Who wants to be stuck at home mowing and weeding when you could be at the beach rowing or reading? Whether you’re looking to sell, buy, or stay put, low-maintenance landscaping adds value to your home and saves you (or potential buyers) time and money.
Get ready to get your hands dirty. Let’s plant a low-maintenance garden for your Virginia Beach home.
1. DIY or Hire a Pro?
Here’s where you may want to invest in a professional landscape designer – or at least get some advice from your local nursery. A Virginia Tech study found that a polished landscape design is a key element that affects your home’s perceived value. Homebuyers look for a well-designed yard that they won’t have to spend hours working on.
2. Go Native
Whether you’re seeking informal advice from a local nursery or hiring a professional, consider native plants such as yellow jessamine or Turk’s cap lily. You can add some purple or blue color to your garden with sundial lupine. Prefer pink? Plant some northern wild pink groundcovers. These flowers have been growing in Virginia Beach since before European settlers arrived, so they thrive with little time, money, or attention from you (or from the future homeowner).
3. Plan Well
Make sure you know how much sun and shade the flower bed gets, what kind of soil you have, and look at the seasonality of your plants. You want something to bloom in every season. Try to vary plant height as well so that the bed has a pleasing aesthetic.
4. Space the Plants Properly
As with most things in life, it helps to read the instructions, or in this case, the plant tags. They’ll not only tell you the sun/shade tolerance, the plant tag will also tell you how far apart to space your plants so they have enough room to grow.
Planting too close together means your plants may not get enough air circulation, which can invite disease. It also means your plants may run into each other and look unkempt, which is something to avoid, especially if you’re trying to sell your home. Tidiness is key.
5. Container Garden
A container garden is a quick, low-maintenance way to boost your curb appeal and decorate your home. Adding a few pots with seasonal flowers will help guests (or potential buyers) feel welcome. As soon as the season wanes, remove the old flowers and pop in new ones, and you’re ready to go for the next few months.
Hardscaping is another way to reduce the time you spend on maintenance. Once you install hardscaping (walkways, pavement, decks, etc.), maintenance is minimal. Since it is a non-living element, it doesn’t require mowing, watering, or fertilizing. Pressure wash concrete surfaces once per year and have your lawn crew remove weeds from your patio and walkways periodically.
The more hardscaping you install, the better your ROI. Stone and concrete will remain on the property indefinitely. Ornamental plants like annuals depreciate quickly.
7. Maintain your flower beds
One of the keys to retaining all of this added value is to keep the plants healthy throughout the year. With good planning, your efforts should be minimal. Keep in mind: low maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance. Azaleas, for example, need to be trimmed once per year right after they bloom, and they’ll benefit from a light fertilizer at this time as well. While you’re at it, refresh the mulch in your flower beds. This helps retain water and cut down on weeding time.
Experts agree that a well-designed, well-kept landscape adds up to 15% to your property’s value.
By Barb Ambrose
Barb Ambrose is a home stager and landscape design writer. She loves entertaining and playing in her backyard, but she despises yard work. She recently expanded her patio and added an outdoor kitchen so she has less grass to mow.