your yard, Marsh hibiscus is a good candidate for swampy areas. It enjoys wet conditions and full sun. This lovely flower attracts pollinators from July to September with continuously blooming flowers.

swamp hibiscus low maintenance plant

Low maintenance alternative ground cover

There are many alternatives to a grass lawn. Often, alternative ground cover plants that give your yard a more natural, but still green look, are great options if you want less upkeep and lawn care. Good ground cover should be perennial or return annually so you don’t have to reseed each year.

Asiatic Jasmine

This tightly growing ground cover is excellent for weed growth, quickly forming a thick blanket of dark green leaves. Asiatic Jasmine doesn’t need any help to make it grow vigorously in full sun or shady areas. It works great as an edging plant or to cover certain areas of bare dirt.

asiatic jasmine

Beach Sunflower

This beautiful yellow perennial makes a delightful ground cover. It blooms year long and will quickly grow to around four feet. Beach sunflowers do well in most of the state and don’t respond to fertilization well, so it is recommended you only opt to feed them once a year.

beach sunflower

Incorporating a landscaping service into your maintenance routine

If you just can’t resist high maintenance landscaping designs it might be a good idea to enlist some help. A professional landscaping service will save you hours of hard work. Take some time to contact a professional like the ones at bhild.com for help with landscaping maintenance projects. Call us today, or fill out our form here for a free estimate on lawn services!

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