Creating a low-maintenance garden

A bird's-eye view of a low-maintenance garden

What should you do if you want a relaxing and attractive garden but don’t have the time or sufficient skill to maintain it? The options for creating a low-maintenance garden are bountiful – you should merely choose the ones that suit you best.
A garden is much more than a mass of plants. If you give an attractive yard a second look, its elements are easily distinguished. Aside from the plants, a charming garden has a well-kept

  • pathway
  • watering system
  • tool shed
  • sitting area and garden furniture

All these features serve a purpose, one that hard-working gardeners know well. But what if you don’t plan to do much gardening? You’ll still need them, although your choice will be a low-maintenance version of each element.

Through garden to the stars

It is not just a path through your garden that matters but a lounging area, too. While tidy lawns seem to be a synonym for an eye-catching garden, their upkeep is a sweaty business. Lawn maintenance ranks at the bottom of the quick and easy garden chores. If you wish to make your garden a tranquil place where you can relax and enjoy the shades of green, opt for artificial turf.

A closeup of a lawnmower cutting grass in a low-maintenance garden.

Otherwise, reduce the area covered by plants, including grass. Add gravel, crushed stone, or pave your garden with stone slabs, and you’re on the road to a low-maintenance garden. We haven’t mentioned patios for a reason. However, if you do prefer to put decking in your garden, choose hardwood boards or composite decking. They will last longer than softwood, and if you keep them in the original color, you can reduce the time and effort needed for their maintenance.

Make your outdoor chores uncomplicated.

No matter how small or simple your garden, it is still a place where living plants grow, and it requires your time and (at least some) effort. Ensuring that all the tools you need are at hand and adequately organized reduces the amount of time you spend working and tidying. Ideally, you will keep a shed with the necessary tools and accessories close to your house, near the exit toward the garden.
The next important task is to make a garden watering system work for you. A truly low-maintenance garden won’t require any watering aside from occasional rain, but it all depends on the climate you live in and the plants you chose. If you need to water your plants frequently, set up a watering system that saves you time and effort. You can use drip irrigation, soaker hoses, or even sprinklers, depending on the garden plants’ layout. If even that sounds like too much work to you, you can always choose plants that like dry summers.

A pathway through a low-maintenance garden.

Maintaining water features is hard work.

If you’re a fan of traditional Japanese gardens, you certainly appreciate their expression of wild, untamed nature. Some of the most beautiful gardens incorporate small cascading waterfalls, streams, ponds, and fountains. While they undoubtedly add to the Zen ambiance and relaxing quality of your lounge area, they also require regular maintenance. Even if you have one single water feature, cleaning your koi pond or a fountain only adds to the chores. A real path to a low-maintenance garden is making its features uncomplicated and eliminating ones that aren’t.


A low-maintenance garden starts with weeding out the excess.

If the conditions are right for your plants, they are even better for the weeds. Getting rid of the stubborn weeds takes time, even for the people who are dedicated to gardening. The best way to reduce the amount of work in your yard is to suppress weeds. You can achieve that by tilling thoroughly and removing the pieces of roots. After that, cover the soil with mulch or other groundcovers. A wide variety of decorative gravel will stifle the growth of weeds and make your garden attractive and easy to maintain.

A gardener is pulling out weeds out of a low-maintenance garden.

If you opt for perennials, choose their pots carefully. Unless you wish to trim their roots every year and return them to the same small pots, you will need to plant them in large containers or directly into the ground. If you can eliminate numerous small pots, you will cut your garden work to the minimum.

Choose your garden plants wisely.

You don’t have to minimize the plant life in your garden. Just reduce the number of varieties you plan to grow. Out of those two to five species, opt for those that live long and don’t require regular watering or pruning. Plant the perennials or add low-maintenance plants like lavender. Avoid plants with soft and tender leaves such as succulents as they attract snails. While at first sight climbing plants seems independent enough, they overgrow, may quickly suffocate other plant life, and some demand artificial support and regular (re)tying.

A man is trimming a Portuguese laurel hedge in a low-maintenance garden.

Hedges are often an excellent choice for those who wish to cover bare garden walls and surround themselves with greenery. Depending on the plant species, you will likely need to trim your hedge only once or twice a year. If it’s not something you care to do yourself, hire a professional. Evergreen hedges like yew, Portuguese laurel, and lavender will make your garden look fresh even during the winter months.
Most aromatic plants you can use in the kitchen are natural pest repellents and are incredibly easy to grow. For example, Thyme is an aromatic perennial evergreen herb that can be found in the wild and makes for a beautiful, low-maintenance ground cover. If you prefer shrubs, rosemary is a fragrant evergreen perennial full of essential oils. When you don’t enjoy its tender violet (white or blue) flowers, you can use it as a food seasoning. All of these are a great start when creating a low-maintenance garden.

Lily Bach Simmons
Lily Bach Simmons works as a social media specialist for zippyshelldmv.com and four startups. She also maintains her own little organic garden. Despite her name, she prefers only those plants she can eat.

 

Photo Credits:
Lawn Mower
Gardener pulling weeds
Birds-eye view of a low maintenance garden
Gardener trimming a hedge


Dave
Two Florida gardeners living in a sub-tropical paradise. Find us on Google+!

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