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Having a low-maintenance backyard is a great way to have a property you can be proud of, without using a lot of water and without having to spend a lot of time you’d otherwise rather be spending on other interests.

There are many options available for saving time and natural resources. And believe it or not, you do not necessarily have to sacrifice that lush green effect in the process, if the look of a green lawn is important to you. Traditional grass lawns incorporated into traditional landscape plans are notoriously thirsty.  In many dry climates where excessive water use is a concern, it is all of our responsibility to make sure that we are taking care of our environment.

Low-maintenance backyard alternative ground cover options

Ornamental grasses

Ornamental grasses are a great way to incorporate plants into a yard that requires low-maintanence. They grow to a nice height, need little attention and add a spice of color to your yard. This is also a creative way to incorporate different types of plants into your yard. There are more than 30 different types, and the beauty is that when they get too big, you can take a weed wacker and cut them to size.

ornamental grass photo: "Jerry"

Ivy

Ivy is a fast-growing, easily maintained alternative ground covering for your low-maintenance, water-efficient backyard, or even frontyard. It is perfect for those areas of your yard which require cover, but may prove difficult when it comes to mowing. Ivy is easily pruned, versatile, and naturally resiliant as ground cover. And it provides that low-maintenance lush look you’re after.

Ivy ground cover photo: wintersoul1

Artificial grass.

That’s right, green grass is available for yards that need to be low-to no-maintenance. The grass is actually a high-grade indoor-outdoor carpet that has been specifically designed for yards. This means that there is no mowing or watering, and the grass is guaranteed to stay green without fading. There is no rolling or bunching, and the firm backing means that there will never be a weed that pops up, and tearing will not occur. Just make sure that you have adequate drainage and aeration.

This is a great way to have that lush lawn, in both look and feel, while doing your part for the environment. Most of these lawns are also made of recycled products, making your yard a double take for eco-friendly appreciators.

Water-retaining plants common to your area

Plants such as salt brush, rubber plants and cacti are all in abundance in an areas where there is little water. The beauty of these plants is that they come in many different varieties, adding more texture and green to your yard. The rubber plants and cactus will even bloom during spring, allowing you to enjoy flowers.

In general, naturally occurring plants to your area, which may or may not include the ones listed above, require only natural rainfall for survival. Do some research and find out some of the unsung species perfect for ground cover and other landscaping additions to your area.  This way, you’re creating a low-maintenance backyard that’s truly your own.

Cacti photo: etgeek

Making the choice for low-maintenance, and ecologically sensitive

Making the choice for a low-maintenance backyard is a great way to save you time and money. The idea of conserving water is a fantastic way of helping your environment, but it also eliminates the need for a costly water bill every month. The lack of care that many of these plants need is a great way to re-prioritize your time with you family and friends. Plan on entertaining in your yard without the hassle of spending a full day getting it ready first.

Take the much-needed time, money and effort and do something for yourself instead. Take the time to investigate what a low-maintenance backyard complete with alternative ground coverings can do for you in your own local climate to help you save water, money, and time.

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.