Not a Gardener? Tips for Improving Your Yard With Low-Maintenance Landscaping

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a green thumb to dramatically improve the look of your property. If you’re not great at gardening, you can still add low-maintenance landscaping and hardscaping features to your yard. By spending just 5% of the value of your house for landscaping improvements, your return on investment (ROI) can be as high as 150%. Making your yard more attractive can add significantly to your home’s value and give you greater enjoyment of your property, even if you plan to stay for the long haul. Here are six landscaping and hardscaping ideas to spruce up your yard this spring.

1. Use Rocks for Creative Landscaping

Hydroseeding is the quickest and best way to seed landscape, lawn, and erosion control without spending more than you need to for good results. With this method, grass will typically begin to grow in seven days and your lawn will be fully grown within three to four weeks. But creating a great-looking lawn isn’t the only way to enhance your yard.

Rocks are a low-maintenance material you can use for a wide range of decorative landscaping projects. You can lay them down in ornamental patterns or use them to pave walkways. If you have a small yard and are located in a desert climate, you can cover this space with rocks or use rocks as interesting focal points. For areas of your yard that attract a lot of moisture, rocks will allow water to flow rather than collect and will reduce the formation of muddy patches — as well as the mosquito population.

2. Use Ground Cover in Landscaping

If you’re going plant-free, you can cover areas of dirt with ground cover. In addition to rocks, you can add texture, color, and eye appeal with sand, tumbled glass, decorative gravel, mulch, bark, and wood chips. These materials are typically low-maintenance, and only need a little raking or incorporating fresh elements from time to time. Ground cover can hide unsightly dirt patches, help keep weeds under control, and offer a range of colors and textures to make your yard more attractive. Options are available in shades of brown, red, black, and gray, so you should be able to find the exact color that will work for you.

3. Consider Hardscaping Features

Hardscaping is a method that uses durable materials to keep soil and water in place, preserving the design of your yard. There are many ways to improve your property with hardscaping features. One way is to put in a great-looking driveway. Your driveway may seem purely functional, but it can be a beautiful way to welcome visitors to your home. For example, a driveway paved with stones creates visual interest, impressing people before they even reach your front door.

Other arresting hardscaping features include stone patios, terrace gardens, rock swimming pools, fire pits built with masonry, and brick and stone outdoor fireplaces and warm-weather kitchens. With the help of a contractor, you can create interesting hardscaping features like fountains and sculptures using concrete. The majority of structures built with concrete will last over 100 years, so this is a long-lasting investment you can feel good about.

4. Create a Rain Garden

A rain garden is a moisture-heavy area that cuts down on runoff during rainstorms. If it’s well-made, it requires virtually no maintenance; it doesn’t have to be mowed or watered and only needs occasional weeding. A rain garden is much more attractive than sodden areas of grass. Rain gardens can be made with sand, gravel, and local plants. They reduce the amount of rainwater that enters the sewer system and retain more water to keep plants healthy.

5. Use Landscaping Fabric

If you want to incorporate ground covers or if you’re going plant-free, landscaping fabric (also called weed fabric) is essential. Landscaping fabric keeps weeds from growing and lets you create an appealing area for gatherings in your yard without having to worry about weeding. It is a cost-effective feature that can also cut down on time spent on landscaping. It’s worth the work involved in installing landscaping fabric since it will greatly reduce the need for ongoing maintenance.

6. Install Synthetic Turf

If you’re going plant-free because of allergies or simply don’t have time to put in the ongoing maintenance, synthetic turf may be ideal. Artificial grass gives you an attractive green lawn but doesn’t require the weeding, watering, fertilizing, or mowing needed to maintain natural grass. Your family and visitors can enjoy a lawn made with artificial grass just as they would a natural one — without all the work that goes on behind the scenes. If you live in an area that experiences frequent droughts, you won’t have to worry about wasting water to maintain natural grass, either. Best of all, no one will really be able to tell the difference.

There are many ways to beautify your yard and increase your home’s value without using high-maintenance plants and grass. Rocks can be used for walkways and even swimming pools and outdoor fireplaces, or they can completely cover your yard if you’re going plant free. You don’t need a green thumb to incorporate these landscaping and hardscaping features into the design of your yard. You can add visual appeal and then sit back to enjoy the result.


  1. Akron Landscaping on July 7, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    Awesome article! You did a great job with these tips. We are starting to see more customers asking for rocks in their landscaping here in the Akron, OH area.

  2. Morgan Lane on August 27, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Nice article. I like the ideas that a rain garden is a moisture-heavy area that cuts down on runoff during rainstorms.

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  4. Hoover Concrete Contractors on October 19, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Thank you for the very informative article. I like the section on hardscaping. So much can be done with concrete such as staining it or stamping it. It can change the look of your landscape so much.

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  10. Paul Langley on January 19, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    It’s great that you mentioned low maintenance landscaping. Every year we had to go through some landscape cleaning up. It’s taking a lot of our time. I’ll consider making changes to make it less maintenance.

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