Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas in New England

beautiful waltham home with freshly-mowed lawnLandscaping can be an overwhelming task for homeowners, but maintaining your outdoor space is important for so many reasons beyond just creating curb appeal. Creating a peaceful outdoor space helps to establish sustainability for the environment, improves property value, and gives homeowners the opportunity to take in the fresh air and enjoy nature, which is known to improve mental health. Depending on where you live, you’ll need to take the weather and the change of seasons into consideration, but maintaining your yard doesn’t have to cost a small fortune, nor does it need to monopolize all of your free time. Keep reading to see our low-maintenance and budget-friendly landscaping ideas for the New England area.    

6 Low-Cost & Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas For Your New England Yard

Perennials and Native Plants

Invest in perennials, plants that come back year after year, to save both money and time. Be aware of the amount of sunlight these plants require and match them to the appropriate area of your yard. To keep it affordable, add a new perennial every few seasons to continue to grow your curb appeal, and consider using plants that are native to the area. Native plantings often require less water and are easy to care for because they are accustomed to the climate.    


shovel with wheelbarrow in ma backyardUsing mulch is a budget-friendly way to help maintain your plantings because it acts as a natural weed block, and also helps the soil to hold in moisture. Additionally, it can create a clean and polished look at an affordable price. Mulch once in the fall and once in the spring and the exterior of your house will look impeccable. For a new look, change up the color of the mulch, perhaps opting for drama with dark brown or black mulch, or stay classic with light brown or red.  

Ground Covers

Ground-covering plants like clover, thyme, and sedum can be a cost-effective way to keep your landscaping looking great with minimal maintenance. Ground covers are plants that grow low to the ground and propagate quickly and densely, creating a carpet-like effect that can be visually pleasing. Additionally, they can act as natural weed barriers and can help to control erosion.  

Recycled Items

Repurpose items and use them to design interesting and budget-friendly planters. Create whimsy in your outdoor space by retiring your old bicycle and using the basket as a planter for flowers. Get creative and transform wooden crates and pallets into rustic planters, or consider stacking concrete cinder blocks for an industrial look. Stuck with a broken wheelbarrow? Fill it with soil and add some annuals to make a beautiful mini garden.   


Hardscape elements like patios, walkways, and rock gardens can be budget-friendly ways to reduce the amount of maintenance in your yard. Not to mention, their visual appeal can add value to your property, define areas or zones of your yard, and can also help to direct problematic rainwater away from your home. Consider using recycled brick or stones to design retaining walls, gravel for pathways, and concrete pavers for steps or small patios. Not only are pavers affordable, they also come in various shapes and sizes for versatility.  


Having irrigation can help to save time and conserve water. But if the thought of digging up your yard and shelling out a lot of money for a professional irrigation system to water your plantings is overwhelming, did you know that you could make your own, low-cost irrigation? Check out some DIY videos on how to make a plan and use soaker hoses for drip irrigation.   

Low-Maintenance Landscaping Plans

When designing a cost-effective and low-maintenance landscaping plan, it is important to set a budget, prioritize areas of your yard that matter the most, and make sure to do your research on plantings and materials that are easily sustainable in the area where you live. Living in an area that experiences all four seasons like the northeastern part of the United States means you’ll want to make sure that you plan for cold and snowy weather.   

If the thought of doing your own landscape planning is too daunting a task, consider reaching out to a professional, like Lamacchia Landscape Construction. Not only can we help you with the planning, we can also help with construction, yard maintenance, and snow removal during those brutal New England winters. Hiring a company to plan your landscaping doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and if you stress the importance of having your yard be low-maintenance, although you may pay more money up front, it can end up saving you money in the long run once your landscaping matures.  

Front Yard Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas

It’s certainly not a requirement that a beautiful front yard be filled with grass; in fact, adding hardscapes, ground-coverings, and a variety of shrubs and other plantings can make for a low maintenance, budget-friendly, and visually stunning yard. In the New England area, in particular, Massachusetts, shrubs like boxwoods, hydrangeas, and rhododendrons thrive. They are easy to propagate and require little pruning. You could even incorporate edible landscaping with blueberries, strawberries, and apple trees. Want a pop of color in the early spring? Plant some forsythia.  

As previously mentioned, perennials are your best friend. They are cost-saving, low maintenance plants that come back every year and can make for a beautiful entrance to your home.  Black-eyed susans, daylilies, and coneflowers are hearty and well-adapted to cooler climates like those in the Boston area. Looking for other ways to spruce up your front yard at a low cost? Use natural mulching like pine straw or wood chips which are economical, environmentally sustainable, and aesthetically beautiful.   

Low-Maintenance Backyard Landscaping Ideas

When it comes to landscaping your backyard, make sure you have a clear plan that features your priorities. Are you looking for privacy and peace and quiet? Maybe your backyard incorporates shadow fencing, or a water feature. Do you have a family that needs space to throw a ball around? Consider ornamental grasses that have natural defenses against pests and don’t require frequent mowing. Do you plan to entertain? Create a stone patio for a table and chairs, or make a firepit that is budget-friendly and usable all year long. If you like to garden, installing raised beds can be both visually beautiful as well as cost-effective while requiring minimal maintenance; especially if you are growing herbs, fruits, or vegetables. Require a shady place to read a book but don’t want to deal with leaves in the fall? Plant low-maintenance trees like dogwood or crabapple. Don’t forget about your outdoor furniture! Make sure to select couches, lounges, and chairs that are weather-resistant and easy to clean, like teak, which is popular in New England for its durability.  

Low-Maintenance Side Yard Ideas

Create a natural fence on your side yard for privacy by using evergreen shrubs like arborvitae or cyprus, which grow tall and require little pruning. Another affordable idea for your side yard is to create a rock garden with native stones, ground covering like clover, and succulents. Add LED or solar-powered lights to create ambiance. If your side yard is small and space is compromised, perhaps this is the perfect place to make a container garden using recycled materials for planters. Plant flowers, herbs, or vegetables that can easily be moved around to accommodate changes in weather and sunlight.   

Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas

Garden borders are a beautiful way to define spaces in your yard. There are many options to choose from when it comes to materials for your garden border including bricks, stones, pavers, wood, metal, or even plants. What you ultimately choose is dependent on your style, and the purpose of the border itself. Low maintenance and cost-effective options that are effective in the New England area could include trees like redbud or dogwood, perennial bulbs like daffodil and tulips, or decorative stones.  Since these plantings are meant to define a space, you could also select perennials that have extended bloom periods like coneflowers and daylilies. Boxwood, holly, and juniper are also great shrubs to plant because they maintain their greenery all year long.   

If you take-away one thing from this article, remember that the most cost-effective way to ensure that you have a low-maintenance yard starts with a plan. Whether you choose to go about this the DIY way, or with a professional company like Lamacchia Landscape Construction, make sure you do some basic research to make the right choice for you.   

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