Summer is here and South Carolina is in bloom. With peak temperatures plaguing the lowcountry, now is the time to begin planning ahead for the outdoor projects you want to tackle once Charleston begins to cool down but before the leaves fall.  Read on for tips to spruce up your properties exterior, but with as little effort and upkeep as possible!

Setting Boundaries

No one likes weeds in their yards. Consider investing in weed barriers for your flower beds this summer to keep weeds out and flowers in place. Made from synthetic materials, these barriers prevent the growth of weeds in unwanted areas by providing a physical barrier for growth as well as by blocking the sunlight. Installation is tedious, but quite easy. Simply, unroll the film and cut to fit your desired garden shape. Next, arrange the fabric with edges overlapping and use the provided pins to keep the tarps in place. Once done, cover with mulch, rocks, or any cover of your choice. If planting flowers in the area, simply cut holes in the tarps where the flowers are to allow them to grow up through the tarp. Upfront, weed barriers take a little more elbow grease to install, but pay dividends in the long run by keeping you from trending to weeds all summer long. This one time investment saves you time and sweat all year long.

Mulch vs Rocks

Once your weed barriers are installed, now is the time to begin deciding whether mulch or rocks are the best decision for your rental landscaping needs. Mulch and stones have overtaken pine needles as the preferred landscaping ground cover due to their longevity and ease of installment. No more spreading and fluffing pine needles only for them was away two weeks later, now you simply dump, spread, and leave. As for the decision between mulch and rocks, it comes down to your visual preferences, your price point, and how often you want to relay the ground cover. Mulch provides a much softer, organic appearance than stones as it is a natural material and you can choose from many different colors and washes of mulch to best suit the exterior of your home. In the same way, stones come in many different shapes and styles for you to decide which best suits your property. While mulch is cheaper than stones and rocks, they do require more ukeep. Mulch will need to be replaced every year or every two years defending on sun exposure and runoff whereas stones have a much greater longevity, are harder to wash away, and are more resistant to sun bleaching. While they last longer, stones are significantly more expensive and often require more man power to lay down due to their weight. 

Smarty Plants

When choosing plants for your properties, it is important to take into account your properties unique soil pH and the sun exposure for your plants. Not all soil is created equally and neither is the foliage you plant. We recommend investing in highly adaptable plants that can survive in any temperature, sunlight, and water level. This is necessary because you never know how often your tenants will be tending to the plants, deadheading, and watering them. Some durable options include fountain grass for height and texture, Black Eyed Susans for a pop of color, and evergreen trees for year round color and foliage. In addition to planting durable plants, for true low maintenance landscaping, invest in perennial flowers. In doing so, you will only need to plant once since these flowers pop back up every year. This will save you time, money, and energy every year because you won’t be planting fresh flowers every spring. 

Hardscaping isn’t Hard

If gardening and landscaping is not your thing, consider investing in Hardscaping. This technique completely removes the need for grass and requires little to no upkeep! Hardscaping is the use of stones, concrete, and other slab materials to create a design or patio in the yard. You can create patios, walkways, waterfalls, and even cover entire yards if you wish. Grass and other plants are completely optional with this technique, but can be used to enhance designs and provide an organic feel. While this technique requires significant upfront investment, iit can provide beautiful, lasting results that require zero upkeep on your part.

Non-Traditional Ground Cover

Mowing your lawn every two weeks can be quite the pain, and hiring a company to do it for you can rake up thousands of dollars a month. To avoid this, consider alternative ground cover. Grass, while the most traditional, is not the only form of ground cover available for yards. Many low-blooming and spreading plants make for terrific, low-maintenance options for yards. Whether wildflower mix, clovers, creeping thyme, or Barberry Cotoneaster, these unique solutions are rising in popularity due to their low-maintenance and beauty. Alternative ground covers only need to be mowed once per year and can withstand drought significantly better than most traditional grass crops thus making them a time-saving and cost effective option for property owners.  The best part about alternative ground cover is that there is a wide variety of options to choose from so you can find the one that best fits your yard’s sunlight, soil, and water needs. 

Landscaping for rental properties does not have to be rigorous. With these tips, you can stay off the lawn mower and in the lawn chair all summer long.