Well designed landscapes enhance the beauty and value of homes. Keep it low maintenance and sustainable by following Earth-Kind® landscaping practices and some basic landscape design techniques.
Keep Things Interesting
Most landscapes are replicas of the others down the block. A standard few shrubs skirt the home while a sea of turfgrass fills in the remainder of the property. These landscapes develop with little consideration of an overall plan. The result can be rather uninteresting.
A landscape should be a place to relax, to play, and to enjoy nature and being outdoors. Just like a home has ceilings, walls and floors, landscape spaces have ceilings of trees and arbors, walls of shrubs and vines, and floors of lawns, groundcovers and hardscapes.
Use Earth-Kind® Landscaping Principles
Earth-Kind® Landscaping is a robust and highly-recommended resource for creating a sustainable, low-maintenance, beautiful landscape. Earth-Kind® techniques can be used no matter what landscape style you choose: from wildscapes that mirror the native look of the region, to traditional well-clipped tidy designs, to eclectic cottage gardens that defy rules and order, to…well you name it!
Earth-Kind® Landscaping encourages the following practices:
- Landscape Water conservation
- Reduction of fertilizer and pesticide use
- Landscaping for energy conservation
- Reduction of landscape wastes entering landfills
Design Landscapes with Low Maintenance in Mind
A well designed landscape will enhance the beauty and value of a home. It can also be a source of satisfaction and enjoyment. You can keep the landscape low maintenance if you follow these tips.
- Keep it Simple – great designs don’t need to be elaborate
- Design with Maintenance in Mind – group plants that have similar care
- Let Nature Maintain it for You – choose native trees and shrubs that don’t as much maintenance
- Limit Turf Areas – reduce turf areas that require mowing and irrigation
- Start Off Weed Free – remove all weeds when developing new planting beds
- Choose Easy Care Plants – adapted perennials and bulbs require less care than annuals
- Choose the Best Turf – choose turfgrass that is adapted to the light and soil conditions in your landscape
- Mulch – retain moisture, add organic matter, and suppress weeds all at the same time
- Invest in Irrigation Design – whether it be an automated system, drip lines, or simple timers, all can reduce the time spent hand irrigating without wasting water
Landscape Design Tools and Inspiration
Here are some tools to help you create a landscape design.
- The Planning the Home Landscape – Earth-Kind® Edition guide is a great place to start.
- The Earth-Kind® Plant Selector will recommend plants based on your zip code.
- The City of Austin Watershed Department Grow Green program has several landscape templates you can use for inspiration. Most of them also include the location of a demonstration garden you can visit
- The Demonstration Garden at Travis County AgriLife Extension was designed with Earth-Kind practices in mind and is maintained with the help of Travis County Master Gardeners. It is free and open to the public.
Additional Resources For Landscape & Lawns
Low Maintenance Landscaping Tips
From Trash to Treasure – use recycled items to create birdbaths, planters, and more
Planning the Home Landscape – Earth-Kind® Edition
Earth-Kind® Plant Selector
Earth-Wise Guide to Landscape Design (Grow Green)
Trees for Texas Landscapes
Earth-Kind® Water Gardening in Texas
Using Color in the Flower Garden (Cornell U.)