25 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 low maintenance landscaping—from the comfort of your porch swing.

  1. Ribbon Grass

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    Ribbon Grass Low Maintenance Landscaping

    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 Etsy; $44.99.


    Related: 7 Popular Ground Covers to Enhance Any Yard

    flickr.com/disneyite

  2. Forsythia

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    Forsythia Bush Low Maintenance Landscaping

    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 The Home Depot; $14.99.

    flickr.com/photommo

  3. Vinca Minor (Periwinkle)

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    Vinca Minor (Periwinkle)

    Also called periwinkle, vinca minor is one of the most low maintenance flowering plants you could ever plant in your garden. This trailing variety is used as a ground cover to suppress weeds and add evergreen beauty. The plant produces purple blooms throughout spring and summer. Available at Burpee.com; $14.69 for six plants.

    Related: The Best Low-Maintenance Ground Covers for Your Garden

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  4. Texas Ranger

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    Texas Ranger Plant Low Maintenance Shrubs

    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 at Lowe's; $7.98.

    flickr.com/kretyen

  5. Yew

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    Yew Shrub Low Maintenance Shrubs

    There's a reason why these evergreen low maintenance 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 The Home Depot; $35.92.

    Related: 25 Plants for Your Easiest Garden Ever

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  6. Barberry

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    Barberry Shrub

    There's a reason you see this shrub in many corporate landscaping schemes: Barberry is extremely low maintenance, yet it stuns with seasonal color. Ideal for foundation plantings or hedges, barberry can tolerate many soil types. The plant needs occasional pruning, but not much more than that in the way of regular care. Available on Amazon; $16.98.

    istockphoto.com

  7. Bottlebrush Buckeye

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    Bottlebrush Buckeye Low Maintenance Shrubs

    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 low maintenance shrubs 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 Etsy; $21.95.

    Related: 9 of the Best Shrubs for Any Garden

    flickr.com/lblanchard

  8. Fescue

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    Fescue Grass Low Maintenance Landscaping

    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 Burpee.com; $4.19 for one packet of 150 seeds.

    fotosearch.com

  9. Bergenia

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    Bergenia Low Maintenance Shrubs

    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 Etsy; $19.95. 

    flickr.com/rachelgreenbelt

  10. Ajuga

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    Ajuga Ground Cover

    For gardeners who want a colorful garden but don't have time to tend to it, just about any ground cover will do—but ajuga, with its glossy leaves, is an especially interesting choice. Available in a range of colors from green to burgundy, ajuga is a creeping plant that will spread if you don't control it, so be mindful of where you place it. Available at Burpee.com; $9.38.

    Related: 10 Fast-Growing Plants for (Almost) Instant Curb Appeal

    istockphoto.com

  11. Gold Thread Cypress

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    Gold Thread Cypress Low Maintenance Shrub

    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; $34.99.


    Related: 12 Fast-Growing Shrubs to Plant This Fall

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  12. Blue Mist Spirea (Bluebeard)

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    Blue Mist Spirea (Bluebeard)

    Heat-resistant, drought-resistant and deer-resistant, this hardy pollinator plant does well in full sun to partial shade. The low-maintenance shrub sends forth blue flowers in summer, and needs little more than seasonal pruning to keep it growing strong. Available on Amazon; $12.95.

    istockphoto.com

  13. Coreopsis

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    Coreopsis Low Maintenance Landscaping

    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; $12.59.

    istockphoto.com

  14. Indian Hawthorn

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    Indian Hawthorn Low Maintenance Landscaping

    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 The Home Depot; $32.98.


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

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  15. Dianthus

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    Dianthus Low Maintenance Landscaping

    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; $14.95.


    Related: The Best 10 Plants to Grow for Backyard Privacy

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  16. Mondo Grass

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    Mondo Grass

    Whether your garden beds lie on the sunny side or the shady side of the house, black mondo grass will do well just about anywhere you plant it. Resistant to rabbits and deer, this evergreen ornamental grass will survive just about anything nature sends its way—as long as it has adequate moisture. Available at Burpee.com; $13.69.

    istockphoto.com

  17. Hosta

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    Hosta Plants Low Maintenance Landscaping

    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; $16.99.

    fotosearch.com

  18. Liriope (Monkey Grass)

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    Liriope (Monkey Grass)

    Monkey grass is often misidentified as mondo grass, and vice versa, but this ornamental clumping grass is actually from a different family altogether. Bursting with purple (or white, depending on the variety) flowers in late summer, and laden with dark berries in fall, this evergreen plant stuns all year round. Available at The Home Depot; $46.99 for 18 plants.

    istockphoto.com

  19. Black-Eyed Susan

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    Black Eyed Susan Flower Low Maintenance Landscaping

    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; $13.99.

    Related: 10 Foolproof Flowers Anyone Can Grow

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  20. Fountain Grass

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    Fountain Grass

    Available in several varieties and colors, fountain grass is an attractive tall clumping grass that thrives in full sun. These plants need little care—you may not even need to water it once established, as long as you live in an area that receives rainfall. Cut it back in late winter or early spring and watch new growth shoot upward as the weeks roll by. Available on Amazon; $21.98.

    istockphoto.com

  21. Sedge

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    Sedge Grass Low Maintenance Landscaping

    With a variety of different sizes, textures, and growing requirements, sedge is an ideal alternative to turf lawns. Ideal for low maintenance landscaping, these 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; $12.59.

    flickr.com

  22. Creeping Sedum

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    Creeping Sedum Low Maintenance Landscaping

    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 on Etsy; $5.99.

    istockphoto.com

  23. Pachysandra

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    Pachysandra Ground Cover

    Seeking a hardy plant that can survive on the shady side of the house or on a slope with acidic soil? These and other unfavorable conditions pose no problem for pachysandra, a ground cover that can thrive even in shade or poor soil. New plantings can be pinched back every year to encourage spreading, but well-established plants need almost zero care. Available on Amazon; $25.45 for 48 plants

    Related: 20 Plants That Survive With or Without You

    istockphoto.com

  24. Maiden Grass (Chinese Silver Grass)

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    Maiden Grass (Chinese Silver Grass)

    Resistant to drought, disease, deer, rabbits, and other pests, maiden grass is a beautiful pick for sunny yards. Be careful with this one, though. Its hardiness has come at a cost in some states, where it has become invasive, although most ornamental varieties won't pose a problem as they're usually cultivated to be sterile. Nevertheless, take care and do your research before you plant this grass in your yard. Available on Amazon; $14.95.

    istockphoto.com

  25. Witch Hazel

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    Witch Hazel

    Gardeners seeking interest in a winter yard should consider witch hazel, which does best in full sun or partial shade. Witch hazel should be planted in zones 5-8, as they rely on cold winter lows to bring forth the beauty of their blooms. Available on Etsy; $10.

    Related: 10 Colorful Shrubs for a Standout Winter Garden

    istockphoto.com

  26. Get the Right Gear

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    Get the Right Gear

    Even if you don’t have the magic touch of a green thumb, all hope isn’t lost for an attractive yard. These easy-care plants are a good start, but also consider these gardening gadgets that do some of the work for you.

    bobvila.com

  27. Don't Miss! Before & After

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    With its front-and-center position, a new garage door can all but revolutionize how your home looks from the curb. See the difference!