If you want a good looking landscape, be advised that there is no such thing as a no-maintenance garden any more than there is a permanently picture-perfect landscape. All gardens need regular care. They are constantly in a state of change. Plants are living things and continually grow so there is nothing that looks good and stays the same short of plastic or silk – and even artificial plants tend to fade over time! The most successful gardens are designed with forethought and planning. Take into consideration your budget, your lifestyle and be realistic about not only what you want your landscape to look like, but how much time you are willing to devote to caring for your garden.
Good design involves laying out the right plants in the right place so they not only look good, but grow easily without a lot of fussing. You are setting up a living system that needs to function well and in harmony with itself, your environment and your lifestyle. That’s why just picking out some nice plants and plunking them down will never work for long. Putting together the permanent features of a garden with the plant material is a complicated project. This is one reason it is often a good idea to hire a knowledgeable garden designer or garden coach for professional landscape help.
Part of a good consultation should involve talking about what solutions will give you the closest fit possible. If you decide to work with a professional, make sure you make your views known. You don’t want someone who will tell you what you are getting without your input. And you want your garden to be designed to your tastes and lifestyle, not someone else’s.
Sadly, there is no such thing as a no-maintenance garden. But there are interesting alternatives. By using a combination of living and non-living materials an artistic eye can create a perfectly lovely landscape that will require minimum garden maintenance while providing maximum beauty and utility. Using local native plants – or at least plants from similar ecologies – is one way to make upkeep easier since these plants will be naturally adapted to your conditions. But a garden is a man-made creation and if you want your garden to be a successful landscape that is controlled to fit your vision, expect there will be weeding, pruning, occasional replacements and other work involved in even a low-maintenance garden.