Serving the Naperville Community
If you’re looking to spend more time outdoors next season - and spend more time enjoying your outdoor space and less time working on it - now is the ideal time to plan a landscape that won’t eat up your free time. Here are 3 landscape design ideas for low maintenance landscaping in Wheaton, IL.
Related: 3 Patio Ideas For Fall Flair in Hinsdale and Naperville IL Areas
Replace the Lawn with Low-Maintenance Options
Lawns are gorgeous, but they’re the prima donnas of landscapes. It’s estimated that Americans spend, on average, 70 hours each year on lawn care, not to mention a disproportionate amount of water and chemicals just to keep the lawn alive. Considering that this average figure also factors in people who don’t have a lawn or pay a lawn service, the number of people who have lawns and care for them is much higher than 70 hours each year.
Low-maintenance softscape options abound, and the best choices begin with native plants that are ideally suited to the Illinois climate. Water-wise natives range from ground covers to ornamental grasses, annuals, perennials, shrubs, climbing vines, and trees. Not only do native plants add beauty with their huge diversity of shapes, colors, and textures, they also don’t need much from you.
A few ideas for beautiful natives include: Big Bluestem (an ornamental grass); Blazing Star (a tall flowering perennial); Milkweed (a favorite for pollinator gardens); Prairie Phlox (a perennial perfectly suited for woodland-to-meadow transitional areas); Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus (you’ll love the stunning spring flowers); Chokecherry or Chokeberry (a shrub with beautiful fall foliage and bird-attracting berries); Buttonbush (a butterfly-attracting shrub); Sweet Fern (an unusual shrub with gorgeous fall color); Sweet Gale (a shrub with leaves that exude a lovely fragrance when crushed); and New Jersey Tea (yes, you can make tea from the leaves).
Native trees such as American Hophornbeam, Eastern Redbud, River Birch, Downy Serviceberry, and Carolina Silverbell are a few trees that are perfectly suited to local climate and soil conditions.
Raised Bed Masonry Gardens
If you enjoy gardening but want to make life a bit easier, consider a few masonry raised bed planters. Pollinator gardens, edible gardens, herb gardens, or annual gardens are just a few examples of what you can do in a confined space - with virtually no weeding needed!
Raised masonry planters can be used to divide living spaces, add privacy (when filled with taller ornamental grasses, climbing vines, or evergreen shrubs), and create attractive green areas in otherwise awkward corners of the backyard.
Expand Your Outdoor Living Space
To enjoy your free time more, expand your outdoor living space - the patio or deck. You can still have a wonderfully lush and interesting landscape filled with a variety of plants, but less lawn and fewer fussy plants that demand your attention when you’d rather be relaxing or entertaining.
One trend involves creating multi-level outdoor living spaces that are adjacent to one another. For example, you could keep an attractive paver patio as it is, and add on a slightly elevated deck with a pergola-covered lounge area.
Another option is to create one or two additional outdoor “rooms” that are completely separate from the main patio and connect them with walkways. Tuck an outdoor fireplace into a corner of the property, add comfortable seating and a small beverage fridge, and you’ll have an amazing destination that creates a more intimate conversation area and replaces some of your lawn as well.
Either of these options can be surrounded by vegetation for a more intimate feel, or left more open and expansive.
Related: Adding a Brick Patio to a Traditional Landscape Design in Naperville IL