• Melanie Evans

Top 6 Waterloo Region Low-Maintenance Landscaping Tips

Many Waterloo Region home buyers like the idea of having a spacious backyard, but are not so keen on the maintenance it might involve to keep up with. But time constraints - or a general tendency towards a 'black thumb' don't have to come between you are the great garden you really want.


If you want a beautiful yard without a lot of fuss, here are six low-maintenance landscaping tips that will keep your yard looking great with minimal effort.


Choose Drought Tolerant Plants


It makes sense to reduce watering chores whenever possible. Choose plants, trees and shrubs that require less water to thrive. There are many beautiful options that will work in a variety of soils and climates.


The key is to carefully match the plant to its site and to water it carefully for the first year or two. Once it establishes a good root system, it will mature with minimal watering. Here are ten suggestions for the best choices for the Waterloo Region:


1. Coneflower



Often self-sowing, coneflowers need little upkeep, are drought-tolerant and thrive in almost any soil with adequate drainage. Plus, coneflowers attract birds and butterflies.

2. Catmint



Perfect for borders, rock gardens and containers, this drought-tolerant plant’s aromatic flowers attract butterflies and bees. Catmint blooms from early summer to early fall, with plants that are 1 to 3 feet tall and wide.


3. Agastache A bee’s delight, agastache grows 3 to 5 feet tall and sports purple or white flower spikes. This tall plant is a good choice for the back of a border.


4. Lantana Abundant blooms make lantana a welcome addition to any sunny garden. Clusters of brightly colored blossoms adorn this plant, which grows 3 to 6 feet tall and wide. With a mounding or trailing habit, it’s a good choice for a container.


5. Salvia




A true attention-getter, this tall drought-tolerant flower produces season-long color in just about any landscape. Its vibrantly colored columns range from 8 to 30 inches tall. These summer to fall bloomers are also striking when confined to containers.


6. Lavender It’s no wonder lavender tolerates drought, since the fragrant plant is native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The mounding plants make attractive specimens or borders.

7. Russian Sage With 2- to 5-foot stems in shades of purplish blue, Russian sage is a real garden trouper: It tolerates cold, drought and poor soil. As long as you grow it in a sunny spot, it won’t disappoint.


8. California Poppy



If your yard isn’t the most fertile, look no further than California poppies. They grow best in full sun but don’t mind poor soil a bit.

9. Yarrow These easy-care, long-lasting flowers come into their own once spring bulbs are past their peak. No matter what garden space you’re looking to fill, yarrow is a prime candidate. 10. Portulaca



This easy-care, drought-tolerant annual is a sure source of perky color. Portulaca grows in low clusters, bloom in a rainbow of hues and thrive in the hot, sunny spots where other flowers might wither.


Replace Some of Your Turf With Ground Covers


A lot of folks love their lawns, but frankly a good-looking lawn requires a lot of care. If you replace some of your grass with an appropriate ground cover plant, you’ll slash your chore time without sacrificing a lovely yard.





Consider replacing the turf in problem spots such as shady, hot or rocky areas with a ground cover that thrives under those conditions. Check with your local extension service for a list of appropriate plants, such as ground cover succulents.


Select Carefree Shrubs and Trees


Plant low maintenance shrubs and trees that won’t require a lot of your attention as they grow. There are many new plants specifically bred for their smaller stature as well as disease and pest resistance. Dwarf conifers, smaller shrubs and yard trees that reach 10 to 15 feet at maturity mean reduced pruning chores and less chance that you’ll need to remove them when they outgrow their sites or become diseased.



Hardscape with Permeable Materials





Patios, walkways, courtyards and other hardscape elements add a bit of magic to any yard and reduce landscaping chores. Choose materials and designs that allow rainwater to permeate the soil to irrigate plantings, minimize erosion and prevent runoff. These include organic mulches, gravel, stone and permeable pavers.


Mulch Heavily, Turn Soil Rarely and Plant Densely to Minimize Weeding


Keep weeding chores to a minimum by mulching heavily with compost and shredded bark. Plant things close together to shade out weeds, and avoid turning the soil, which exposes dormant weed seeds to sunlight. Instead, let the earthworms from your compost do the cultivating for you.


Minimize Labor-Intensive Plantings


People love roses, but most require a lot of water, fertilizer and pesticides to look their best. That’s not to say you should give up everything you love, but choose your plantings carefully. If the majority of your landscape is relatively carefree, you’ll have more time to keep your finicky plants looking their best and to enjoy your yard in general, minus the labor-intensive gardening chores.

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