Today’s post is all about giving you ideas and tips on how to create your very own low maintenance garden – something that’s very dear to my heart.
I love a gorgeous garden. I like to sit in it, relax in the outdoor space, surrounded by flower beds, beautiful trees, wildlife and mountains of colour.
I am not someone who loves all the extra work that comes with owning such a beautiful garden space. I’m not an expert on gardening, but I know enough to get by. I know enough to choose the right plant (mostly) but that’s pretty much it.
What I strive for is a garden with fewer weeds, that needs less maintenance, less work and requires little time to keep it looking gorgeous. And that’s what I’ve worked on in the last few years. Does it mean I aspire to a cottage garden? Well no, although my eldest daughter who is a huge cottage garden fan, would love one!
So I’ve taken my knowledge in creating this kind of living space for our family, and some extra research to put together my top tips on how you can also create a low maintenance outdoor area too.
Image: Solus Decor
Life is very busy for families and if you don’t spend a lot of time on your garden it can easily get out of control. It can cost you time and money.
The ideal solution for those that love to spend time relaxing and enjoying their outdoor space is to design and create that’s easy to maintain and doesn’t take hours of weeding on a regular basis.
With that in mind, here are my top tops for helping you create that perfect low maintenance garden.
- Install artificial turf which needs little attention, or no grass at all
- Consider a low maintenance garden deck
- Use mulch to control the weed growth
- Choose edging as weed barriers
- Install a low maintenance pathway
- Choose low maintenance wildflowers
- Plant low maintenance evergreen shrubs
- Choose hardy plants and low maintenance perennials
- Invest in container gardens
- Install an irrigation system
How to Plan and Create a Low Maintenance Garden
1. Install Easy to Look After Grass
The lawn is perhaps the place most people spend the majority of their time.The problem here is that more often than not, it is not something they enjoy doing.
A great alternative is to have a product like Easigrass installed.
Artificial grass is especially great for those who have pets or children who like to play outside. The ideal factor about false grass is that it looks great all the time, and will also lasts years and years. If you have the outlay it’s a great investment for your easy to manage garden.
Alternatively, invest in hard landscaping and do away with a lawn altogether. It’s the easiest way to create a low maintenance outdoor area, and is a good choice for those that don’t enjoy the look of a lawn.
2. Consider a Low Maintenance Garden Deck
A deck is wonderful, as it allows you to grow your living space into your garden.
You can set it up however you wish, perhaps creating a dining room, or making it into a lounge area.
A composite deck looks great, you won’t have to constantly weed it, and it will be low maintenance in your garden for years.
3. Use Mulch to Limit Weed Growth
One of the biggest issues with your garden is likely to be around your garden beds.
While they may look lovely, they probably provide you with enough weeds and stray grass for a lifetime. I know this is definitely the case with mine!
The good news is that you can purchase products that stop the weeds from growing and spreading.
One such example is mulch, which is great, because it lasts about a year meaning it won’t take much time to renew each season. With a little planning you can create a very natural look, suppress the weeds, and give your low maintenance garden design a little flair.
Ideas for ground cover of this kind includes wood chips, pea stone, pea gravel and even organic matter. All are a great choice to keeping the weeds reduced and ensuring you spend less time tending to your garden.
This is another ideal way to help create that low maintenance garden we all crave
4. Low Maintenance Edging
If mulch isn’t right for the style of your garden, consider gravel or crushed stone for your garden beds.
It’s a great long term solution for minimising grass areas, adding texture and interest with a product that won’t degrade with the weather. We are about to replace all of our gravel after 15 years.
It doesn’t need regular maintenance, perhaps a little weeding every few years, and the best part is, it looks stylish and contemporary in modern gardens.
5. Create Low Maintenance Pathways
Image: Walls and Floors
If you like to break up the lines in your garden, whilst also using a material that is hard-wearing consider creating paths with cobblestones or paving stones.
It’s a great way to add a design element to your low maintenance space and it gives the garden a more sophisticated feel.
Choose styles that enhance your current space and suit your personality as well as those that are easy to install.
6. Choose Low Maintenance Wild Flowers
Wildflowers are great because not only do they look beautiful, but more often than not, all they need is some sun and water to thrive.
Create and design a wildflower area in your low maintenance garden and you’ll have something pretty to admire when you relax in our outdoor space.
7. Plant Low Maintenance Evergreen Shrubs
If you can pick plants that are not too picky when it comes to the conditions they can thrive in, you’re well on your way towards a low maintenance garden.
Evergreen shrubbery is just that! It’s great for providing your space with some structure and for filling out any bare spots.
Usually all they take is a little trimming back once and year and you’re all set. They really are easy to care for plants.
8. Choose Hardy Plants
Design your garden with ease of use in mind.
Use plants that take very little care and attention of course and you’re halfway to your own low maintenance outdoor space.
A wonderful example is lavender which looks gorgeous and fills the air with a glorious fragrance.
Since it keeps coming back, you won’t have to worry about planting it again the following year.
9. Plant a Container Garden
Planning a low maintenance garden has to include plant pots and containers.
Keeping plants contained and making them easy to move around means your garden is simple to care for and can be flexible to your needs.
When choosing your containers, select a small colour palette to work with – go for brights if that suits your style, or more natural earthy tones for a harmonious look.
10. Install an Irrigation System
Good landscape design in a low maintenance garden should always include an irrigation system. Keeping soil moisture at optimum levels is essential, particularly in the growing season, so this is a great way to reduce the amount of hard work involved in constantly watering your garden.
What Plants are good in a Low Maintenance Garden?
Choosing the right plants is essential to spending less time on your low-maintenance garden. I’ve created a list of my favourites of low-maintenance plants:
- Lavender (Lavandula) – Drought tolerant, fragrant, and with beautiful purple flowers in summer.
- Sedum (Stonecrop) – Succulent plant that requires very little watering, with clusters of small pink or white flowers in late summer and early autumn.
- Geranium (Cranesbill) – A perennial with pretty, long-lasting flowers in shades of pink, blue, purple, and white.
- Hebe – Evergreen shrub with attractive foliage and spikes of pink, purple, or white flowers in summer.
- Hellebore (Lenten rose) – Low-growing evergreen perennial with pretty flowers in shades of white, pink, purple, or green in winter and early spring.
- Euphorbia – Drought tolerant plant with interesting foliage and small, colorful flowers in late spring or early summer.
- Ferns – a group of low-maintenance plants that add a lush, green texture to shady areas of your garden.
- Echinacea – commonly known as coneflowers, these hardy perennials attract pollinators with their vibrant flowers.
- Allium – a tall, dramatic flowering bulb that requires little maintenance and adds a pop of purple to your garden in late spring.
- Hosta – a shade-loving plant with large, striking leaves that come in a range of colors and patterns.
Remember, even low-maintenance plants require some attention, so be sure to water them as needed and provide them with adequate sunlight and soil conditions for best results.
Low Maintenance Evergreen Climbing Plants
- Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) – This deciduous vine can climb up to 50 feet and thrives in full sun to partial shade.
- Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) – A fragrant evergreen climber that blooms with white flowers in the summer. I’ve grown this with good success on a shaded wall with just partial sun.
- English Ivy. Really easy to grow with a variety of leaves and colours available. Very attractive to wildlife and birds.
Low Maintenance Evergreen Shrubs
Borders and low maintenance gardens benefit from a variety of evergreen shrubs. They keep the weeds at bay, often flower in the Spring and Summer, plus fill up lots of space without needing to be tended too often.
Here’s a list of popular low maintenance evergreen shrubs to add to your easy to care for garden
- Bamboos. Bamboos are evergreen shrubs for modern and contemporary style gardens and are incredibly easy to care for. Just beware of the bamboos that spread and take over your garden – you’ll never get rid of them! I know this from experience.
- Ceonothus. Also known as Californian Lily, this has pretty cornflower blue flowers in May and June. Another plant I’ve had in my own garden, this one can get quite large so plan it into a larger area.
- Choiysia. Also called the Mexican Orange Blossom. A beautifully scented, easy to look after shrub which tolerates being cut back each Spring (or not). Super easy to grow and takes care of itself. (I’ve also had several in my own garden.)
- Hebe. The hebe comes in all kinds of varieties, shapes and sizes, and flowers throughout the Spring and Summer. Again very easy to grow and pretty much look after themselves.
- Photinia. Often in the UK we see the glossy red leaves of a Photinia shrub used as hedging. With small white flowers, it has a pretty presence against walls and in borders where you want to cover a lot of space.
Low Maintenance Perennial Plants
These are just a few examples of low maintenance perennial plants, but there are many more out there to choose from depending on your climate and soil conditions.
- Coneflower or Echinacea. These daisy-like flowers are popular with bees and butterflies and are easy to grow in most soil types
- Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) – These bright and cheerful flowers are low-maintenance and tolerant of drought.
- Hostas. Easy to care for, with tall flowers in the summer which require very little maintenance. Great for a shady spot.
- Sedum – This hardy succulent plant comes in many different varieties, with some producing beautiful flowers in the summer months.
- Salvia – This drought-tolerant plant has spikes of colorful flowers and is attractive to pollinators.
Low Maintenance Vegetable Gardening
Even if you strive for a garden that’s easy to care for, you can still grow vegetables and fruit. Many can be grown in containers, making them easy to look after, and when you set up an irrigation system, they don’t even need much watering. We built several large planters and filled them with soil so we can easily grow our veggies year after year. These are some of the easiest fruit and vegetables we’ve grown in our garden in the last 5 years.
- Strawberries. Find the right spot with plenty of sun and these fruit pretty much grow themselves. Just lay some hay to stop them being eaten buy slugs.
- Tomatoes. Buy small plants or grow from seed, then plant them in your vegetable plot. Simply add a stake and ensure theyg get plenty of water.
- Spinach and Lettuce. Sow them straight into the ground rather than propogate in pots, and watch your crop grow right in front of your eyes.
Low Maintenance Garden Ideas on a Budget
Many of us want to create a low maintenance garden on a budget. That’s perfectly understandable. Gardening can incur quite a few costs so it’s a good idea to find solutions to keep spending down. I’ve collected some good ideas for low maintenance gardening on a budget.
- Grow your own. Even if you aren’t green fingered, you can sow seeds and grow your own plants.
- Take cuttings. Ask friends and neighbours if you can have cuttings of their bushes, shrubs and plants.
- Recycle materials. Reuse things like containers, gravel and bricks to create your low maintenance garden.
- Solar Lighting. An inexpensive way to light your patio and paths is with solar lights, easily available from diy stores and internet shops.
- Pallet furniture. Fill your garden with seating, tables and loungers made from old pallets. It’s a great way to reuse old wood and create fun and interesting garden seating on a budget.
Is low maintenance gardening easy?
Even creating a low maintenance gardening takes some research, planning and thought. Having said that, the objective of lazy gardening is to allow you to enjoy outdoor space, without spending hours on its maintenance. Planned, designed and planted in the right way, a simple, low maintenance garden can be easy and straight forward to care for.
Is there such a thing as a no maintenance garden?
Every garden is going to take some level of time and input to keep it looking at its best. The more thought and research that goes into a low maintenance garden from the beginning, the easier its going to be to look after in the long term.
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