There is never enough time to spend with your family. You want a yard to enjoy, not more chores to do. Fortunately, with the right design choices, you can spend less time on upkeep and more quality time with family and friends. Consider these low-maintenance landscaping ideas for your yard and garden – and party on!

Suburban backyard with a dry stream bed, hardy plants, and no lawn.

Hardy plants and no lawn to mow.

Kiss your grass goodbye

Some people love to mow their lawns. For them, getting out there in the sun and enjoying the smell of fresh cut grass is a refreshing part of the weekend. Where they see joy, others see sweaty backs, sunburns, and yet another chore to do. If that sounds like you, here’s an idea: ditch the lawn.

Backyard herringbone brick paver courtyard in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Red brick backyard courtyard in St. Paul, MN.

Replace your lawn with hardscaping

This brick courtyard is easy to care for. A bit of sweeping is usually all that is needed. A nearly imperceptible slope for channels water to a plant bed.

Permeable paver walkway

Permeable paver walkway.

For those who are interested in living green, replacing your lawn with pavers might not be an option. Permeable pavers that allow water to percolate down through the soil to be cooled and cleaned before it reaches the groundwater may be just the ticket. Note, however, there is some routine maintenance for the pavers in order to keep them permeable.

Patios and walkways can create their own problems down the line. Minnesota’s freeze-thaw cycle can cause poorly installed patios to heave and buckle. That can mean cracked concrete or lumpy pavers.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure your hardscape is installed right the first time on a solid and level base to avoid hours of headache down the line.

Poured Concrete Vs Pavers

While poured concrete can be easier and less expensive to install, it can be difficult to replace if it gets stained or cracked.

In contrast, if pavers break or become discolored, they can be easily lifted away and replaced.

Paver patio designed with inlaid contrasting wood-look pavers.

Two-tone paver patio design with wood-look pavers.

Consider look-a-like materials

Some of the newest pavers on the market are designed to look like wood planks. They offer the look of cedar or redwood without the regular maintenance.

Small plunge pool surrounded by synthetic grass.

Small plunge pool surrounded by synthetic grass.

Artificial turf has made huge strides in recent years. While it’s not a replacement for an entire lawn, it can provide a comfortable accent as part of a total low-maintenance landscape design. It will need to be swept clean, but it will never need to be mowed, fertilized, watered, or reseeded.

Front yard patio with poured concrete retaining wall and xeriscaped evergreen garden.

Contemporary countryside front yard emphasizes concrete and stone textures.

Use alternative ground covers

Crushed rocks and gravel are often used as ground cover or as an alternative to mulch because they never need to be replaced or watered. Other alternatives to traditional lawns include white clover, sedum, creeping thyme, sedges, and ornamental native grasses.

Or, for the more adventurous, moss can be used in particularly shady spots. You can walk on moss without doing serious damage, and it needs little care.

Outdoor kitchen with stainless steel built-in grill, drawers, and refrigerator and timber pergola overhang.

Covered outdoor kitchen kitchen is protected from precipitation.

Build outdoor rooms to last

This outdoor kitchen is built to withstand the elements. It’s sturdy and won’t rust. The pergola and partial roof keeps the kitchen clear from debris and offers a bit of protection from precipitation.

Modular block planter with colorful busts of flowers, yellow, red, and purple!

Native plants in the KARE 11 Backyard.

Choose the right plants

Perennial plants return year after year. Native plants, adapted to Minnesota’s climate, are easy to take care of. Suggested plants include coneflowers, milkweed, black-eyed susans, aster, or sedum.

Large format paver patio with a symmetrical border garden.

Formal garden and patio with chunky mulch.

Mulch keeps down weeds and helps retain moisture in the soil. It will keep the soil temperatures down in hot weather and protect plants during freezing weather. Plus, it’s easy. All you have to do is add more in the spring. Bonus, if you use hardwood much you only need to add more every other year as it starts to decompose. Mulch should be approximately three inches deep.

Water feature created from three stone pillars.

Stone pillars turned into a fountain make a big impression.

The best plants for you could be... rocks

The right rock or boulder can add beauty to your garden and will never need to be watered or pruned. The ultimate low-maintenance design element.

Front yard sprinkler system in the early morning.

Save time with an irrigation system.

Save time, money, hassle, and water by installing an irrigation system with a timer and moisture sensors.

Interested in converting your backyard into a low-maintenance landscape?

Take a look at these projects for more inspiration, and contact us for an initial consultation with one of our talented landscape designers.

No-Mow Forest Backyard

This backyard blends modern and natural elements together to create a low-maintenance outdoor living space with a plunge pool, terraced patios, a fire table, water feature, and a outdoor great room.

French Quarter Courtyard

Intimate backyard captures the spirit and charm of a New Orleans courtyard with classic brick patio, fireplace, and fleur-de-lis accents

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