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5 Low-Maintenance Plants for Landscaping

Spring is right around the corner, and so begins the hunt for interesting landscaping plants! While we at Decoist love tried and true favorites such as yucca and silver ponyfoot, today we take a look at five selections that work well in the modern yard. Some are sculptural. Some add tropical flair. All are interesting, and all are low-maintenance plants. Enjoy!…


We begin with Ixora, a tropical plant that produces lovely flowers in shades of red, pink, orange and yellow. It can tolerate full sun in many cases, and you can grow the plant as a shrub or in containers. While it prefers moist soil and doesn’t do well in frosty weather, it requires minimal care overall, making this plant a great choice for the garden. [photo from OnlinePlantGuide.com]

Red-orange Ixora flowers

Since Ixora has a tropical feel, it works well in poolside environments, as well as at the base of taller plants (such as palm trees)! However, Ixora can also be cultivated as a hedge (depending on the climate) and integrated in a variety of ways in a variety of yards! Consult an expert at your local nursery if you’re interested in bringing Ixora to your outdoor space. [photo from Saint Dizier Design

Poolside Ixora in a tropical yard

Queen Victoria Agave

With its porcupine-like form and sculptural style, Queen Victoria certainly commands attention! This succulent does well in full-sun environments and requires only occasional watering, making it an ideal plant for xeriscaped gardens. [photo from AZ Plant Lady]

Queen Victoria agave in a gravel garden

Plant Queen Victoria agave in a container or in the ground. As shown below, it truly shines when planted in multiples. However, be careful when handling this plant, as the edges are sharp. [photo from CarsonDouglas via Houzz]

Queen Victoria agave in a sculptural modern yard


Pittosporum encompasses a wide range of flowering plants, with Japanese pittosporum being a popular variety. Able to grow in shade or sun, the plant is very hardy and fabulous for the low-maintenance garden. [photo from Boething Treeland Farms]

Rows of pittosporum

Pittosporum is a popular choice for hedges and borders, so don’t hesitate to use it to add volume at the base of a tree or another tall plant. [photo from Donna Lynn Landscape Design]

Pittosporum at the base of a tree

Barrel Cactus

There’s no denying that barrel cactus is fun to look at! No wonder so many modern landscapers incorporate it into the yard, often combining it with other suculents for variety in color and form. [from CYAN Horticulture]

Barrel cactus mixed with blue-green succulents

Well-drained soil is a must for this plant, as is a sunshine and minimal watering. In other words, it’s a classic example of a low-maintenance plant! Like the Queen Victoria agave, this succulent is impressive when planted in a group. And once again, watch those spines! [photo from imag_ne design + construction via Houzz]

Barrel cactus in a landscaped yard with a pool



An herb such as rosemary may seem basic and played out, but don’t underestimate its ability to thrive in hot, dry conditions, as well as its lovely, full appearance. In fact, you can use this plant to bulk up a xeriscaped garden and get great results! [photo from austintexas.gov]

Upright rosemary thriving in a garden

The plant may be upright, or it may be trailing. Grow it in the ground or in a pot. Nothing beats snipping some fresh herbs from the backyard when it’s time to cook dinner! [photo from Exteriorscapes, LLC]

Rosemary adds interest to a colorful vignette

Do you have a favorite low-maintenance landscaping plant? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below…

Kate Simmons

Kate Simmons is a freelance writer and design blogger with a love of all things decor. She spent her childhood writing stories and working on interior design-themed DIY projects. Kate’s published writing reflects her special interest in how design has changed through the decades. Her blog Mirror80 ( http://mirror80.com/) explores the fashion and [...]

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