How to Design a Low-Maintenance Landscape for the Michigan Summer

Transitions Outdoor Services

June 16th, 2024

Summer in Michigan is a time for enjoying the great outdoors, but maintaining a beautiful yard can sometimes feel like a full-time job. If you're looking for ways to create an attractive outdoor space without spending all your free time on upkeep, a low-maintenance landscape is the way to go. Here are some tips to help you design a landscape that will look great all summer long with minimal effort, tailored specifically for Michigan's climate.

1. Choose Native Plants

Native plants are well-suited to Michigan's climate and soil, making them easier to care for than non-native species. They require less water, are more resistant to local pests and diseases, and generally thrive with minimal attention. Consider incorporating Michigan natives like coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, and wild columbine into your landscape design.

2. Opt for Drought-Tolerant Plants

Michigan summers can vary, with periods of heavy rain followed by dry spells. Incorporating drought-tolerant plants can significantly reduce your watering needs. Succulents, ornamental grasses, and many types of perennials are great choices for a low-maintenance garden. Consider plants like sedum, Russian sage, and yarrow, which are well-suited to Michigan's climate.

3. Mulch, Mulch, Mulch

Mulching is one of the best ways to reduce maintenance in your garden. A thick layer of mulch helps retain soil moisture, suppresses weeds, and improves soil health. Organic mulches, such as wood chips or bark, also add nutrients to the soil as they decompose. Be sure to replenish the mulch periodically to maintain its benefits.

Front yard mulch

4. Install an Irrigation System

Automated irrigation systems, such as drip irrigation or soaker hoses, can save you time and ensure your plants receive consistent watering. These systems are more efficient than traditional sprinklers, reducing water waste and ensuring that water is delivered directly to the root zones where it's needed most. In Michigan, this can be particularly useful during dry spells in July and August.

5. Use Ground Covers

Ground covers are a fantastic low-maintenance option for filling in bare spots and reducing the need for weeding. Plants like creeping thyme, sedum, and ajuga spread quickly and create a lush, green carpet that requires little care. Ground covers also help prevent soil erosion and improve overall soil health, which is particularly beneficial in Michigan's diverse soil conditions.

6. Simplify Lawn Care

A large, manicured lawn can be a high-maintenance feature. Consider reducing the size of your lawn and replacing some of the grass with low-maintenance alternatives like ground covers, gravel, or decorative stones. For the remaining lawn areas, choose a low-maintenance grass variety that is drought-tolerant and slow-growing, such as fine fescue or Kentucky bluegrass, which are well-suited to Michigan's climate.

7. Group Plants by Water Needs

Grouping plants with similar water needs together can make irrigation more efficient and reduce the risk of over- or under-watering. This technique, known as hydrozoning, allows you to tailor your watering schedule to the specific needs of each plant group, ensuring that all your plants thrive with minimal effort.

8. Incorporate Hardscaping

Hardscaping elements like patios, walkways, and retaining walls add structure and interest to your landscape while reducing the amount of plant care needed. Materials like stone, brick, and concrete are durable and require little to no maintenance. Hardscaping can also create functional outdoor living spaces for you to enjoy, which is perfect for Michigan's summer barbecues and gatherings.

9. Limit High-Maintenance Features

Avoid high-maintenance features like water fountains, intricate flower beds, and exotic plants that require special care. Instead, focus on simple, elegant designs that can be easily maintained. A well-planned landscape with fewer high-maintenance elements will allow you to enjoy your yard more and work in it less.

Let Transitions Outdoor Services Help

Creating a low-maintenance landscape for the Michigan summer is all about smart planning and plant selection. By choosing native and drought-tolerant plants, using mulch, installing efficient irrigation systems, and incorporating hardscaping, you can achieve a beautiful yard that requires minimal upkeep.

For professional assistance in designing and implementing your low-maintenance landscape, consider reaching out to Transitions Outdoor Services. Our team of experts can help you create a stunning, easy-to-care-for outdoor space that you can enjoy all summer long. Contact us today to get started on your dream landscape.

Contact us today to inquire about our landscaping and horticulture services!

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