A lot of people don’t have the time and energy for gardening. However, this shouldn’t mean letting your outdoor space become a jungle of weeds and untamed shrubs. By making a few investments, you can have a design that looks good and doesn’t require much upkeep. Here are just a few ways to create a low maintenance garden.
Choose the right plants
It’s still possible to have an array of plants in your garden without having to worry about watering, pruning, pest control, staking and providing shelter to keep them alive. Some plants are able to look after themselves through most weathers – they may need a little TLC in the first year, but after this they can thrive on their own.
Low maintenance flowering plants include daffodils, snowdrops, scillas, alliums and cyclamens – once planted these flowers need practically no upkeep. Grasses such as miscanthus and stippa are also worth trying – you may need to trim them back in the Spring, but that’ll be pretty much all the care needed.
When it comes to edible plants, cool season leafy greens are a good choice. The likes of kale are very resilient whilst some cabbages are able to thrive even in a frost. Onions, garlic and rhubarb also need very little maintenance once planted. You can also try planting potatoes – you’ll need to spend some time prepping the soil so it’s loose and weed-free, but after this your spuds will practically grow on their own.
Use pots/raised beds
Putting plants in pots and raised beds can have all kinds of benefits. It tends to stop most plants getting unruly by limiting the area to which they can grow. Pots with holes and raised beds can also provide drainage, which stops the soil getting waterlogged in heavy rain. On top of this, plants in pots and raised beds are less prone to frost damage.
Potted plants in particular have the advantage that they can be moved. This could allow you to move plants under shelter when extreme weather is on its way rather than having to take extra steps to weatherproof these plants.
Use a greenhouse
A greenhouse shelters plants from the elements including heavy rain, wind and frost. This can allow you to grow many plants without as much maintenance. The only condition is that you will have to manually water these plants, although many gardeners are able to set up sprinkler systems in their greenhouses that automate this process.
Greenhouses are ideal for edible plants – extreme weather can often negatively affect the flavour of plants and by providing constant shelter you can ensure that your plants taste good once harvested.
Spread down some mulch
Adding mulch to soil can help plants to thrive on their own. Mulch can consist of any plant debris whether its wood chips, leaves or grass clippings – over time it decomposes and enriches the soil beneath with nutrients. Mulch also helps to soak up water, preventing soil from getting waterlogged in heavy rain.
Consider artificial grass
Caring for a lawn is often a laborious task. Lawns need to be regularly mowed to keep them from getting overgrown and potentially watered in summer to stop them drying out. There’s also the job of removing weeds if you want your lawn to look perfect.
Opting for artificial grass takes away all of this upkeep and ensures that you have a perfect lawn all year round. Whilst a lot of diehard gardeners see this a cheating, most people won’t be able to tell the difference between fake grass and the real thing. This is of course providing that you invest in good quality artificial grass such as this Stellenbosch fake grass.
Swap hedges for fences/walls
Hedges may look pretty, but they have to be regularly trimmed to keep them looking presentable. This is a time-consuming job that makes them unsuitable for a low-maintenance garden.
Fencing requires much less maintenance and is much better suited. Wooden fences will still need to be repainted and refinished on an annual basis, so it could be worth opting for another material such as PVC or metal. This ColourFence metal fencing is ideal for those that don’t want the hassle of maintaining their fencing from year to year. Such modern fences often look just as pretty as wood.
A brick wall will also need little maintenance. Walls are by far the best solution in windy gardens for providing a barrier. Make sure that any wall is professionally constructed so that it won’t crack or subside.
Use the right garden furniture
Certain garden furniture can also need regular treating. For example, cast iron furniture tends to rust in the rain and often needs to be painted on an annual basis.
Opting for pre-treated materials can often prevent the need for regular maintenance. You’ll find many galvanised steel outdoor furniture sets that can last five years without degrading.
Certain woods such as cedar are very weather-resistant and sturdy – when left unpainted, you shouldn’t have to provide much or any treatment. High-quality synthetic materials meanwhile are also maintenance-free – cheap plastic furniture is likely to get brittle when exposed to extreme weathers, but more premium plastics are likely to be very durable with no need for finishing.