7 Tips for Low Maintenance Yards At Rental Properties
By Tyler Campbell
There’s nothing passive about owning rental property, but that doesn’t mean you want to spend all your time and money maintaining the yards. Luckily, the mild climate of metro Los Angeles allows you to create a set-it-and-forget-it kind of yard. We’re talking about a yard that will look good and attract renters without giving you headaches. Here are seven tips for creating low-maintenance landscaping at your rental properties.
Choose Your Grass Carefully
If you plant the right kind of lawn, it’s easy to maintain, whether you hire a lawn crew to come every week or the renter’s DIY. Sand dune sedge or native California bentgrass is great if your property is near a beach. Zoysiagrass is a good option inland, where warm-season grasses thrive.
Forget the lawn and choose to xeriscape instead. A drought-tolerant mix of gravel, rock, and plant life is not only low-maintenance but stunning to look at when done right. Xeriscaping can take our hot, dry seasons and keep on blooming. It also provides excellent drainage around your property, which could be a wallet saver if you’re in a flood-prone area.
Plant Drought-Tolerant Species
The dry, subtropical climate we enjoy here in Southern California can sometimes make for thirsty plants. But if you plant for the climate and USDA zone, you’ll have great-looking landscaping at your rental properties year-round. Manzanilla, lavender, and rockrose are among the drought-tolerant choices for your rental properties.
Use Native Plants
Not all drought-tolerant plants are native to the Golden State, but all California natives are drought-tolerant. They’re also eco-friendly, which can be a selling point for prospective tenants. Since the California poppy (the state flower), hummingbird sage, and sticky monkeyflower all evolved here, they thrive here with little to no maintenance. Your rental properties get a pop of color from these plants, without any yard work required.
Between a Rock and More Hardscaping
The lowest-maintenance landscape is the kind you can sweep or hose down and call it a day. Concrete patios, stone walkways, and rock walls are all examples of hardscaping that are low-maintenance and attractive to tenants. They might be more expensive to install, but they will also last longer with little effort. An added bonus? They don’t need water, cutting down on the water bill.
Make It Automatic
Your lease may require the renters to keep up with yard work, but no one gives the yard TLC like a property owner. You can keep the landscape at your rental property in pristine shape by installing an automatic irrigation system. You can even attach the controls to your phone so only you can set the watering schedule. But prepare to adjust the watering schedule as the growing season continues.
Mulch for Maintenance
Mulching may be the lowest maintenance tip of all. Mulch your flower beds, trees, and shrubs heavily, and it will help your soil retain moisture. Organic mulch also disintegrates into the soil, restoring nutrients as it helps the temperature of the soil stay even. Whether you choose black, brown, or red mulch, you also have the chance to enhance the aesthetic of your rental property with the manicured look
The yard is usually not the subject of property management horror stories, thank goodness, but it can go to seed (pun intended) if not given the right attention by your or your tenants. Some planning and a few smart choices now will keep your properties looking good without a lot of effort.
Tyler Campbell started mowing lawns in Burbank as a teenager to put himself through college. After getting his degree in landscape architecture, he now designs landscapes for commercial clients, but his favorite part is getting down to grass tacks, and mowing the grass.