When it comes to renovating or designing a new landscape, homeowners are savvier to the needs of sustainable practices in their landscapes. Both the desire for a more low-maintenance landscape and the realities of tight water restrictions have inspired homeowners to “go low” when it comes to the plants they choose. When hiring a professional landscaper, a common request is that the new landscape be easy to maintain and use less water. Choosing the right plants goes a long way to achieving a low-maintenance goal.
Remember that “low-maintenance” doesn’t translate to “unattractive” for customers. They still expect a low-maintenance landscape to be beautiful. While everyone’s standard of beauty are a bit different, we think you’ll agree that the following low-maintenance plants offer up a bounty of beauty for everyone.
Smooth agave, also called dwarf century plant (Agave desmettiana ‘Variegata’), is a striking, sculptural plant that is perfect for a low water use landscape. Once established, these succulents rarely require any supplemental water. Plants grow into an urn-like shape with large curved leaves. Its compact and dense shape makes it perfect for planting en masse or as focal points in mass plantings. It’s even more striking as a container specimen and perfectly suited for contemporary landscapes. Foliage is bright green edged with bright golden yellow, which offers up a nice contrast in the landscape.
While it may not look like an “arid” garden plant, Nandina ‘Firepower’ is an incredibly tough and versatile choice. This mini-shrub offers up evergreen foliage and an intense show of fall color. The new foliage in spring will emerge in a flush of pale green, with variations of yellow and green in the summer, followed by deep red foliage in the fall. ‘Firepower’ tolerates very hot dry summers and just about any soil type. Use it as a foliage accent in landscape beds or as a container specimen.
Both of these plants can actually be combined together in a landscape that will require minimal water or TLC to look its best.