If you own multiple properties, then the last thing you probably want to spend your days off doing is landscaping. However, as a real estate investor, you know that curb appeal plays a major role in the salability of a property and you need to keep those homes looking sharp in order to attract both buyers and renters. Minimize the time and expense involved in keeping up appearances at your investment properties by investing early in low-maintenance landscaping that will require little care and can even save you money.

When you invest in a property, one of the things that you will probably elect to do almost immediately is clean up the yard. If the lawn is green, then that’s great news. However, many investment properties have been neglected and may not have a flourishing lawn. Before you reseed – and then take on the responsibility and expense of watering and babying that lawn until the grass takes hold – you may wish to explore the possibility of xeriscaping (literally “dry-scaping”). Xeriscaping is popular in areas of the country that get little water and is based mainly on grouping plants together that have similar watering requirements in order to optimize lawn care. Generally, a xeriscaped lawn will still have some grass, but the actual lawn will be fairly small and the remainder of the yard will be landscaped either with hardy, drought-resistant plants or even patio expanses that are ideal for outdoor living. A xeriscaped property is not only easy for you to maintain, but it has inherent economic appeal because a homeowner will not have to dedicate as much of the household budget to watering expenses.

Another low-maintenance lawn alternative that can be both beautiful and add value to a property is a well-designed rock garden. However, rock gardens are not just about rocks, but also about the strategic placement of hardy plants that, like the rocks, will not need watering! Generally, full-sun perennials or flowering cacti are the best option for these gardens because they will return year after year and do not require much, if any maintenance.

Finally, if you want to sharpen up a yard fast while minimizing mowing time, consider adding some beds of wood chips or pine straw. Mulch comes in myriad colors to complement any exterior décor and is relatively inexpensive. Pine straw is even less expensive and can be used to mask bare spots underneath trees where grass finds it difficult to grow. You may choose to plant a border around these beds or simply rake neat borders. Over time, the beds will spread out if you do not have a natural border, but this is still far easier to maintain than a wide green lawn. As with xeriscaping, you probably will want to use the bed technique to minimize the grass rather than eliminate it all together.

What are your favorite low-maintenance landscaping strategies?

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