If you're like many homeowners who are busy with work and family obligations, you love the thought of your outdoor living space serving as a personal sanctuary during the occasional moments when you manage to get some downtime. However, it may also be true that the time you spend in your yard and garden area is more about chores than anything else, with very little room for relaxing with a book and a beverage, enjoying a cookout with family and friends, or simply sitting quietly on a garden bench while listening to the birds sing. Following are several suggestions for how you can exchange some of that outdoor task time for outdoor leisure time.
Rethink Your Lawn
You can save yourself hours of mowing, weeding, feeding, and other lawn chores every week by seriously downsizing your lawn. If you've got active children in the home and want them to have a soft surface to play on, consider creating a play space with playground mulch instead of lawn. Leave a small patch of lawn so that you can still enjoy the occasional gratification of bare feet on velvety green grass.
Ask your local garden retailer for recommendations on flowers, shrubs, and trees that are native to your geographical area. These plants thrive in local soils and climate conditions, and they've developed natural resistance to regional pests and pathogens. You won't have to spend time babying them along with special fertilizers and pesticides -- at most, they'll need an extra drink of water during drought conditions and routine clipping and mulching.
Use Plenty of Mulch
Which brings us to mulch. Mulch provides multiple benefits in the yard and garden area. Organic mulch slowly releases nutrients into the soil, and any type of mulch acts as an insulator for plant roots, protecting them from temperature extremes on both ends of the scale. It also acts as a deterrent for the germination of weed seeds, as well as, helps provide your outdoor living space with a pulled-together appearance.
Build a Rock Garden
Rock gardens provide an almost maintenance-free way to maximize the aesthetics of your outdoor living space. Most rock garden plants don't require extra water and fertilizer once established. Rock gardens are also ideal for placing on slopes because they significantly decrease soil erosion from precipitation runoff.
Install a Smart Irrigation System
Smart irrigation systems save homeowners money as well as time. They're equipped with sensors that determine the amount of moisture in the soil, for instance, and the water won't come on unless the soil is dry, and they can also be set to shut off if it begins to rain.