Low Maintenance Landscaping Options

Oregon is known for many things and natural beauty ranks at the top.

You want your home’s yard to reflect the natural beauty around it and to provide a relaxing environment for you and your family. You also want your landscaping to be low-maintenance, so that you don’t spend all of your time, energy or budget maintaining it all.

Stick with Native Plants

Particularly in Western Oregon, the climate will support a wide range of native plants all year long. This makes for rather low-maintenance landscaping in our Oregon yards. Using native plants means that we can in effect “schedule” our yards to be in a perpetual state of vibrant growth and even blooming.

Some native or naturalized shrubs to consider are:

  • Junipers – these small evergreen shrubs grow in a variety of shapes and require very little maintenance.
  • Western Hazelnut – the hazelnut is Oregon’s state nut and you can grow them in your backyard. This shrub grows to about 10ft x 10ft and doesn’t require much water.
  • Columbia Hawthorn – this larger shrub will require little maintenance, but be careful of its long thorns.

Let Wildflowers Grow… Well, Wild!

Wildflowers are a great, low-maintenance option to provide color and vibrancy to your yard. As their name implies, they are wild and may only need watering in times of drought.

A few native wildflowers for spring and summer beauty include:

  • Dogtooth violet
  • Grouse flower
  • Western trillium
  • Evergreen violet
  • Red flowering currant

Create a Delicious Food Garden

While a food garden will require nightly watering during the summer, the raised beds be left dormant most of the year. During the growing season, you can even set up timers to do the watering for you. These systems are quite effective and efficient, so you don’t have to run late for a friend’s barbecue just to douse the tomatoes. You can surround your beds with low-maintenance plants such as ferns that will not rob sunlight, but will keep the area looking lush and vibrant year-around.

Avoid Using Grass or Sod

Grass does one thing – it grows. Thus, it must be cut and watered on a regular basis. That is time and energy you would rather spend doing other things.

Instead, cover your landscaped area with wood chips or rock. If you are concerned about erosion, plants such as ferns and small shrubs can solidify your soil. Juniper bushes and azaleas might be good choices for avoiding erosion. Other groundcover options include monkey grass, thyme, and bishop’s weed, which will thrive in shaded areas.

Think About Hardscaping

One low-maintenance landscaping idea is to fill your yard with river stones, perhaps punctuated by a tree or shrub. You can also use gravel or other stones to ring trees, for footpaths, and to border sections of the landscape. Stones are naturally easy to maintain, though you may need to replenish them from time to time, as they may gradually sink into the dirt or be kicked away by children.

Yet another option is to use a preponderance of slate, stone, or concrete areas that you adorn with planters or small patches of ground to highlight a few easily maintained plants. A wooden pavilion can house a dining table for entertaining in the warm months, and you can top that with shade-giving vines.


At Crowley Landscape Management, we deliver 100% customer satisfaction by providing beautiful and sustainable landscape and maintenance services in the Portland area. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!