10 Ways to Create a Low Maintenance Garden

Having a garden you can relax and unwind in is one of life’s true pleasures, but many people find their garden causes them far more stress and frustration than it ever does relaxation. If you aren’t into gardening–or simply just don’t have the time for it at the moment–looking out on your garden can make you feel like there’s just another thing on your to-do list.

The good news is you don’t have to choose between a completely paved garden with no greenery or an out of control mess – if you use the tips we’re about to share with you, you can create a space you truly adore and find pleasure in using or looking out upon, whether it’s the height of summer or deepest depths of winter.

 

10 Ways to Easily Create a Low Maintenance Garden

1. Limit Flower Bed Size & Limit Plant Variety

The first thing to do is to seriously consider the size of any flowerbeds you have. Many people have big flowerbeds that are 3 or 4 feet wide, and that’s a lot of space to fill and maintain if you don’t want it to turn into a tangled mess of weeds and plants. Instead, consider having a flowerbed that is only 1 or 2 feet wide, as this will make it much easier to manage.

Once your flowerbeds are a manageable size, limit the variety of plants in your garden. It is best to choose about five varieties so you can easily learn the requirements of each plant and get to know those few very well.

This will also mean that you will be able to identify weeds without even thinking so that you can get rid of them before they spread.

Low-maintenance plant varieties include:

  • Geraniums
  • Bulbs, like alliums, crocus, daffodils, lilies, nerines, and snowdrops
  • Wildflowers
  • Erysimum ‘Bowles’ Mauve’
  • Holly
  • Exotics, like yucca and dasylirion
  • Bergenia
  • Abelia
  • Succulents
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Pittosporums
  • Cotoneasters
  • Mahonias
  • Helianthemums
  • Pieris
  • Euonymus
  • Viburnums

If you’re not keen on doing any planting at all, you can find ready-planted pots at the garden center that you can simply place on hard landscaping in your garden. Just make sure that you remember to water them to keep them colorful and healthy when it is hot outside.

If you think you might forget to water your plants, select plants that have a high drought tolerance and can still thrive in full sun. That way, they should be happy until the next rainfall even if you forget to head outside and water them.

If you’re not sure what flowers and plants would work in your garden, use Gardeners’ World’s plant finder.

Limit Flower Bed Size

2. Use an Artificial Lawn and Paving

One of the most time consuming and difficult things to maintain in a garden is the lawn. During the summer it needs mowing every week (if not multiple times), and the borders need to be tidied regularly with careful cutting. Unless you want your garden to turn into a meadow (great for insects and wildlife, but not for everyone!), the most low-maintenance alternative to a lawn is artificial lawn and paving.

All paving needs is a bit of a sweep, and an artificial lawn isn’t much different! To maintain an artificial lawn, you simply need to keep it clean by removing debris and washing it down every so often if you have pets that are using it as a bathroom, much like any hard landscaping. Rainfall will do much of the work for you!

Paving gives you a great space to add outdoor furniture and decorate with potted plants, and an artificial lawn will stay looking smart, and usable by children and pets all year round with very little maintenance time required.

On your patio, opt for metal garden furniture which can be kept outside at all times without being damaged by harsh weather conditions and can easily be wiped clean.

An artificial lawn also makes the perfect play area for your kids. Sand, although a popular play material, can get everywhere and will soon have your garden looking messy and take up too much of your time clearing it up. With an area of artificial grass, your kids’ play area will look tidy and keep your garden (and children!) clean.

Make sure that any hardscaping you choose has some resistance to algae, that will turn it green so that you won’t need to worry about jet washing frequently.

Use an Artificial Lawn

3. Plant Smart

If you want your garden to be largely paved or laid with artificial grass, consider using “pocket beds” where you add in strategic breaks in the hardscaping to add a small bed area. Small circular or square beds incorporated within paving will require little maintenance and give a very contemporary look to your garden.

Pocket beds like these prevent your garden from looking lifeless and has the benefit of your plants being surrounded by hard-standing or artificial grass weeds won’t easily push through.

With smaller planted areas, your plants have a better chance of completely filling the bed, working to naturally prevent weed growth and therefore making less work for you.

If you want to go really low-maintenance, fill these thin planted areas with hardy shrubs which pretty much take care of themselves.

Limit Flower Bed Size

4. Try Top-Dressing Beds

If it is simply a case of having limited time to care for your garden, especially removing weeds, you may want to think about top-dressing your flower beds. This is where you cover the soil with a layer of something that will keep weeds at bay. You can use chippings, mulch, slate, or gravel to keep everything looking smart.

Top-Dressing Beds

5. Avoid Certain Plants

As well as only choosing a small variety of different plants, there are also several plant types that you should avoid in order to create a low maintenance garden.

You should avoid annuals, such as bedding plants, and tender plants that need a lot of care to keep alive. You should also steer clear of sowing seeds as they need special care to help them germinate and grow, as well as vegetables as they can be very fussy.

You should also avoid plants such as delphiniums which will need staking, as well as climbers which can quickly take over the garden without careful direction and maintenance.

These tips go for planters and hanging baskets, too – many of the flowers that come in ready-planted hanging baskets are very delicate and will roast in the sun if you forget to water them on a hot day.

Avoid Certain Plants

6. Add a Rock Garden

If you want to get rid of regular flower beds and soil completely, but don’t want to have a plant-less garden, you should consider adding a rock garden to your space. This feature will look visually appealing and will pretty much fend for itself.

Simply plant some alpine plants and succulents and surround them with large rocks and small pebbles to totally cover the soil. This will provide you with interesting texture in your garden and prevent weeds. Just make sure that you stick to natural-colored stones and pebbles so it looks natural and not like a children’s fish tank.

Rock Garden

7. Go Wild

If you love the look of flowers but want them to take care of themselves, wildflowers are the answer. You can find several wildflower seed mixes which can practically be thrown onto soil or even into grass and left to their own devices. Wildflowers don’t need any maintenance and they are brilliant for bees, butterflies, other insects and wildlife – great if you’d rather sit on the patio and watch the world go by than provide space for running kiddos and dogs.

Go Wild

8. Use Raised Beds

Utilizing raised beds, whether on top of existing soil or over your hard landscaping, can help you to have more control over your plants. A raised flower bed will stop them from spreading and will create interest by adding height to your garden. You’d also be surprised by how much more willing you are to garden – it’s often the bending down and spending time on our hands and knees that puts us off gardening in the first place!

Raised Beds

9. Stick to Adult Plants

Make sure that you stick to well-established plants when selecting your specimens as they will be better suited to fill a space, ensuring that they take root before weeds can take over. Seedlings and saplings are easily out competed at that early stage and are more difficult to look after.

Adult Plants

10. Choose Attractive Fencing

The fencing surrounding your garden is just as important as any other aspect of your outside space. If you have an unsightly fence, you will be more inclined to try and cover it up with live plants which, although they look great, will soon become difficult and time-consuming to maintain. If you can afford to, it is well worth upgrading your fencing to something you are happy with in a style and color that ties in with the rest of the garden. If that’s not possible, look into artificial green wall panels, artificial hedging, or even using a few mirrors to reflect your garden space back at you, rather than the side of someone else’s house or an orange-toned neighbor’s fence.

 

Creating your own low maintenance garden comes down to cutting down the workload without simply covering your garden in ugly concrete. By creating narrow borders and adding an artificial lawn, you can produce an attractive yet functional low maintenance garden where you can simply relax and spend time with family and friends. At NeoGrass, we can provide you with the best artificial lawn for your low maintenance garden no matter the size and design. Get your free samples of NeoGrass now to see just how realistic our artificial grass looks and decide which is right for you.