Oh, Georgetown! “The Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas…” A town adorned with bright red poppies and blessed with sunny days for most of the year. Living in a city such as this, one could only hope to have a home that would match up with the town’s beauty (but with less work). Luckily, we’ve gathered nine low-maintenance landscaping ideas for Georgetown lawns.
1. Native Plants
One of the most energy, time, and money-consuming activities when it comes to yards is maintaining a healthy lawn. Opting for native plants instead of turfgrass in part of your lawn is a great low-maintenance alternative.
Native plants spent hundreds of years working to adapt themselves to their environment, and Mother Nature has done a great job growing Texas native plants. Why not get inspired by her and use the same resources? Here are some of the benefits of native plants:
- Native plants have adapted to the local climate
- Pesticides or fertilizers are not needed to care for them
- Lower irrigation needs
- Native plants help restore natural habitats
These are just some of the numerous benefits of using native plants. But, alright: You agree that they are a viable option for you, but what are some of the best native plants for Central Texas? Here are some for you:
- Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta): These yellow, daisy-like flowers are very tolerant of Central Texas heat and attract butterflies when blooming in the summer
- Rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetala): Like black-eyed Susans, the rock rose makes a perfect ground cover in landscape gardens
- Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria): This evergreen can be grown as a shrub or as a tree, and has beautiful dark green leaves and bright red berries that attract birds.
2. Rock Gardens
Sticks and stones may break my bones… but I could also build a garden with them. A rock garden is a form of landscaping using rocks, stones, and gravel. And once you set the design, you can rest carefree of mowing and fertilizing. Well, technically you can try to fertilize a rock, but we should tell you in advance that unfortunately… it will not grow.
You can play with the design using different kinds of stones, pebbles, petrified wood, or even by building a stone mosaic to add a pinch of artistic creativity. These are just some of the many ideas for rock gardening that will make your yard beautiful to the eyes while requiring little maintenance effort.
To care for a rock garden you will only have to deal with minor issues that are easy to fix:
- Stray leaves: As the trees and other plants nearby shed their leaves, they might fall into your rock garden. To remove them you can use a leaf blower or a rake.
- Weeding: Weeds can grow regularly even in rock gardens, so you’ll have to remove them as they appear; you can also use landscape fabric as a weed barrier between the soil and the rocks.
- Straightening uneven rocks: Clumsy feet, pets, or children can knock gravel out of place, damaging the rock design. In most cases, a rake can help you smooth out the layer of gravel. Otherwise, you might have to buy an additional bag of the material. (Know that even if you buy the same rocks, there might be variations in color and size.)
By the way, do you know what compliments a rock garden design? Xeriscaping! We’ll tell you more below.
Xeriscaping consists in using drought-tolerant plants to build a beautiful water-efficient garden. The idea behind xeriscaping is that there is an appropriate plant selection for dry climates, and the goal is to preserve water resources since watering landscapes and lawns account for approximately 50% to 75% of residential water use.
A recommendation for Georgetown residents is to try watering one day less than the city restrictions grant. But why not go beyond that and build a garden that will help the environment and your pocket?
What materials are used in a xeriscape? Xeriscapes are usually made with rocks, drought-tolerant native species, cacti, gravel, ornamental grasses, and mulch. With this landscaping method, you will still need to work on some basic maintenance care, such as pruning, weeding, and mulching, but it is still very low maintenance when compared to regular lawn care.
And besides having a great landscape that can save up to 60% on your water bill, there are other advantages:
- It eliminates the need for mowing, fertilizing, and herbicides
- Creates natural habitats for wildlife
- Helps save pollinators such as bees
The biggest effort is in thinking of xeriscaping ideas to create the design. But if it is still too much work for you, you can always hire a pro to help you out with this. The cost for professional xeriscaping is around $17,000 nationwide plus $200 per hour of design work and $50 to $100 per hour for installation.
Mulch is a layer of any material applied to the soil surface.
Benefits of mulch: Mulch prevents soil erosion, helps retain water, reduces weeding, and makes your yard look beautiful. It adds a visual element to your landscape, while also benefiting your soil. Practically, adding mulch means that you will spend less time pulling weeds and use fewer water resources.
Organic vs. inorganic mulches: Mulch options include organic and inorganic materials. The latter usually includes stones or plastic materials and involves less maintenance. However, organic mulch has an additional advantage: It can provide the soil with the yummy nutrients it likes. It’s like dessert, but for your garden.
Organic mulch options include partially decomposed wood, pine straw, and even recycled plants. And here is a tip: The city of Georgetown offers curbside-collected yard trimmings processed into mulch for free to Georgetown utility customers who reside within the city limits.
(Caution: If using others’ yard trimmings as mulch, you may be adding pesticide residue to your lawn.)
5. Container Gardens
Container gardening simply means growing plants in a pot or other container. This is a big advantage if you have a small area or if you want to grow vegetables or herbs without making a garden out of your yard. It also allows you to control how much sunlight your plants receive since you can move them to full sun or a shaded area as you wish.
If you invest in decorated containers when building your container garden, you can also add a nice visual element to your landscape, by playing with textures and colors. With this method, you can grow:
- Evergreen shrubs
- Trees (yes, even trees!)
Here is a list for vegetable planting in Williamson County in case you plan on using your container garden to grow fresh, delicious veggies. And in case you are not planning on growing your grocery list items in your yard, here is a tip: Go for native, drought-resistant flowers, shrubs and trees. Using native plants will make your container garden as low-maintenance as possible.
Usually, installing and caring for turfgrass is one of the most expensive parts of a yard, demanding time and money for fertilizing, watering, and mowing. If you want a beautiful landscape but don’t have the time or disposition to keep up with turfgrass necessities, a great possibility for you is using groundcovers.
Groundcovers are low-growing plants that form a layer of green leaves or flowers over the ground, a perfect replacement for grass. And if you opt for native groundcovers, you can have a pest- and drought-resistant lawn, with little water needed.
Here are a few native groundcover options for Georgetown, TX:
- Texas sedges (Carex sp.): Resembles turfgrass, but with no mowing needed
- Sedum (Sedum sp.): Evergreen that blooms in the summer with bright yellow flowers
- Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora): Another native groundcover, it attracts small pollinators and butterflies.
Perennials bloom year after year without needing to replant, making them the perfect low-maintenance plants. With the right care, perennials live for many years (3+ years), keeping your landscape beautiful with no big effort all year round.
Choosing perennials native to the Central Texas region will be an even better combo, as they resist drought and heat while making great landscape plants. Here are some examples:
- Autumn sage (Salvia greggii): They can come in a variety of colors (white, red, salmon, and purple flowers), and can grow up to 2-3 feet tall.
- Blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum): These perennials put forth a delicate white flower during summer and spring.
- Mistflower (Eupatorium greggii): The Mistflower produces lavender-colored flowers, but spreads so fast that it can become a pest. A good tip is planting them in pots, so you can still include her beautiful color in your landscape without risking it overtaking other plants.
If you want to know more about perennial planting options, check out these recommended landscaping plants for Williamson County.
8. Rain Gardens
Contrary to what the name may suggest, a rain garden is not a wetland. In fact, a rain garden will only remain wet for the next 48 hours after collecting a significant amount of rainwater.
A rain garden consists of a shallow depression planted with a variety of native perennials, shrubs, and other plants. That way, the rainwater will be collected and then filtered by the soil — no sprinklers needed. Besides the fact that it conserves water, benefitting the homeowner’s water bill, there are other additional benefits for the environment:
- It purifies the water by filtering pollutants
- It reduces soil erosion
- It helps avoid flooding by collecting runoff in the depressed garden area, instead of letting them get washed directly into the local bodies of water or stormwater drains.
Does this idea sound interesting to you? We gathered all the necessary information for you on how to build your own rain garden.
Is there anything of lower maintenance than xeriscaping or native plants? Xeriscaping with native plants? Yes, but also hardscaping! But what is it, after all? Well, hardscaping consists in constructing a landscape with no living elements. It could be anything such as:
Hardscapes can be a good option if you want to add function to your yard or you have that empty corner, that blank area… yes, the one you’re thinking of right now. That spot would be perfect. With a hardscape design, you can increase your property’s curb appeal and even its market value.
And since there are no living elements to care for, hardscaping is as low-maintenance as it gets.
Low-maintenance landscaping will save you time and money. With reduced maintenance requirements (less watering, less weeding, less fertilizing), you can spend more time enjoying a beautiful garden rather than working on it.
The easiest plants to maintain are native plants. When a plant is native to the region, it is already well-adapted to the climate conditions. When it comes to the Central Texas region, this means you won’t have to spend resources on fertilizers and extra watering for a plant to survive periods of drought and heat.
No. Every type of landscaping requires some degree of maintenance. There are options that significantly reduce the effort spent on maintenance tasks. But even with hardscaping, for example, regular cleaning is needed to keep the area in good condition.
Hopefully, after reading through our tips for the best low-maintenance landscaping ideas in Georgetown, TX, you will be inspired to get started on your own DIY landscape design. In case you need help, we’ve got the best Georgetown landscaping professionals to get you started.
What will you do with that free time? Why not spend the extra time deciding which low-maintenance plants will match your beautiful lawn?