15 No-Effort Plants for a Foolproof Landscape

What homeowner wouldn't want a lush and colorful garden just outside the window? But while a garden definitely boosts your home's curb appeal, it also claims a lot of your free time. There's no such thing as a maintenance-free garden, but choosing smarter plantings does cut down on the amount of pruning and watering required. So, the next time you plant, try some of these lovely options that take care of themselves. Then get ready to enjoy your new landscaping—from the comfort of your porch swing.

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  1. Ribbon Grass


    Though it does best with moist soil and partial sun, pest- and disease-free ribbon grass thrives in Zones 4 to 9, in virtually any growing scenario—full sun or shade, wet soil or dry. Though it rarely gets taller than one foot, ribbon grass quickly spreads across even steeply sloped terrain, either to your frustration or delight, depending on your aims. Available on Amazon; $19.99.

    Related: 7 Popular Ground Covers to Enhance Any Yard


  2. Forsythia


    Forsythias are early bloomers whose yellow flowers signal the start of spring. To ensure your forsythia is in top form, you'll want to prune the bush occasionally and plant it in full sunlight. Available at Home Depot; $17.99.

    Related: Early Bloomers—7 Spring Flowers Bringing Color NOW to a Yard Near You!


  3. Hosta


    The low-maintenance, shade-tolerant hosta needs a steady supply of moisture but will thrive in almost every soil type. They grow best in Zones 2 through 10 and benefit greatly from morning sun. Water in the morning to prevent the leaves from getting burned by the sun, and keep the plant hydrated throughout the day as needed. Available at Burpee.com; $15.95.


  4. Texas Ranger


    The vibrant lavender, purple, and magenta blooms of a Texas ranger may look like they take some work to care for—but we won't tell the neighbors your secret. This hardy plant is built to survive on little water, so all you need to do is plant it in full sunlight, and water during the summers or in times of drought. Available on Amazon; $19.98.

    Related: How To: Plant a Bush


  5. Yew


    There's a reason why these evergreen shrubs are a popular choice for borders and entryways. Their tolerance for drought coupled with their ability to adapt to almost any soil type makes for easy care. Yews thrive in partial to full sun in Zones 4 to 8 and reward you with beautiful (but inedible) fruits in early autumn. Available at Home Depot; $36.98.

    Related: 10 Evergreens to Beautify Your Garden Year-Round


  6. Black-Eyed Susan


    These drought-tolerant flowers look bright and chipper even in the sweltering summer heat, which makes them a great choice for the forgetful gardener. Black-eyed Susans will attract butterflies to your garden, but they also entice deer and rabbits, so plant them near repellant (and easy-care) plants like lavender or rosemary. Tend to your black-eyed Susans by planting them in full sun or partial shade, then watering and deadheading as needed. Available at Burpee.com; $4.95.

    Related: Quick Tip—Keep Cut Flowers Fresh Longer


  7. Bottlebrush Buckeye


    In Zones 5 to 9, bottlebrush buckeye does well in full sun or deep shade, so long as it gets enough water. Disease-free and rarely needing a prune, the slow-growing shrub can reach an impressive height of about 15 feet. In late spring and summer, its white blooms attract attention from birds, while in autumn, its lush foliage turns a beautiful gold. Available on Amazon; $6.00.

    Related: How To: Plant a Shrub


  8. Fescue


    Homeowners have long turned to fescue as a drought-resistant alternative to traditional grass. If you're not ready to make the switch, try it out in your garden bed instead. Available at Home Depot; $34.98.

    Related: No More Mowing—10 Grass-Free Alternatives to a Traditional Lawn


  9. Bergenia


    You can count on bergenia to grow in almost any condition, sunny or shaded, and its dark, broad leaves bring beauty to the yard. If you want yours to flower, be sure to position them in full sun to increase the chance of pink and magenta blooms in spring. Available on Amazon; $5.49. 


  10. Sedge


    With a variety of different sizes, textures, and growing requirements, sedge is an ideal alternative to turf lawns. These low-maintenance plants thrive in Zones 7 to 10, whether in partial or full shade, and require little to no mowing, fertilizing, or watering. Available at Burpee.com; $11.95.


  11. Gold Thread Cypress


    Gold Thread Cypress is a low-maintenance shrub perfect for both foundation and accent plantings. It’s got a compact habit and is slow growing, so it requires very little pruning. Despite its exceptional golden color, it is evergreen, and will shine bright in your landscape all year long. Available on Amazon; $29.99.

    Related: Living Fences: 11 Boundary-Setting Solutions


  12. Creeping Sedum


    Varieties of creeping sedum, also known as stonecrop, have gained popularity in recent years. They can tolerate poor soil, drought, and general neglect, and will come back year after year. These succulents come in every color from bluish-gray to reddish-bronze, and can find a home in most any garden. Available at Burpee.com; $12.95.

    Related: 12 Expert Tips for Eye-Catching Front Yard Landscaping


  13. Coreopsis


    A perennial bloomer, Coreopsis will delight you with color from early summer to early fall. In colors like yellow, orange, pink, purple, and red, Coreopsis makes wonderful cut flowers that can be enjoyed inside as well as out. It’s an easy grower, and tolerates most any soil condition. Available at Burpee.com; $10.95.

    Related: Pass on Grass: 7 Reasons to Landscape with Gravel


  14. Indian Hawthorn


    A small and slow-growing evergreen shrub, Indian Hawthorn stays neat and tidy without pruning. It’s not fussy about soil, and once established, it will tolerate moderate drought. It bursts forth in spring with pink or white clusters of flowers, which give way to dark blue berries that attract birds and other wildlife the rest of the year. Available at Home Depot; $39.98.

    Related: 9 Bright and Colorful Houseplants You Can't Kill


  15. Dianthus


    Related to the carnation, Dianthus comes in multiple varieties, so there’s one for nearly every garden scenario. It has abundant flowers and is long blooming for a delightful display all summer long. Some varieties are even perennial, and it will self-sow easily. Once planted, it needs little tending to put on a good show. Available at Burpee.com; $12.95.

    Related: The Best 10 Plants to Grow for Backyard Privacy


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