Posts: 20
Registered: ‎08-08-2018

Simplifying the yard and garden

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has decided to keep things simple when it comes to the yard or garden.


I've toned back a lot of seasonal plants and decor the past few years. I went with more standard shrubs and easy care items. I've never been deep into gardening and as I become older, I've liked the more clean cut look and low maitenence yard. The weather around can be tricky and the soil quality is poor. 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,525
Registered: ‎02-22-2015

Re: Simplifying the yard and garden

As my mom's health declined, I decided to have my lawn care service remove all of the large shrubs (which required a lot of trimming on my part), bring in new black Nebraska soil and sod those areas. It gave me additional time to spend with mom during her last year.

After mom's death, I had my lawn care service build raised beds on two sides of my back patio and along the lot line. They planted (5) Little Lime hydrangeas, bleeding heart, two varieties of whispy bush (can't remember the name right now), a red Japanese maple, small red barberry and yellow barberry, (3) golden globe arborvites, and moved my iris and peonies. One of the raised beds is devoted entirely to mini and small hostas with a variety of heuchera/colors (evergreens) mixed throughout.


My yard now takes minimal time or energy; just enough to enjoy playing! Very little goes into the landfill any longer and I'm pleased with the results. Well worth the expense. This year it should be filled out and really beautiful. 

Best wishes on tackling your yard. I love having my lawn as the major attaction when viewing my property. I'm in Zone 5-b and winters formerly were drab and had dead areas until periennials returned to life. It's gorgeous again (if I do say so myself) from the street all year long. 

Valued Contributor
Posts: 693
Registered: ‎07-18-2015

Re: Simplifying the yard and garden

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I only plant shrubs and plants that do well in my neighborhood. I got rid of all annuals and I only plant perennials. I drove around and saw what was planted that I liked and checked them out on line first Then I planted some lantanas, african daises,mexican marigolds etc because they didn't require a lot of care. Also you can ask your local nursery for suggestions. Hope this helps. I am in Southern Coastal California.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,950
Registered: ‎06-08-2016

Re: Simplifying the yard and garden

To keep things really simple ,you can opt for large areas to become hardscape.

Here's an example of adding a water feature and a large area with stone and very low maintenance plants.    If you don't have or want the water, you can still have a large area marked off to be covered in stone, or any type of "mulch" with a few plants, making it low maintenance and less grass to mow.




Here's another example.   You don't have to use brick you can use flat stones.   I personally don't care for the boulders just poking up, I think I'd elminate that or use a better layout of stones.   I chose this one so you can see that you can use potted plants.   Again,, it takes up a lot of space in a really good way & eliminates grass in that area



Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,854
Registered: ‎03-20-2012

Re: Simplifying the yard and garden

The last two years I have been downsizing the garden areas around our home. I have a ton of allergies and it was just getting to be too much to maintain all of them. We also have a lot of wildlife that seem to think our gardens are their buffet. LOL! I have spent so much $$ in fencing, etc. I selected the areas closest to the house or on the patio where I am with dogs to keep the gardens. All of the other areas I have marble chipped and placed a bird bath. I finally found some pretty scrolled 4'fence panels to discourage most of the wildlife so I have a chance to see a flower or two. This is working much better. 

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,368
Registered: ‎11-24-2011

Re: Simplifying the yard and garden

@software  Very beautiful and relaxing looking.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,208
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Simplifying the yard and garden

Because we're *MIA* for days at a time at our summer place, I have no choice but to *keep it simple*.


Plants like hydrangeas can't sit in the afternoon sun for hours without a good dousing of water.  Same for potted plants.


DH put in a sprinkler/watering system, but I haven't had the heart to use it yet.  I'd rather water myself, I hate the waste of water.


What plants/shrubs and planters I do have are for morning sun only and afternoon shade.  The hydrangeas seem happy and healthy in the back yard.


The railing for my front steps really shades an oblong planter I have at on the landing of my front stairs.  So plants can go as long as a week without watering.  I love looking out the front door and seeing Shasta daisies in bright colors.


I hate asking neighbors to water as we are new to the area.  I know they wouldn't mind, but I hate asking....


Luckily, we have had good rains all summer for the past few years in the Garden State.  Beautiful velvet green grass all year long.


My yards are simple, the back is a stretch of nothing but grass. only shrubs close to the patio and the deck shades them.  I do keep planters on the deck which is shade from about 1 pm on.  I fill them with colorful perenials.


Our front yard is small and full sun, but I have phlox and tulips in the spring and boxwoods and crepe myrtles and two dwarf cypress trees flanking the stairways up to the front door. 


For the most part, I keep a purple only theme for color.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,727
Registered: ‎03-28-2015

Re: Simplifying the yard and garden

Sadly, I am going to simplify this year too. It was always a dream of mine to have things blooming all over the back yard but it is alot of work.


The last 2 summers have been very dry, and I was out there watering morning and night.


I willl stick to perrieniels with maybe 1 or 2 hanging baskets...

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,359
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Simplifying the yard and garden

No,  I am not buying any veggies to plant in pots on my back deck--had a tree fall on the house in Dec and will be going thru reno for the summer months. We will have to move out for 2 months so the roof can be re constructed. Have many pots of lilies that I am worried about----hopefully will find a temp home nearby so I can come back to take care of them.

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,060
Registered: ‎04-03-2016

Re: Simplifying the yard and garden

I planted petunias in pot on mailbox last year but found myself watering even twice a day. High maintenance. I planted plastic spring flowers and they look pretty nice. Will see if I plant real later.