Bringing Back A Brookside Bungalow: Do Maintenance Free Landscapes Really Exist?

The short answer is no. Maintenance free landscapes do not exist. Our landscapes evolve just as we do and a little work will always be required to keep both of us happy. The best thing we can do is to create solutions that minimize work while increasing the experience.

Reducing Landscape Maintenance Is Possible

Whether you have been a homeowner for years, you’re just buying your first home, or you’re moving into another to better suit your needs, you are well aware of the necessity to create an environment in which you feel comfortable, happy, and free of the burdens that owning your own home can entail. New roofs, home furnishings, repairs and interior remodeling projects can quickly eat away a budget, leaving little to no opportunities for new landscaping. You might have also thought to yourself, “Why should I create more time consuming work outside when there seem to be so many problems inside?” Don’t worry. While maintenance free landscapes may not be possible, there are ways to reduce landscape maintenance.

Problems Can Also Be Fixed with Lower-Maintenance Solutions

On the other hand, sometimes necessity is the mother of invention. Water may be slowly creeping into your basement due to poor grade near a foundation, incorrect downspouts, or from a neighboring property. Improper grade and drainage can also inhibit the growth of plants – specifically grass, creating a muddy mess on walkways, patios, and driveways with the added concern of this run-off ending up in storm drains and our waterways. By catching and fixing these problems sooner rather than later, you will save yourself a considerable amount of time and money. This is where our Brookside customers found themselves. See how we fixed their problem while creating a lower maintenance landscape solution for them.

Brookside Project Recap

After moving into their new home in Brookside, Pat and Jack Polise contacted Greenleaf about drainage issues they were having near their front foundation and newly constructed driveway along with an interest for enhancing their current landscape with something unique that could be enjoyed rather than maintained. “Greenleaf was happy to hear from Pat and Jack again! They were great people to work with in the past, and we enjoyed making a difference at their previous residence.” –Liz McWilliams

Phase 1:

Brookside Bungalow Landscaping PictureTheir first concern was for an area in the front yard near the foundation that was collecting and holding water, causing a wet basement as well as creating a muddy bare spot in the turf. Unable to fix the grade because of existing conditions and with minimal sunlight to this location, the solution became two-fold. Move the water away from the foundation with drains and corrugated pipe and minimize turf area by installing gravel, thus reducing annual maintenance while controlling erosion.

Brookside Foundation Planting PictureIn addition to the installation of the gravel, we incorporated six Green Velvet Boxwoods in front of the foundation to add structure while also masking an electric meter. We then placed two Fine Line Buckthorns on either side of the front entry to allow a dynamic texture contrast with the foundation stone. Existing Hostas became a nice delineation for the garden edge, adding dynamic texture and color to complement the installed gravel. Areas of the yard were then re-sodded to help control water run-off.

Phase 2:

Brookside Driveway Landscaping PictureThe second concern was for an area along the south side of their house and newly constructed driveway. Construction of the new driveway had left the garden beds and a large turf area in the back ‘unfinished,’ and it was crucial something be done quickly to control erosion onto the driveway and walkway.


Landscape Design for Brookside Picture


Greenleaf provided a design that would not only help to control erosion but would add a visually appealing low-maintenance solution to such a prominent location. Liriope, three Sedum beds, and Mazus were planted along the driveway edge and walkway in company with the installation of two gravel riverbeds to help further control erosion and dissolve the hard line of the driveway edge. Remaining Hostas from the front were planted underneath an existing Burning Bush, providing a nice subtle green color and broad leaf texture that seemed to lift the existing plant material. Two Karl Foester grasses were planted to mask the AC unit and add fluidity to the space while three white Snowdrift Roses draw your eye further into the bed with their stunning display. A flagstone path was then installed to access the water spigot and hose. Upon completion of a new skirting along the deck, five Fine Line Buckthorns were planted to stand as a natural contrast to the elegant straight lines and beautiful dark color of the existing structure.

Driveway Landscape Design Picture



Landscaping Along Driveway Picture












Phase 3:

Landscaping Design Painting Pat’s vision for the back fence line, or phase 3, was inspired by a painting that currently hangs in their living room. Her wish was to look out the kitchen window or off the deck and see a similar wooded setting, one that would transport her to another place, offering seclusion while providing a multitude of various colors and textures for her to get lost in. And Greenleaf’s solution did just that. The idea sketch, work, and final outcome can be seen in the images below: (one minor change is that instead of Horsetail Rush, we used existing Iris to fill the space. REUSE!)


To conclude this project recap, Greenleaf would like to thank Pat and Jack Polise for letting us make a difference in your yard. The project was so much fun, and we’re looking forward to watching you all grow into the new home and landscape! Also, thank you Heritage Lawns & Irrigation for installing the irrigation system. You all did a great job!