Unfortunately there are no such things as a no maintenance landscapes. Bummer! The best we can do is LOW maintenance. This is accomplished by good design, plant selection, and correct installation.
The best landscapes use a variety of materials, both plant and hardscape. It is best to have a mixture of trees, deciduous shrubs, perennials, and of course, evergreens. This mixture will give you year round interest with a wide array of heights, colors, and textures. The question is how to create this so that it is low maintenance.
We must first narrow down the tens of thousands of plants out there. Trees and shrubs need to be carefully selected so that they will fit into the space and design once they reach mature size. This can require a little patience because the plants can take a few years to reach their mature size, and until then, your landscape might feel a little empty or spaced out.
Next, evergreens are an important aspect in the Minnesota landscape because winter brown can last from October thru April, or longer. Luckily there are many dwarf evergreens on today’s market. Many of these dwarf evergreens grow very slowly in Minnesota and thus can fit into residential landscapes very well. They offer great color, texture, and structure to the landscape all year round.
Finally, perennials complete the plant palate by supplying blocks of changing colors. Perennial selection can be most crucial to the amount of maintenance a planting requires. Some perennials, though beautiful, should not be planted unless they are going to be given a lot of attention. For a low maintenance plant list we must eliminate the plants that spread and leap to places you didn’t plant them, which is one definition of a weed. Next, don’t use perennials that get too tall and flop over without support. Finally, limit the number of perennials to 5 or 6 varieties and repeat them in drifts throughout your yard. This will make it easier to identify and maintain the plantings. It will also tie your landscape together and make it more visually appealing.
It is also important to install plants correctly. Plants installed in a location best suited to their individual needs can be fairly self-sufficient once they are established. A poorly located or planted plant will be less healthy and ultimately require more TLC.