Take it from a professional landscaper; there is no such thing as a “no maintenance” yard. A low maintenance landscape still requires some effort or it will look horrible surprisingly fast, lowering the value of your home at the same time. If you are buying a house be prepared to put some effort into maintaining the yard. If you don’t want or have the time to put into maintaining the yard consider purchasing a condo or townhouse where yard maintenance is taken care or hire a professional landscaper a minimum of twice a year.
Drive around some new neighborhoods and check out the lovely “low maintenance” landscaping and then go back in a year and you’ll notice how many of those low maintenance yards look like crap! The plants are dead, the grass is brown and patchy, and there are weeds overtaking everything. It doesn’t take long.
Something you may not think of is that many contractors know nothing about landscaping and put the quickest, cheapest, bare minimum investment into the landscaping. In most subdivisions the soil is anything but fertile; it’s rocky, filled with construction debris and lacking in any nutrients. The contractor levels the dirt and throws turf on top, a few colorful plants for curb appeal and calls it a day.
You will never be able to keep the grass green unless, before they laid the turf, they put down a thick layer of good quality top soil. The grass roots will stay too close to the surface and the grass will burn as soon as summer hits. Any water will stay on the surface and not soak into the roots.
So many people wanting low maintenance eliminate grass all together and lay down landscaping fabric, dump a load of rocks, lava rock or bark mulch on it and think they have solved the problem. Unfortunately in not too long you will have something that looks like this
If you like the looks of rock fine, but be prepared to get out there once or twice a month and pull weeds or you will have a nasty job on your hands; the same applies for lava rock and bark mulch.
A common misconception many nonlandscaper type people have is that landscaping fabric blocks weeds. I don’t know any professional landscapers that use landscape fabric or plastic because it is more of a pain in the ass than its worth.
Truth be told weeds spread in the wind and they will root anyway, a crack between patio pavers, in your lava rock, and grow up through a pile of rocks. You or someone you hire is going to end up on their knees pulling weeds.