Just about every property can benefit from adding plant life. A good landscape design can significantly increase the value of your home, add natural beauty to your everyday life, provide privacy from neighbors, and more.

But not everyone can dedicate significant time, energy, and resources to maintaining their garden. Working with low maintenance plants is one of the best ways to get the most out of your landscape, especially if you’re new to gardening.

But what is a low maintenance plant, and how do you get started? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about low maintenance gardening in the Pacific Northwest!

Understanding Low Maintenance Gardening

In broad terms, low maintenance plants are those that look great and stay healthy without a lot of upkeep or hard work. They tend to adapt well to their environment and require less extensive fertilizing and pruning. But if you want a garden that’s truly low maintenance, it’s important to be purposeful in how you plan it.

Here are a few ways to set yourself up for success before you start planting:

  1. Learn about your property’s site conditions (sun/shade, wet/dry, cold/hot, etc.).
  2. Think about replacing large areas of grass with hardscapes or low maintenance ground covers.
  3. Make sure your soil is healthy; consider getting it professionally tested before planting.
  4. Think about installing a synthetic lawn for a truly “no maintenance” landscape feature.
  5. Incorporate raised beds for easier and more contained planting, weeding, and watering.
  6. Consider working with a professional landscape designer to plan a garden that’s sure to look beautiful and stay healthy without extensive upkeep!

Blessing Landscapes offers personalized, professional site analysis and garden design services in the Portland metro area. Let us help you create a landscape that meets your specific needs and aesthetic preferences.

Choosing Low Maintenance Plants

Factors like soil type and acidity, sunlight, humidity, weather, and plant hardiness affect how much maintenance is required. Portland falls between USDA hardiness zones 8b and 9a. This means the average low temperatures in the region tend to reach 15-25° Fahrenheit. The plants you choose should be hardy enough to survive these temperatures.

Some low maintenance categories of plants to incorporate into your Portland garden include:

Blessing Landscapes - planting low maintenance plants

Planting Your Low Maintenance Garden

Stick to the plan.

When it comes time to shop for plants, the early landscape design stages really start to pay off. When you head to the nursery or finalize plant selections with your designer, it’s important to know where each plant is going to go in your garden. This will help you select plants that will grow to the right size and match the sunlight, moisture, and soil conditions in each area.

Prepare the soil.

Before you start planting, it’s a good idea to turn a few inches of compost and fertilizer into your planting areas. This will help your plants get the vital nutrients they need while they’re establishing roots.

Start planting.

How you install your low maintenance garden is as important as how you plan it. Following the specific planting requirements of each plant you’ve selected for your new garden will set you up for long-term success and help reduce maintenance requirements. 

At Blessing Landscapes, we design and install gardens of all shapes and sizes, from northwest-natural and xeriscaping (low water use) to formal English gardens, edible gardens, and ultra-modern gardens. 

Blessing Landscapes - person giving advice about low maintenance plants

Taking Care of Low Maintenance Plants

Every plant has unique requirements, and even the most low maintenance plants need monitoring and some basic care. During the first season or two, your new plants are likely to need more water as they establish deeper roots. It’s also a good idea to spread a couple of inches of compost on your planting areas each year to help the soil retain moisture.

No matter the maintenance requirements of your garden, Blessing Landscapes offers ongoing maintenance services to ensure your landscape stays beautiful and healthy for years to come.

Identifying Common Problems

Even with a low maintenance garden, it’s important to keep an eye on your plants so you can address problems early on if they arise. Here are some common issues to look out for:

  • Signs of underwatering: Drooping or lifeless leaves; dried-out soil; falling leaves
  • Signs of overwatering: Yellow, brown, or droopy leaves; an unstable stem; fungus or mold growth on top of the soil
  • Signs of pests: Changes in leaf color or texture; spotted, speckled, or yellow leaves; holes in leaves; visible insects or webbing
  • Signs of disease: Slowed or stunted growth; wilted, crinkled, or falling leaves; white powdery spots; brown or gray spots; soft or mushy stems

Blessing Landscapes - garden with low maintenance plants

Need help? Blessing Landscapes has the experience and knowledge to help get you started!

Whether you’re new to the world of gardening or you just want to keep your maintenance requirements to a minimum, we can help.

At Blessing Landscapes, we’re certified experts in landscape design and native plants. We have the knowledge and skills you need to create a low maintenance outdoor space that will add beauty and practicality to your property.

If you want to transform your yard, give us a call at (503) 284-3557 or contact us online for more information!