Maintenance is always a crucial factor when deciding the features to include in the landscaping around a home. The amount of time and money required to keep the yard in good condition should be one of the primary considerations when designing the landscape. That is true for your primary home and your rental property.
But it is more applicable for a rental home because of two reasons:
- You want to reduce the amount of work and money involved in looking after your rental property. Landscaping maintenance that takes a lot of work will add unnecessary labor and expense to the process of operating the property.
- Landscape maintenance can be a factor in the kind of renters you attract, especially if you expect tenants to participate in caring for the yard. An outdoor area that is difficult to maintain will scare potential renters away. That will affect the performance of your rental.
Five landscaping maintenance tips for rental properties
1. Make your landscaping low-maintenance
The first rule of landscaping maintenance for a rental property is to make the landscaping as low-cost as possible. That means taking an intentional approach to landscaping design that allows you to exclude features that complicate the maintenance of the yard. Here are a few ways to make sure the landscaping around your rental property is easy to maintain.
- Reduce the size of the lawn: The less grass you have around the yard, the less work you have to do to cut the grass. In addition to cutting, grass requires regular watering, fertilizing, and weeding. You can retain enough grass to ensure your tenants have lawn space to spread a picnic blanket, play, or lounge. For the rest of the landscaping, choose features that do not have a demanding maintenance routine.
- Xeriscaping and native plants: Xeriscaping is a landscape design concept that promotes drought-resistant plants. These types of plants reduce the amount of watering you do and your water bill. Another way to cut down on landscaping maintenance is to use native plants. These do not need fertilizer, watering, or pesticides because they have adapted to the local environment.
- Cover crops: Flowering cover crops will beautify your yard by adding color when they bloom. They will also attract pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies to the yard. But they will not increase the amount of weeding or cutting you need to do in the yard. Cover crops stifle weed, and they will not grow above a certain height.
- Include lots of hardscaping: Hardscaping refers to the non-living components of the yard, such as stone walkways, retaining walls, rock gardens, patios, or sitting areas. These features add interest and diversity to the yard while increasing the number of ways tenants can use the outdoor areas. But they do not increase the amount of work you have to do to look after the landscaping.
- Plant perennials and dwarf shrubs: Perennials come alive every spring and do not need you to replant them. They can withstand cold, heat, and other adverse weather conditions. Dwarf shrubs need little, if any, pruning at all, and they are easy to grow. You can also add a few evergreen trees; their appearance will not alter in winter, which is great for curb appeal.
2. Mulch regularly
Mulching is a gardening technique that lets you reuse organic waste from the yard to grow plants and improve the condition of the soil. You shred dead leaves, bark, wood, and sawdust, then spread them over the soil to suppress weeds, prevent water loss, and regulate the temperature. Regular mulching will improve the appearance of your yard, reduce your landscape maintenance and help you cut down on costs.
3. Use barrier cloth or landscape fabric
To save yourself the trouble of regular weeding, use landscape fabric to keep weeds at bay. Landscape fabric, also known as weed-control fabric, will help you prevent erosion and protect the soil. This technique is helpful when controlling weeds during the planting period for annuals. You will get the most from landscape fabric by combining it with regular mulching.
4. Use drip irrigation or an automatic irrigation system
Drip irrigation is preferable to sprinkler systems because they do not waste water as sprinkler systems do. Drip irrigation systems deliver water where it is needed; to the root of plants. Adding an automatic irrigation system (maybe, a timer for the drip irrigation system) will further reduce your labor cost, water bill, and soil erosion due to runoff.
5. Involve your tenants
Making tenants partly responsible for looking after the yard will reduce your costs, make your work easier and improve results. But you can only do this if your rental is a single-family home, and even then, there is a limit to how much landscaping maintenance you can expect tenants to do.