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Anyone else remove all landscaping? I.e. Plants & shrubs? Bad idea?

3 years ago
last modified: 3 years ago

We bought a house where the previous owner seemed to spend far more time caring for the outside than he did the inside. We received a few quotes on having some shrubs pulled out in front of our house and several landscapers have noted that the previous owner spent "A LOT of money on plants".. And he spent a lot of time caring for them too! I am not able physically to take on the demands required and neither is my husband. He also doesn't have the time to keep up with landscaping, even if he could. We have "black thumbs" and really have no interest in maintaining a garden or plants.

Major issues:

1) The front of house is where the septic is located. When we had it pumped the septic company was shocked that there was a huge shrub that was planted directly over one of the covers. He said not only is that bad for the septic because roots could grow into the system, but it would also be bad if God forbid they ever needed to access that cover because it would be very costly to have the septic company remove it. Not to mention it would be a hassle if it needed to be removed and in emergency type situation. There are 8 shrubs (one of which the landscapers tell me is "very invasive" aka bad to grow above septic) planted directly on top of the septic tank! And *knock on wood* this hasn't been a problem for the previous owner (that we know of), we don't want to take chances and also we don't want to maintain all the shrubs and flowers.

2) shrubs are far too close to the foundation. We don't like this because it could cause cracks/foundation damage, but also (and more importantly to us at the moment) we don't want to deal with the bugs and insects attracted to these shrubs/plants

3) front of house gets direct sunlight pretty much all day and we're told by neighbor's that previous owner spent a fortune trying to water and keep up with all the landscaping. That is not our cup of tea! Nor is it in our budget

we found a landscaper to remove all the shrubs for good price. It would leave a tree and some flowers on the side of the house (opposite side of the septic) which would also act as a privacy/land divider barrier between us and the neighbor's so we are OK with leaving that since it is low maintenance

Does anyone have ideas on making a home look nice and welcoming if it has no shrubs or flowers in front of it? My husband plans to mulch the area where the shrubs were. He wants to add a rock border along the mulch. Put either a bird bath or some type of faux rock feature on top of the septic covers.

He was thinking perhaps we could put a large potted plant on the side of the front steps? On top of the mulch? That way the pot adds some visual appeal and we can choose to plant a low mainentance flower inside of the flower pot.

Husband also mentioned adding a stone pathway from the front steps to the driveway so that the front yard isn't completely bare. Would it look odd to only have a mulched area with no shrubs or plants in front of a home?

Im just wondering if we are committing a design sin by removing all the shrubbery and plants? lol I fear we'll regret doing it but I know it's the best thing for us...

Comments (105)

  • baileysr
    If you don't have $500 for your landscaping, then just trim what you have and start reading up and building idea books of styles and things you like. And save up your money until you have at least a few thousand dollars to get yourself on a new design path. I'd be surprised if someone can rip out what you have for $500, but even if they could, remember you will need a lot more than that to destabilize the mess left behind after a landscaping gut job. I've been there and done that; ripped out all my landscaping and had to wait a few months to redo a new one, so I know first hand what you have to deal with after a major rip-out job. This summer is getting kind of late anyway to do anything; spend the rest of the summer and all winter saving money and starting to think about a plan, and maybe by next summer you can invest in a professional landscape design (you really need professional help!!!), and begin its implementation.
  • SandyC.
    $500 to remove all landscaping sounds like a low ball offer. Are these guys licensed and insured? Are they removing all roots with a backhoe? Removing all debris? Please remember you get what you pay for.
    Save your money until you can afford to relandscape with drought tolerant, low maintenance plants. No matter what you do it will be thousands.
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    Plantings too close to the house can undermine the foundation by bringing moisture, termites, infestations, sill rot, mold and a whole host of other problems. Planting should be at LEAST 3-4 feet away from the house and two feet out from any overhang so the plants can get water. In areas where termites and ground hogs are prevalent, it is suggested that you put nice stone behind the planting to prevent such issues. Also by bringing the plants forward you will give the house plantings "depth" which is what you are complaining does not looking right. No matter how small the plant, they need room to grow. This is the number ONE mistake made by homeowners. If you just pull you plants away from the house they will look better and I agree, you need to curve the beds, stagger the plants versus lining them up in a row. By staggering I mean, plant them zig zagged and they will look correct. I know it is a leap of faith - but I know of what I speak and I can post picture of my landscape which looks correct. I had an argument with the landscaper I hired who thought I was crazy for pulling the plants out so far, but after we were done - he said I was correct and now he follows the rule unless a homeowner insists otherwise. This is a rule you learn when you become a Master Gardener and true horticulturists will follow.
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  • lhutch13
    No offense, I have never heard of shrub roots damaging a foundation. Unless it's a huge pin oak planted right next to the house, the roots from those shrubs are not going to crack a concrete wall. Planting 6-8ft from the foundation is also a little silly.

    When I moved into my house, the previous owners had some high maintenance landscaping, pine needle mulch, etc. we reconfigured to make it less maintenance, but ripping out all your landscaping will devalue your house. And containers and pot require twice as much watering as normal landscaping.
  • smileythecat

    Lets see get a plan, take it slow. When you get rid of one thing something usually less desirable takes its place, gotta plan for that. You really do need professional help like a number of posters have mentioned. The picture you posted doesn't seem to indicate a great deal of maintenance maybe live with it for a year and see then what changes could be made.

  • funkybunch0

    Wow what a huge difference with the landscape designer. He was so nice and informative. He does agree that all but 1 bush has got to go. But he said some native perrenials would be best to replace. And he will also regrade the front after ripping up. He is going to calculate a price and get back to us.

  • Tribbletrouble44152k7 Trek

    Funky bunch, are you saying the landscape designer was different from the posters here? I think they've been extremely informative.

  • C F

    I think she means compared to the landscape architect who wanted to charge before giving any info?

  • SandyC.
    This designer will charge once they go forward and use him for design work. It will be money well spent, IMHO.
  • C F

    Definitely money well spent, but it will surely top $500. I spent $400 just to remove one 4 year old juniper.

  • SandyC.
    It will be in the thousands I'm sure. Then there's the new plants, grading, hardscaping etc.
    Oh the joys of homeownership!
  • suezbell

    Massive amounts of mulch in places sun reaches is a BAD idea -- even if you add the fabric that is supposed to inhibit weed growth. Dust and decomposing mulch create "soil" atop the fabric and you end up needing to weed and/or mow anyway.

    You did not mention the size of your tract of land.

    If you have a city or subdivision lot, this works really well; or, if you have a larger tract of land, designating your "yard" from the rest of the land by doing this works, budget permitting, of course:

    If you don't have a fence on your property line already, draw a line just inside the property line all around your lot -- left and right side and back -- with paving stones with the tops of the stones ground level. That will mark the line for you (and leave a place for your neighbor's mower wheel). As you dig for placing the paving stones, till an area 3' - 4' deep in preparation for moving the shrubs to along the property line as well.

    Have all the like kinds of shrubs trimmed to the same height. Add fabric designed to inhibit weed growth placed atop the ground before and/or as you plant the shrubs along the inside of property line.

    As you move all the shrubs to the right and left edge and along the back property line of your property or yard (to act as a natural fence just inside the property line (or to designate the yard you intend to maintain and let the rest be natural woods), place the tallest growing shrubs at the back of the property line.

    Add mulch all around the shrubs and from that paving stone line in the back to a point parallel with that row of paving stones (or fence) and then outline the front of that planting area with a row of paving stones for your own mower wheel.

    Use the same paving stones, with tops at ground level, around any side(s) of whatever flower bed)s) you choose to leave or to enclose those sides of the flower bed(s) not bordered by the house or porch or sidewalk or driveway, etc.. Put any bird bath or post for brackets for hanging baskets and/or solar lights within an enclosure of these paving stones as well.

    Use the same paving stones to create a square or circle or octagon or rectangle several feet away from any tree(s) you're leaving.

    By doing this, you hold for yourselves both the beauty of and all the resale value the prior owner invested in the shrubs for landscaping and yet you substantially reduce your work for maintaining the yard -- you reduce your yard maintenance work to riding a riding lawn mower to mow open spaces up to a row of paving stones -- stones on which you can set your riding lawn mower as you mow ...

    ... because, especially if you've spaced the shrubs well, you can decide to let the shrubs grow naturally rather than trim them.

    In the remaining open space, perhaps adjacent to the flower bed(s) you intend to leave, or beneath the shade of the tree(s) you intend to leave or at the most convenient location, you have the option to create a patio with or outlined by the same paving stones as well.

    Note: If you are DIY kind of people, You probably could save a considerable amount of the cost of moving the shrubs and still do so in order to be able to save yourselves a lot of work later if you rent the tiller to till the soil for the places to transplant the shrubs and if you have a vehicle with a trailer hitch and a chain you can use to pull up the shrubs yourselves after tilling as close as possible without damaging them. If some of the shrubs are already along the property line, this could require some planning to do the work in stages.

    Do use a chain rather than a flexible cable that will snap back like a rubber band and shoot the shrubs as they are pulled out -- probably toward you.

    Note: Your landscaper probably gave you a good price for the removal of the shrubs because he intends to re-sell them for a hefty profit.

    funkybunch0 thanked suezbell
  • funkybunch0

    I was saying the landscape designer today was much more knowledgable than the landscapers that gave us quotes already. The designer did agree with several posters here that perrenials could work for the space above the septic however he also said that if we are looking for low maintenance and something that we can easily move aside in the event the tank needs to be accessed, then plants would not be an answer. Said he was going to brainstorm some ideas of what we could put over there that won't break the bank but also look nice and is easily removable in the event the tank needs to be accessed. He said most don't have septic tank in a front lawn, so it makes it trickier than someone who has a tank in the backyard with just grass on top.

    The landscape architect that cost $500 is out of reach for us, financially. This other guy today- a "designer"- seemed to be much more knowledgeable than your run of the mill landscaper

  • baileysr
    I'm so glad you're connected with a professional designer that you seem comfortable with! Indeed, landscapers and nurseries who do "design" work often do a poor job. A real landscape designer should be able to give you a great and workable plan. Good luck!
    funkybunch0 thanked baileysr
  • Kathi Steele

    Honestly, no matter what you do, a yard requires a minimum of 8 hours of work per week....cutting the grass, weeding, trimming, weeding, edging, weeding, deadheading, weeding, fertilizing, weeding, mulching, weeding, moving plants that have grown too close, weeding. Did I mention weeding???

    The bigger the lot, the time increases exponentially. It is the equivalent to what you do inside the house (dusting, sweeping, laundry, dishes, cooking), only outside. It is the expectation of homeownership.

    If you are unable to do that, then you need to seriously consider removing all of the planting beds and let the grass grow. Plant a couple of trees and be done with it.

    Each planting bed will need about an hour per week of tending. (depending on the size of course.)

    If this is something your family cannot or does not want to do, then rip all out and plant grass. Planting beds take time.

    It should not really be a chore. It should be an act of love!!

  • Tribbletrouble44152k7 Trek

    I think you should flip the house, leave the garden largely intact except the shrub over the septic, remove that. Sell.

    Downsize to a place with no garden, or one in a HOA where it's done for you.

    Dont spend a lot of money on a house with a garden, when it's not your interest in life, and neither of you have the time or physical abilities.

    houzzers can help you stage the house to sell.

  • funkybunch0

    I do like the idea of putting grass down instead of any type of plant. Then we could do a mulch area on the right side where the septic is and the left side would have the tree with flowers underneath it, so there would be some balance there.

  • funkybunch0

    Sell the house? That would cost us thousands. And I'm not sure the value has even increased that much seeing as we recently purchased it. It would be cheaper to rip things out, make it work for us and our lifestyle than to potentially lose thousands of dollars by selling. We like the house a lot (otherwise we wouldn't have bought it to begin with). The main downside is right now the landscaping isn't working so we will fix that to make it work for us.

    Ive never heard of a lawn needing the equivalent amount of time as a workday each week. I just asked my aunt how much time they spend on their yard (which is beautifully landscaped) and she said they mow it once a week (less than 2 hours) or once every other week. They trim some bushes once in the spring and again in the fall. Said that only takes a few hours. They walk outside to turn a sprinkler on/off 2x daily (10 mins time total for entire day). She said they spray weed killer (about 20 mins worth of time) 2x a year. Then they rip up the weeds and spread mulch which she doesn't do but said my uncle spend a few hours doing that and he does it once, maybe twice a year. She said on the weeks she mows her lawn she is guessing it's only about 2.5 hours total spent caring for it if you include the time spent turning sprinkler on/off. Interestingly, in sharing this story with her she told me how they ripped up landscaping when they purchased their home and did the same thing we plan to do- scaled back and only did what was necessary that required extremely minimal work.

    Looking back lack I don't recall my parents spending a significant amount of time landscaping. It was just the usual. Mowing during warm months and raking leaves in the fall. I know they had a few easy to maintain plants (probably going to butcher the name, but Hostas? I think they're called?) that needed the sprinkler aimed at them...

    ETA-- I certainly appreciate all of the feedback you have given. Everyone has been very insightful, and I am so glad I got some mor I certainly appreciate all of the feedback you have given. Everyone has been very insightful, and I am so glad I got another opinion, and will be getting another quote tomorrow. I feel like your average homeowner is able to dedicate more time, money, and effort to landscaping their house. And that is awesome for them, I am sure most people on this forum fall into that category so the fact that I don't want to live up to that standard may seem bizarre or stray from the norm. But at the end of the day we don't want to give up an excellent house because the current landscaping doesn't work. We'll find a way to make it work for us :)

  • PRO
    John J. O'Brien | Inspired Living, by design

    A trend in the Pacific Northwest is to use native plantings in an urban forest scape. This requires little maintenance because it is intended to look natural. However, some people feel it looks unkempt (as I feel it sometimes does). Certain shrubs suited to your climate, planted in a repeated pattern, provides order.

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    Life in a single family home does not suit your requirements. If several hours a week is ''too much work'' and $500 is ''too much money" then you need to move back into an apartment. Sure, you'll lose some money. But less money than you'll lose by annihilating the landscape and tanking the value of the home. $500 is peanuts compared to what landscaping the house would cost, or putting in green concrete, since that is what it seems you expect from your surroundings.

    If $500 is out of your budget, what are you doing for all of the required home maintenance that you need to deal with on the interior? Did you have the HVAC serviced this spring? Did you do the annual draining and flushing of the water heater? Did you clean the gutters? Re-caulk the windows and other penetrations? Etc.

    Some people just don't have what it takes to be homeowners.

  • Tribbletrouble44152k7 Trek

    Let a gardener own that plot. If you can't afford to flip the house, how can you afford to redo the garden? I'm a gardener, I employ every money saving, but it still costs $$$!

  • funkybunch0

    I'm not going to discuss our finances on a public forum. But I will say this-- Just because someone doesn't have $500 to dedicate to making a lawn landscaped to someone else's desires doesn't mean that a person can't afford it or doesn't have the $500, it could simply mean there isn't additional $500 in th landscaping budget to waste on consults when we already know what we want, or could get ideas for free in books at library, online, etc.... Perhaps we feel the $500 is better suited saving for a different home repair. Just because you think it's best to put towards landscaping consults doesn't mean I do. It's like the people who say installing laminate countertops are a waste of $$ compared to granite. Well not everyone wants granite or to upkeep it, even though nowadays you can score granite for the same price if not cheaper than laminate; same goes with landscaping. It's all in the eye of the beholder on what is best. Furthermore, if I truly didn't have the $500 how could I suddenly have thousands of dollars to spent on realtors commission and closing costs? That doesn't make sense. We love our home, and enjoy making it our own. Just because one aspect (the landscaping) isn't working out exactly as planned doesn't mean we should scrap the whole house. I wasn't asking if I should flip my house. I was asking for design advice and how to make minimalistic landscape design work. To say some people aren't cut out to be homeowners because they don't want to maintain gardening the way you do is foolish. We could be perfectly content with grass and minimal or no plants to maintain. What works for us may not work for you.

    Many have offered great advice in regards to designing and making the space work. Thank you for that

  • robin701

    If your aunt's house is beautifully landscaped, and upkeep involves little time and expense, perhaps you should replicate what she did.

  • GreenDesigns

    Thinking that you could redo the landscaping that is there without a truly substantial expense is naïveté of a first time homeowner speaking. Homeownership has many demands on your time and money.

    Usually at least the dollar amount of your house note gets spent (or saved in preparation for being spent) on maintenance and improvement. The time demands of home care are similar to at least one and a half workday per week. More if you have a large house or lot.

    If you are not prepared to pay for the privilege of owning that home with caring for it properly then perhaps that condo would have been a much better choice. You would still pay monetarily for the exterior work, but that would just leave the internal time and money investment for you to deal with.

  • SandyC.
    Homeownership does not only include purchase price, mortgage, insurance etc, but maintenance and repairs. There is always something that needs fixing or replacing. You need a lot of reserves for repairs and upkeep.
  • funkybunch0

    Who said I didn't expect a substantial expense?? I was saying a $500 consult is not in our budget. We can't afford to spend $500 on a consult in addition to what we plan to do. I did say we don't have the money to upkeep with the landscaping- meaning in it's current state we cannot afford to pay a landscaper to come and maintain it. However that's the entire point of my post- we want to make it work for *us* and not be slaves to keeping up with what the former owner or other people would look nice

    I'm really appalled at the pretentious response saying we aren't going to "care for it properly" when I stated several times I have no intent of letting my property go to shambles. What a snarky thing to say! Just because YOU feel it would be a "privilege" to own a house with the current landscaping doesn't mean my desire to change it is wrong. Is it a design sin to remove majority of our landscaping? Frowned upon to scale back? Sure. Perhaps. Depends on who you ask. But different strokes for different folks. I remember growing up there was a house that sold in our neighborhood. The new owners painted the siding PINK and put up a tall privacy fence in their front yard. Was this the norm for the neighborhood? No. Does that mean the new owners shouldn't have purchased the house because they didn't want to be "privileged" with living in a neighborhood where majority of the homes didn't have fences or bright colored siding? No! Of course not. They are allowed to do what they want. They liked privacy and liked the color pink. More power to them for doing what worked for them.

    If you feel so strongly that we "don't deserve the privilege" of living here since the current landscaping doesn't work for us, feel free to give me an address of where I can send the landscaping bill. Because by all means if anyone wants to pay for that I'm all for keeping it (minus the shrubs directly on top of the septic). While your at it feel free to pay my mortgage! ;)

  • funkybunch0

    SandyC, I know and agree. That's why we aren't going to blow $500 on a consult when we already have a vision in mind and a long term plan for how to make the landscaping better suit our lifestyle.

  • einportlandor

    Boy, this really ran off the rails, didn't it?

    Funky, it's your house and you can do what you want. Reading between the lines I think many posters here believe you will regret rushing into wholesale plant removal. It's great you found someone to work with who will help guide you towards your low maintenance goal. Just take your time, ok? No one wants to see you make an expensive mistake. If you're feeling overwhelmed or rushed, hire a mow and blow company to take care of the yard for the next couple of months while you figure it out.

    Good luck with your landscaping project, Funky. And congratulations on your new home.

    funkybunch0 thanked einportlandor
  • SandyC.
    Get several quotes and designs.
    Are you using someone who is highly recommended, do they have references? Take you time, as this is going to be a huge expense.
    There are many who will not pay for an interior designer because they have a vision for their home. There's so much that can go wrong, as you read on all of the Houzz design dilemmas, lol.
    A professional IMHO saves you money in the long run, be it for interior or exterior design.
    Good luck with your project :)
    funkybunch0 thanked SandyC.
  • funkybunch0

    Einportlandor, thank you. I do appreciate all of the genuine, thoughtful responses. For now the plan is to take up the bushes above the septic, mulch, and wait till next year to address the rest. It was the snarky, pretentious responses that irked me. I've yet to encounter that type of negativity on this website. People tend to be very informative and supportive, and for the most part everyone who commented was (even if they didn't agree with my desires, they gave me a lot to ponder and take into consideration).

  • Tribbletrouble44152k7 Trek

    Michi, won't the comments open for you?

  • shari13

    funkybunch0 - I just wanted to say stick to your guns and don't let a few snarky replies bother you. It is your house and you are doing your best to be informed and make a plan that works for you - which is far more than a lot of people ever do.

    I live in a desert where rocks are more common than grass but I will say they are perhaps more work than I expected. I don't mind dealing with a few weeds but I find any dropped leaf litter rather irritating as it messes with my perfectionist side and you do need to add new rocks periodically as they seem to sink into the ground. Plus they are not great to walk on if you have kids or pets. I realize you will not be using a yard full of them if you add any but do make sure to get advice on rock size and consider some rock colors may leave red "dirt" to be tracked in on paws, etc.

    funkybunch0 thanked shari13
  • ladma
    You can plant over the tank, just not the clean out cover access. I showed you mine earlier. My neighbor's tank has in the same set up as yours, in the front yard, next to the driveway. She has a few ornamental grasses, some Stella doro lilies, Shasta daisies, and a decorative pot over the clean out.
  • baileysr
    Funky, nobody suggested spending $500 on a "consult." Many people suggested $500 in getting a real plan from a professional landscape designer. Given your lack of experience (this is not a criticism, just an observation....we are all inexperienced in many things) would be money extremely well spent. I read every one of these comments and quite frankly I do not read anything snarky. There are many snarky threads on Houzz and this is not one of them. I read many people telling you that your original ideas were not practical. I thought you were on a good path when you said you were working with a designer, but then you turned around and said you already had your plan and you weren't spending any money. So at this point I have no idea where you're going. I've done the best I could to respectfully but clearly offer you perspective from someone who is much more experienced than you. At this point it is clear from your responses that you have stopped listening, so I am bowing out of this thread. Good luck.
  • RubyRoses
    I'm glad you found a good designer to give you advice. Many who call themselves landscapers are simply mowers. There are plenty of shrub and plant options that are low maitenance. The new plants will need regular watering but once established will be fine with minimal care. Decorative grasses as many have mentioned are great..have a mower cut them back in spring or fall for you, that's it. There are good low maitenance shrubs, false cypress comes to mind. Some easy low maitenance flowers would be nepeta, cone flower, Siberia iris.
  • C F

    tedbixby, OP did post a comment with some photos, but it seems to be missing now.

  • funkybunch0

    $500 would only get a consultation. He said he works on a fee-for-service basis and would only give design advice if we hired him. The $500 is for him to come out and discuss his portfolio, what types of services he can offer for us, takes pictures of our house and surveys the land. Sure, that may be a good starting point for some but not for us considering the $500 goes over what we want to spend/have budgeted already.

    Maybe I was unclear in my response- I had a plan to have a minimal landscape for our front yard. The landscape designer yesterday agrees that'd be best and will work with me on that. Many people were trying to encourage me keep the shrubs or find a way to have a landscape architect make them work. I appreciate that and can understand why that suggestion was made; if I thought that within the next 5-10 years our lifestyle would change and allow more time/energy/money to be allocated to landscaping then I'd agree that the $500 consult would be worth the investment. But I know me. I know my family. I know what will/won't work for us. So keeping things simple and easy (my original plan) is best.

    The previous landscapers had focused on ripping out everything, and didn't really offer me any guidance or advice. I'm so glad everyone here encouraged me to make a few more consultations because that's how we connected with the awesome designer we met yesterday. He not only will work with our vision of minimal/easy landscaping but he will do as little or as much as we want AND he mentioned things like re-grading the land (which the other landscapers hadn't).

    Im sorry but to ever tell a person that they don't deserve the privilege to live somewhere is extremely rude and snarky. Our mortgage company certainly had no issues thinking we'd be just fine here ;) and to make such an inflammatory remark because I want a minimalistic look vs maintaining what's there is asinine and pretentious. It adds nothing of value to the conversation. I'm all for constructive criticism but those snarky remarks were out of line. My husband busts his behind working hard for our family and is a veteran. To anyone who agrees with the snark... Well, IMO to insinuate my husband hasn't done enough to "deserve the privilege" of living here is comical- thank him for your freedom to express your views in this forum (assuming you're American).

  • Maureen

    I always find Google Images are very helpful and find the visuals speak a thousand words and the Low maintenance front lawn Landscaping link is below. You can't get much more maintenance free as the idea below. There is another site if you remove the reference to front lawns, which include backyard ideas. There is also really helpful advice and images and forums re: plantings over a septic and picture below is a good idea I think. Research is the key and look for ideas that best resemble your home's yard for more appropriate ideas - will also help when you are having discussions with the person you are working with. All the best in your home.

    funkybunch0 thanked Maureen
  • Kathi Steele

    Maureen, great idea! Great link also.

  • drbarb03
    @funkybunch0 I am glad you found a designer you can work with. (No, you don't need to move, but you do need to learn about your options before making decisions because there are awesome ones out there that will save you in all the ways you need!). I want to reiterate that grass is actually harder, more time-consuming, and more expensive to maintain than other plants, so do consider a few native perennials to add some interest. I have a bed of hostas, coral bells, and lemon balm on the side. We mulched at first. Once it filled in (about two years), it became zero maintenance (not even water). This year (year 8 or 9) I am thinning a couple of the hostas, but that's it. They shade out weeds, so I pluck maybe five or so weeds per year. Another area has natives such as daisy and black eyed susan. Those spread and fill. No water, no weeding, pretty garden! Keep us up to date on what you come up with with the designer!
  • Alison
    I just wanted to say congrats on the new home and I'm happy you weathered some of the atrocious comments in stride. I'm glad you found someone to help you. We just bought a new home and it's a bit different as we are doing a new build but we will be changing almost all of the existing landscaping to why suits our needs and time. I don't think there is anything at all wrong with that :)
    funkybunch0 thanked Alison
  • shari13

    People are often odd about plants anyway. I removed a tree from my own back yard earlier this year (due to issues with the fence) but my neighbor scolded me for "murdering" a "beautiful" tree. I told her to plant one in her yard. . . .

  • tfitz1006

    Can the other two in your family of four help out? My son was mowing the lawn (and doing his wash) by age ten. I taught my girls how to help with weeding at young ages too.

  • partim

    I would compare high-maintenance landscaping to buying a house with a white carpet. Maybe it looks good, but not everybody wants to put the work in to keep it looking good.

    Personally I love to garden, but hate to vacuum. A white carpet would be out of my house before I even moved in!

  • Louise Gee

    I know I'm late to this party, but I just wanted to comment that we also moved to a new house surrounded by overgrown shrubs that needed lots of trimming and maintenance. The previous owner had let them grow almost to the eves because he was unable to keep up with them. The mosquitoes just loved those shrubs, too! So we had them all removed as soon as we moved in. We have not yet replaced them, but will slowly add low maintenance plants as we can. In the meantime, we have had so many compliments from our neighbors!! They all thought it was high time that the old landscape was removed and look forward to seeing what improvements we will make. Right now it looks a little bare, but neat and tidy. I hope you found a good solution for you and your husband!

  • olya_zweifel

    I was told that it is a must to ha e bushes/shrubs by a house to absorb water from the ground, so it doesn't get to your basement.. We 'sealed the basement, but im still wondering how true that is??? I HATE the previous owner's shrubs and cant wait to see them go!

  • partim

    @olya_zweifel No, that is not true. Your land must slope away from the house so that it does not pool against the wall. Any plant roots will make no difference.

  • dpreed

    We inherited my childhood home. My Dad's hobby and idea of relaxing was to spend almost every evening and all weekend outside tending to his many different flower beds. He loved it. They looked beautiful. He was retired. Now comes my hubby and myself. We each work over 50 hours per week. The grass gets mowed in the evenings, and (some) of the weeds get pulled on the weekends, but I seriously cannot spend every moment I have outside tending to these beautiful flower beds. They are getting the best of me! I could literally walk around the property every weekend and find weeds to pull, flowers to dead head, bushes to trim, etc. And I'm doing it....for now. We are trying to honor his legacy, but honestly, it's not our hobby or idea of a relaxing way to spend our time off work. I want our landscaping to look nice, but we could surely do without a flower bed or two. Bless his heart for being an avid gardener. He knew what he was doing and he loved it. I'm clueless and I don't love it. There are at least 12 different areas that he created...with flowers and bushes and they aren't tiny. He kept a calendar in his garage to remember what to spray or fertilize. The shelves in the outdoor shed could rival the best gardening centers' selection of plant care products. So, I'm saying...I feel for you funkybunch0. It's not my lifestyle either. We are slowly trying to find a way to make it less overwhelming and simplify things a bit. And hopefully Dad will be looking down from above and be understanding of the changes we need to make going forward.

  • tqtqtbw

    You can list you unwanted plants on Craigs List and happy gardeners will dig them up and give them a new home.

  • D C

    It irks me to no end when people plant trees, shrubs, perennials or whatever and then just expect them to take care of themselves. It would look better if people like that just planted nothing. Overgrown messes look awful and no one wants to live next to that.

    Just had to get that off my chest!

  • M Johnson

    Dear FunkyBunch0.. I say do what works for you and your budget. I noticed that comments on this site range from ultra bourgeois to down to earth. IMHO opinions and/or comments should be helpful and not mean or malicious. Everyone that is a homeowner is not "well off" just as everyone that is "well off" is not a homeowner.

    We just bought and are waiting to see what the previous owner has in the garden before we make a decision about what to do with it.

    I attached some pictures:

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