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How to make a basic plan to protect your buildings, fences, and trees if you don’t like to do yard work

Flower Garden IMG_0316It really surprises me. When my daughter comes from Madrid to visit we’ve done a home exchange or an Airbnb in Seattle for a week. Often, the house is nice, but the yard isn’t well kept.

It’s O.K. if yard work isn’t your thing and creating a flower garden like the one pictured to the left doesn’t interest you. I put my efforts into vegetable gardening and do a minimum in the rest of my yard.

However, be aware, if you don’t do some yard work, you’re buildings, fences, and trees could be damaged.

Here are some ideas to help you make a basic plan for a minimum amount of yard work:

Pruner Hand Pruner IMG_4076

Buy a pruning shears and a hand clipper. You’ll see in the following steps how you’ll use them.

Tree Ivy on It IMG_0582

Cut the stems of any ivy growing up your trees. Ivy will smother the tree trunk. Don’t pull the ivy stems off the tree because that will tear off pieces of the protective bar.

Fence Vines Covering IMG_3589

Remove ivy or any vines from your house or fence. They’ll damage them. Again, cut the stems rather than pulling them off.

Morning Glories Growing on Hedge IMG_0603

Pull morning glories off your hedges and other plants. They like to grow on my raspberry plants.


Decide what you want to do about flower beds. One way to keep them tidy looking if you don’t plant flowers is to put rocks on top of weed cloth. If you pick this solution, be aware ants sometimes gather under the weed cloth.

Rhodies Pruned Branches on Ground Ladder

Prune bushes, such as rhododendrons, regularly. If bushes aren’t pruned often, they’ll get huge and out of control and be difficult to care for. Look for articles on the internet for the best time of year to do pruning. For rhododendrons, it’s in the spring as they finish blooming.

Fence With Hedge Too Close IMG_0600

Prune bushes, hedges, and trees to keep them away from fences and houses. They’ll cause damage, and it’s difficult to maintain fences and buildings with bushes, hedges, and trees up against them.

Trees Volunteer Clump IMG_0585

Keep an eye on volunteer trees. You don’t want a clump of them growing together over the years.

Tree Growing Over House IMG_0578

Prune trees that hang over your house. Bugs can crawl up the tree and drop on the house and roof.

Tree Suckers Growing on It IMG_0608

Remove suckers from trees. Suckers are odd branches that grow from the base or roots of the trees.

Garden Raised Bed Dried Up Unkept IMG_3581

Plant perennials in planter boxes or raised bed gardens that you aren’t keeping up any more. Perennials are plants that grow back every year. They’ll look nice without much upkeep.


Hire someone to mow the grass. If you don’t like to do yard work or unable to mow your grass, hire a firm to help you regularly. And, water the grass . . . some. The best solution for grass is to pull it up and replace it with drought resistant plants. However, that’s a lot of work and probably not an option for the minimalist yard worker. Rather than letting my grass die during the summer, I water it occasionally. It keeps the weeds down. Also, cutting the grass high is recommended because the roots grow deeper adding to lawn health.

Best wishes on developing a basic yard work plan. Some people like to do yard work, others don’t.

If you don’t enjoy keeping up a yard, a minimal plan will help protect the value of your property by preventing damage to your home, fence, and trees.


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Carol Cassara

Yep. Time to do that now.


Getting ready to cut some things back as I read this. Hoping to get in some fall planting soon.

Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski

We have a shared yard and each of us has a section to play with. And there are lots of succulents and plants that are drought tolerant.


A shared yard is such a good idea. Keeping up a yard is a lot of work that gets more difficult as people age.

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