Friday, June 18, 2010

Landscaping: 5 Reasons Why Less Is More

Some women hate laundry. Or dishes. Me? I hate yard work.

I’m the person who, when the participants on House Hunters whine because there’s “no yard” or “not enough grass,” flashes a big smile and gives two thumbs up. Yard maintenance bites it.

I come from a long line of farmers. Some of them had quite a bit of land and even had hired hands. Farming is a very noble and necessary profession; I just clearly got skipped by the “plays with dirt” gene of my ancestors.

That’s why I think that when it comes to prettying up a property with greenery, less is genuinely more. Here are five reasons to make my case:

1. Maintenance. While it’s good exercise – and a great excuse to play with tools – it’s also a tremendous time suck. I wish I could reclaim some of the many hours I’ve spend doing yard work. There are so many better things I might have been doing. And, for those of you who don’t do it yourself, it’s a tremendous wallet suck, too!
2. Expense. Shrubs and plants aren’t cheap. Maintaining them and keeping critters away from them can be a full-time and costly job, too. Even landscaping rock and timbers have gotten rather pricey the past few years. Bottom line: the less you have, the less it costs.
3. Water usage. Those of you who live in the west know it’s crazy to try and keep lush vegetation properly watered. It’s just against your climate in most cases. And, your water supply is more challenged than in other parts of the country. But even those of us who only occasionally face water issues during especially hot summers should be interested in conserving this vital resource.
4. Blocking the view. Have you ever seen a house covered in vegetation – and wondered what it looked like underneath? The "clutter" approach to landscaping is always a bad idea, mainly on two counts. First, it hampers your home’s overall curb appeal. And second, no one, including you, knows what all that growth is covering up. It can easily mask damage to your home’s exterior that needs attention!
5. Safety. Large shrubs –or overgrown ones— can serve as cover for both peepers and thieves. This can be particularly dangerous as the vegetation can keep them out of sight while they break in your house.

There are other alternatives that are both environmentally friendly and attractive. You might consider:
  • Low-maintenance bulbs, surrounded by a rock garden.
  • Dwarf varieties of shrubs which need only an occasional trim and that do well in direct sunlight or shade (whichever your yard best affords).
  • Paving stones to build smalls walls or walkways.
  • Solar-powered lights.


Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

I have no interest in gardening or lawn maintenance at all either. The most we can really be counted one doing is mowing the lawn every week (or two ...). The old owners of our house were big gardeners though so we have a lot of plants that just don't have the interest or time for :(

Ty'sMommy said...

Amen!!! I admit, I love having an herb garden, but that just facilitates like in the kitchen for me. I hate working in the yard and I'd be perfectly happy to rock most of it in so we don't have to take care of it.

Kate R said...

How funny. I would soooooo much rather work on the outside of my house than the inside. Except when it is gawd-awful hot & humid as it has been lately.

Karen Anne said...

I love working in my yard. That's partly why my house projects are so slow.

Edible stuff everywhere, plantings for wildlife, all that good stuff.

I do hand off the lawn mowing though. That's a bear and a half and I'm a bit too creaky for that nowadays.

jOoLz said...

i used to live in a house that belonged to my father. i was the tenant. in most situations like that a tenant is not expected to maintain the landscaping (and pool, but that's another story!) but it was all on me. i hated every bit of it. now i live in an apartment and don't have to deal with it. one of the best things about apartment living, really.

one thin. if i ever own a house (i live in california btw), the first thing i will do is rip out the lawn and figure out a way to landscape with native plants and non-invasive species from other areas that 1. don't need much water and 2. don't need much tending to.

and i am totally with you about the people on shows like "house hunters" when they whine about a yard not being big enough. lol

kaypasa2001 said...

LMAO! I swear, you and I have completely opposing points of view on almost everything! I'm so glad we're friends! I can't imagine not having dirt to play in, or having a tiny yard, or flowers instead of shrubs. I love all the things I have to do in the yard, because it feels like quality time as opposed to, oh, I don't know, scrapbooking?! I love how people have such different priorities.

Literary Landlady said...

THANK YOU for 'fessing your distaste for yard work. My mother was a passionate gardener and years after her passing I still feel guilty for letting weeds overrun my perennial bed. Or, are they weeds? Dandelions are so pretty...

NV said...

Thanks for all the support ... except for KayO. :0

The older I get, the more I think Young Tom is right: "Yards are good for one thing ... black top them and PARK on them."