For more than twenty-two years, J&S Landscaping has been providing landscaping services to the homes and businesses in Southeast Michigan. So we’ve lived through all the weather extremes thrown at us by the climate here and we know how to manage landscaping when the elements are wreaking havoc on lawns, plants, and trees.

Today we’re going to give you the benefits of some of that experience by talking about hardy, low maintenance, drought tolerant landscaping for your business. Along the way, we will also discuss how we can help you create a green space that will remain attractive throughout the growing season, in spite of the elements.

Defining low maintenance, drought tolerant landscaping

Breaking it down: Low maintenance landscaping is landscaping that does not require constant care. Grass that needs less fertilizer and isn’t likely to die in patches under duress, shrubs that only need occasional pruning, and plants that are less likely to be subject to pest damage and funguses. Very often, but not always, these are native plants and trees.

So when we add drought tolerant, we also get plants, trees, and lawns that thrive during long dry periods between rains and with minimal watering without dying or looking so bad you’re embarrassed to have them growing on your property. These plants weather dry periods (see what we did there?) without increasing your water bill so much that you consider setting your lawn on fire and pouring concrete instead.

Putting it all together: When we wrap low maintenance, drought tolerant landscaping up together, we get the perfect marriage of an attractive green space that is hardy and easy to care for. And this means your business will look great, year-round!


All low maintenance, drought tolerant landscaping plans begin at ground level. This means we need to choose hardy grasses that will stand up to the temperature extremes we are subject to here in Michigan.

There are several, but the most popular, easy to grow, and maintain grasses are Tall Fescue, Fine Fescue, and Kentucky Blue Grasses. These grasses each bring something to the table that makes them a good choice for businesses and homes. Tall Fescue has a large root system. That means it’s better able to hang on to what moisture it gets and can dig deeper to find more. Fine Fescue is shade tolerant and prefers dry soil to wet. And Kentucky Blue Grass offers a nice “carpet-like look” that blends well with the fescues. It, too, prefers a drier soil.

While you can’t get by without watering your lawn at all, a mixture of grasses like these will be easily managed without being watered every day. In fact, they prefer “dry feet” to wet.

When you don’t have time to do it yourself because you’re busy running a business, a commercial lawn care company can be your best ally in the battle of maintaining an attractive green space. J&S Landscaping can help with this. We do everything from pruning trees to keeping your lawn looking beautiful with regular care and by maintaining your sprinkler or drip irrigation equipment.


There are several trees that deal well with drought and still look good.

  • Bur Oak: is a beautiful, attractive tree with a broad spread of branches. They are known as a “tough tree for tough places. Relatively speaking, it has a good growth rate when young, so you can expect it to look and act like a tree a little sooner than some of the typically slower growing hardwoods.
  • Japanese Tree Lilac: is a gorgeous tree that produces large white flowers early in the growing season, and is known to be the toughest lilac on the market, withstanding extreme weather while maintaining its beauty.
  • White Fir: is the most drought tolerant fir. With bluish-green needles and a stately appearance, 
it is a slow-growing tree, but worth the wait.
  • London Plane Tree: tolerates a lack of water and lives longer than many trees in urban settings do. It responds well to stress and easily recovers from damage common to trees that deal with pollution and poor soil.
  • Japanese Zelkova:has an attractive round crown and is tolerant of air pollution and will continue to look great despite a lack of water.
  • Kentucky Coffee Tree: is tolerant of a variety of soils and has a nice-looking bark.

While all of these trees are drought tolerant, not all of them are going to be appropriate for all settings. So talk to your landscaping professional before choosing one. OR if you don’t already have one, contact J&S Landscaping and we’ll help you decide which look you like best and then plant and care for it so you don’t have to.


When discussing low maintenance, drought tolerant landscaping, we mustn’t neglect a discussion on shrubs. While there are several plants that fit this bill, here are three we highly recommend.

  • Bottlebrush Buckeye: is a deciduous shrub with white flowers in the summer. And it isn’t picky about how much sunlight it gets so it does well in partial shade.
  • Bush Cinquefoil Versatile: is known for its long blooming time, and tolerates heat, drought and various soil types. Cinquefoil blooms from early summer through frost and comes in several colors such as: yellow, white, and orange.
  • Bearberry: is an all-in-one evergreen. Its glossy, green leaves turn bronze in the autumn. It bears white to pink flowers in spring, with edible red fruits in mid- to late summer. It tolerates dry, sandy soils and does well in sun or partial shade.

Others to consider: Chokeberry, Butterfly Bush, common Lilac, Juniper, and northern honeysuckle bushes (make sure you’re buying native—not the Japanese variety which is invasive).


There are tons of hardy, drought-resistant plants available that will do well in SE Michigan, especially if you add native plants to the list. We recommend:

  • Yarrow: Super easy to grow with a variety of colors to choose from. They bloom from late spring to mid-summer.
  • Blue False Indigo: Pretty purple flowers that stand in 12-inch clusters. Tolerates some shade.
  • Barrenwort: This stuff is tough! And it’s good for dry, shady areas, even under large trees. In the spring, it blooms and those blooms range from white to purple to yellow.
  • Stonecrop aka Sedum: This succulent comes in several sizes and shapes. It’s super easy to grow, withstanding a fair amount of neglect. It really prefers full sun, but will tolerate some late afternoon shade. As a choice for low maintenance, drought tolerant landscaping, you cannot beat this plant.
248landscape benefits of lighting

Other Ideas

When considering the green spaces around your business and how best to plan them, consider incorporating some hardscaping to cut down on the overall exterior maintenance without making it look like you’re cutting down on overall exterior maintenance. For instance:

  • A rock garden near the entrance to your business, interspersed with attractive, hardy plants like Sedum.
  • Water features surrounded by easy-to-care for plants.
  • Paver walkways lined with shrubs or plants.
  • Gazebo or pergola with seats that encourage visitors to stay awhile. Surround it with easy to care for shrubs and flowers, and you’ll be lucky if you can get your customers to leave.

J&S Landscaping can help you plan and create any one of these suggestions. Be sure and check out our gallery for some ideas.

Want to know more?

As you can see, low maintenance, drought tolerant landscaping is easily attained with some planning and the help of a company like J&S Landscaping.

J&S Landscaping is here for you and your business! We are a member of the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association. Our company provides top-notch lawn care and support for plants, trees, and shrubs. And everything we purchase and plant for you has a one-year guarantee.

J&S Landscaping is certified by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute to install paver patios & walkways, brick paver driveways, retaining walls and more. And we are also an authorized contractor for Belgard. J&S is so confident of our work that we certify our installations for two years. All of our crews are carefully trained, certified, and bonded.

Call today to learn more about what our company can do for you!