Tips for Reducing Landscape Maintenance

I need help. I have been in my home for 18 years and it takes too much time to keep it up. Do you have suggestions for cutting down on landscape maintenance?

Yes, there are several ways to reduce landscape maintenance. In some cases it means making an investment to make changes that will simplify maintenance.

There are several things which can be done without making large, expensive changes. Raising lawn mowing height to 1½ to 2 inches will reduce maintenance costs by reducing weed invasion and pest problems. Leaving clippings on the lawn is the equivalent of one fertilization per year. Granular weed and feed and liquid lawn weed killers are very effective on broad leaf weeds.

Creating beds around trees and shrubs not only reduces grass trimming costs, but reduces mower and trimmer damage to trees. Two inches of bark mulch in beds will reduce weeds by 90% or more. Weed barrier fabric (porous woven plastic) is almost 100% effective until weed seeds blow in on top of the bark or other mulch placed on the fabric. Weed barrier fabric can be applied to already existing plantings as well new plantings.

Weed killers such as glyphosate (Roundup and other brands) can be used to kill existing weeds under and around trees and shrubs as long as you keep them off leaves of desirable plants. Casoron is a very effective, season-long granular grass killer and weed preventer. It should only be used around woody plants (including roses and raspberries). Trifluralin (Preen and other brands) is a granular weed preventer which can be used around flowers and vegetables. It lasts for about 6 weeks. Corn gluten is a natural weed preventer which reduces about 80% of weeds.

Hiring a professional to do part of your landscape maintenance work is the quickest way to reduce your own effort. When you compare it to the cost of hiring a plumber or electrician for a single visit, weekly lawn care is cheap at $25 to $35 for the typical home landscape. Almost all lawn care companies are qualified to do a good job of mowing, edging and cleanup. Landscape fertilization and pest control services are also relatively inexpensive.

I have a leaflet which includes suggestions for remodeling changes which will reduce landscape maintenance. For a free email copy of “Easy Care Landscaping” send your email address to


Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture.

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