Crafting a beautiful backyard garden doesn’t need to come with tons of work. You can easily put together a gorgeous garden right here in Ashburn with plants that tolerate drought, don’t need much trimming, and aren’t prone to pest or disease problems.

Get the kids ready for some interactive fun right at home when you start caring for a garden together. If the garden needs too much work, however, your kids might lose interest. That’s why we put together this list of low-maintenance plants that do well in our local climate. Whether you’re looking to add flowers, trees, or anything in between (maybe even veggies), you’ll find an abundance of plants ready to bring effortless beauty to your home. Here’s a list of some great plants to include in your low-maintenance garden.

Purple Coneflower

A large purple coneflower that has attracted the attention of a local honey bee.

Image via Flickr by It’s No Game

Purple coneflowers check all of the boxes when it comes to low-maintenance plants, and they’re visually stunning as well. This native plant prefers sun but will tolerate shade as well as poor soil conditions, so it’s the perfect flower for any garden.


If you’re looking to add some dimension to your yard, you can turn to this tall tree. This beautiful evergreen, also called a Japanese cedar, holds its color throughout the year and requires little or no maintenance. Cryptomeria, part of the cypress family, is known for its unique pyramid shape. Unsure about those prickly looking leaves? Don’t let appearances deceive you. Cryptomeria leaves are actually pretty soft, so they’re safe for your kids to touch.


Known as “heavenly bamboo,” nandina is a broadleaf shrub recognized for tolerating drought and being generally easy to care for. The durable, tough shrub offers semi-evergreen or evergreen leaves and can grow up to 7 or 8 feet tall. Once you establish nandina in your yard, it doesn’t require much maintenance.


When you need something that works well in challenging conditions — like sandy or clay soil — try liriope, also known as “monkey grass” or “lilyturf.” This tough perennial thrives in full sunlight but also works well in the shade. It tolerates drought, too. The dark green, grassy foliage blooms in late summer with purple or white flowers, offering elegant color without a lot of work.

American Holly

American holly is another easy tree that doesn’t require much assistance. The tree grows fast, and it also adapts well to different types of soil. Another bonus point for American holly is that it acts as a deterrent for deer!


Add boxwood to the list if you’re searching for an easy-to-care-for shrub to add to your garden. Boxwood offers hardiness from its year-round greenery, and it does fine in the shade. The compact shrub will fit in just about anywhere, so it’s great for filling in holes in your garden.


Well-known for its natural penchant for resisting potential problems and surviving in full shade, this perennial offers both fern-like foliage and gorgeous flowers. You may know astilbe as “meadowsweet,” “false spirea,” or “false goat’s beard,” but no matter what you call it, this plant brings low-maintenance beauty to your garden.


If you’re looking for a plant that needs only simple care but still produces lush foliage, consider hosta. In general, this plant tolerates shade well, though you’ll want to look into specific varieties — different types have different requirements.

Colorado Blue Spruce

The Colorado blue spruce is yet another effortless candidate if you’re looking to bring a tree into the mix. This tree features blue or green foliage and does best in full sun, but it can also flourish in partial shade. It’s drought-tolerant and known overall for its adaptability and hardiness.


Those big, beautiful blooms that hydrangea shrubs produce require minimal effort. The oakleaf variety, in particular, can tolerate a variety of climatic conditions, including drought and cold weather. They’re easy to care for and provide a huge payoff in terms of color for your garden.


Catmint is another flowering plant that brings color to your garden without making you do a lot of extra work. The plant features gray or green foliage and clusters of lavender flowers. This plant is incredibly hardy, and it will thrive in a range of climates.


Salvia comes from the mint family, and it brightens up your garden with tall, lavender-blue flowers from the summer into the fall. These plants do well in our local climate, too, making salvia an excellent choice for your Ashburn garden.

Plants You Can Eat

Once you’ve inspired your kids’ green thumbs with some beautiful flowers and other plants, expand your garden by adding crops that are super easy to care for. Kids of all ages will love watching these develop from seeds they plant into delicious veggies they can eat. What better way to get kids interested in healthy eating than with foods they grow themselves?

Spend some time together as a family planting seeds, and then try out an easy-to-prepare recipe to get the kiddos involved from start to finish. You’ll have endless possibilities once you start growing your own tasty ingredients.

Though certain seeds may need to start inside during the cooler temperatures of March and April, you can move seedlings to your garden in May or June and then watch as a productive and long-growing season unfolds. Vegetables that perform well outdoors as early as March include lettuce, peas, and radishes. You’ll also find plenty of other edibles that both you and your kids will love growing, such as:

  • Cucumbers.
  • Peppers.
  • Potatoes.
  • Squash.
  • Tomatoes.

Once you know which plants will thrive in Ashburn’s climate, it’s easy to start planning a beautiful garden that’s just as simple to tend to. Kids will love getting involved with the care of these plants, especially planting the seeds, watering the flowers, and harvesting their very own mealtime ingredients.

At Crème de la Crème of Port Potomac, we know how tough it can be to find the time to care for a bunch of difficult plants, so we’ve suggested varieties that don’t require much work while still delivering plenty of beauty for your backyard garden.