Landscaping Maintenance for Rental Properties

Brendon Willis
Aerial view of lawn mower cutting lawn

The landscaping around your rental property occupies an important place in your whole strategy for attracting high-quality tenants. The landscaping must be thoughtfully planned and well maintained to make your rental look inviting in real life and alluring in photographs.

You want the landscaping to improve the curb appeal of your property to the point where it makes prospective tenants eager to lease your rental. Yet at the same time, you want the landscaping to be low-cost in terms of how much time and money it takes to look after it.

Finding a way to reconcile these two contradictory objectives is one of the biggest challenges of landscape maintenance. Usually, if the landscaping is beautiful, it is not easy to maintain, and if it is low-cost, it may not be outstanding enough to draw a positive response from tenants.

But does this mean you can’t create a landscaping design that is good for both your tenants and your pockets? You can, but it takes some planning. In this article, we explain the things that go into designing and creating that kind of landscaping.

Landscaping maintenance tips for rental properties

Who is responsible for landscape maintenance?

Potted plants on picnic table in backyard

This is the first question you need to ask yourself. The answer will influence many of the choices you make when designing landscaping. There are four options for landscaping maintenance in a rental home. The best one depends on what meets the needs of your property. These options are:

  • The landlord maintains the landscaping

This gives the landlord maximum control of the yard and there is no chance of tenants ruining the landscaping. But tenants who want to participate will feel excluded. This option also costs tenants more.

  • The tenants maintain the landscaping

This is the most affordable option for tenants but often the least desirable for landlords. The tenant may not want to spend their money on the landscaping and may lack the required skills to look after the yard.

  • The landlord and tenants maintain the yard

This is the best option for both landlords and tenants. Tenants may take responsibility for mowing the grass and trimming the shrubs. Landlords, on their part, take care of all other aspects of looking after the landscaping.

Once you have determined the landscaping maintenance model for your rental, you can go ahead with the landscaping design. It should be also clearly indicated in the lease that who is responsible for maintaining the landscape.

Here are the things you must think of when creating the landscaping.

1.    Use a neutral theme

Potted plants and ferns

A personalized theme works when you are designing the landscaping to appeal to the tastes of specific individuals. It’s alright to adopt a personalized theme for the landscaping around your home. But it doesn’t work for a rental property because the landscaping must cater to the needs of different individuals. A neutral theme will do a better job of appeasing the tastes of diverse renters.

2.    Select low-maintenance plants

Choosing the following types of plants will reduce the work of looking after the yard:

  • Native plants – They are adapted to the conditions in the region and don’t need a lot of care.
  • Drought-resistant plants – These store water in their body and can survive without frequent watering
  • Perennials – They do not need to be replanted every year.
  • Dwarf plants – They do not grow beyond a certain height and so don’t need pruning.

3.    Reduce the size of the lawn

Less grass means less work (mowing, watering, etc) and lower costs. The simple way to reduce the amount of grass in the landscaping is to replace grass with hardscaping. Hardscaping refers to the non-living features of the yard.

This includes things like stone walkways, rock gardens, retaining walls, sitting areas, patios, etc. These not only reduce the amount of work required to look after the landscaping, but also create points of interest and increase the functionality of the yard.

4.    Install a drip irrigation

Drip irrigation systems carry water directly to where it is needed in the yard. They are preferred to sprinkler systems which waste a lot of water and inflate your water bill. By delivering just the right amount of water at the right time, a drip irrigation system keeps plants strong and beautiful, while also saving you money and time.

5.    Use barrier cloth for weed control

Barrier cloth is a fabric you lay over the soil to keep weeds from sprouting. It is a low-maintenance method of weed control and makes your landscaping maintenance easier. One of the benefits of using barrier cloth is it is non-toxic and will promote soil health, especially if you use organic barrier cloth which is biodegradable. Barrier cloth works best if it is combined with mulch.

6.    Mulch regularly

Mulch is laid over the soil to suppress weeds, retain soil moisture and regulate soil temperature. Mulch includes materials like shredded leaves or bark, wood chippings, and sawdust. Mulching the soil will improve the curb appeal of your property and also reduce the cost and effort of lawn maintenance.

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