Contribution by Vivi Wong
The smallest state in the country has some pretty massive gardens. Home gardens sprouted up all over Rhode Island during the pandemic as more people turned their yards into an oasis and safe place to gather. But keeping up with all the mowing, weeding, and watering can be downright exhausting. Here are a few tips for creating a low-maintenance garden that will be the envy of the neighborhood without much effort on your part.
Choose the Right Grass
Winters here are relatively cold and spring and summers can range from warm to hot and sticky. That’s why cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass or tall fescue are popular in Providence. Why? Because it only needs mowing once a week and holds up well to kids or pets trampling on it. Simplify the watering of your lawn by installing an automated sprinkler system. Manually switch on the system and let it water your lawn. The best time to water your lawn is during the morning, preferably before 10 AM.
Use Shrubs and Native Plants
Add some color to your garden by planting native flowers. Common milkweed is a welcome addition to any yard and is easy to grow and maintain. It’s a perennial, so it will bloom year after year without any effort. Other perennials popular in Rhode Island include peonies and hydrangeas.
And don’t forget about potted plants and shrubs. Both can dress up your outdoor space and are easy to maintain. Plant a red chokeberry shrub around the perimeter of your yard, and watch it flourish. The white flowers appear every spring and summer, and the red berries provide your yard with plenty of color in the fall. This native shrub is slow-growing and needs little pruning. It can also handle minor flooding and periods of drought.
Mulching is a Must
If low-maintenance and a weed-free garden is what you’re looking for, mulching is a must. Mulch prevents weeds from germinating by blocking their light and smothering them if they do manage to sprout. Mulch also helps to retain moisture in the soil.
Add Stepping Stones
Turn a simple garden into a stunning landscape by creating a pathway of concrete stepping stones. The stones are fairly easy to install, and having a defined walkway will help protect your garden from trampling feet.
Pergolas are Popular
PHOTO: MOTT & CHACE SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY
Consider installing a pergola to help define and extend your outdoor space. Pergolas are popular because they are low-maintenance, and they look fantastic as a decorative addition to your yard. A pergola also provides shade and much-needed privacy, bringing you much closer to that oasis in your own yard.
Just Add Water
Another option to bring a bit of nature into your garden is to add a fountain or small serenity pond to your garden. The sound of running water can soothe the soul and help to reduce stress. The running fountains will attract birds and butterflies and require little work to maintain. Keep in mind, the more hardscaping features you have (water fountains, fire pits, patios), the less lawn there is to care for.
You want time to sit on the patio and feast on a coffee milk and johnnycake without worrying about weeding and feeding the garden. Creating a no-fuss garden is not only fun and affordable but the perfect outdoor project for do-it-yourselfers. You can reap all of the benefits of a well-landscaped garden without breaking the bank or your back.
Vivi Wong inherited her father’s landscaping company at 28, but she’s been taking care of her own gardens for as long as she can remember. She especially loves native flowers and peonies are the fastest way to her heart.