8 Ways to Create a Low-Maintenance Garden
Elton John reportedly said, ‘I cannot bear gardening, but I love gardens.’ He’s not alone, and with today’s increasingly busy lifestyles, many people are choosing low-maintenance options when it comes to designing their gardens.
Finding time to dedicate to weeding, watering, mowing the lawn and pruning can prove to be a difficult task for many.
But it’s not just the lack of time that is forcing people to consider low-maintenance options; many people may be physically incapable of maintaining their gardens due to disability or old age.
There are also many people who lack the knowledge or inclination to get their hands dirty in the garden.
Despite these reasons, everyone still wants their garden to look neat and tidy and be a nice place to spend time relaxing or entertaining.
We all want to be able to enjoy our garden without having to become a slave to it.
But how exactly do you achieve a low-maintenance garden that still looks attractive?
Well, luckily, there are plenty of ways in which this can be achieved and many of these tips and techniques can be carried out at the cost of very little of your precious free time.
In this article we are going to be discussing some of the ways in which you can create a low-maintenance garden that allows you to spend what little free time you have relaxing in it rather than working in it.
1. Create Low-Maintenance Plant Beds
Its relatively straightforward to create low-maintenance plant beds.
Installing bark mulch is a great way to reduce the amount of maintenance required as it will help suppress weed growth whilst locking in the moisture and nutrients needed to help your plants grow.
Bark mulch is relatively inexpensive and your local garden centre will be able to supply it to you in either bulk bags or 25kg bags.
As bark mulch is light, it’s easy to install and doesn’t require a huge amount of effort, but the results can be very effective in reducing maintenance.
It also has the added bonus of having a very pleasant aroma.
If you don’t like the look of bark chippings, then you could instead consider installing decorative aggregate, such as slate or granite chippings, which will have a similar effect.
Be sure to install a weed membrane first, though, to prevent weed growth.
2. Install Artificial Grass
The popularity of artificial grass has grown at an astonishing rate over the past few years, and there is little wonder.
As manufacturing techniques have improved, and with the advent of technologies such as Instant Recovery, Feelgood and Natural Look, the performance and realism of artificial grass has gone through the roof.
Although we wouldn’t be being entirely truthful if we said that artificial grass requires ‘zero maintenance’ as, of course, there is a degree of maintenance involved; however, it’s minimal when compared to the upkeep required for real grass.
For many, one of the biggest chores when it comes to maintaining their gardens is the constant mowing, feeding and weeding that their lawn demands.
Artificial grass will put an end to this misery.
If you decide to install an artificial lawn, be sure to choose the right grass to suit your needs. If your fake lawn will be subjected to heavy use, be sure to choose a grass that can withstand it.
Likewise, if your lawn will be more for ornamental use, it would be pointless to buy the best quality synthetic grass.
For further information on choosing artificial grass for your garden, check out our ‘Ultimate Guide to Choosing Artificial Grass for Your Garden Lawn’.
3. Choose Low-Maintenance Plants
Alongside a low-maintenance lawn, one of the best ways of reducing the amount of work your garden needs is to choose the right plants.
If you make the wrong decisions here, you could find yourself having to carry out regular plant maintenance that you could do without or else find that your garden quickly grows out of control.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a ‘zero maintenance’ plant, but some choices are better than others.
Hardy evergreens typically require very little maintenance once properly established.
Perennial plants, such as achillea, echinacea, hostas and baptisia, all make for excellent choices as they will demand very little of your time to keep them looking at their best.
It’s also important to check the maximum size any plant will grow to, otherwise you may find yourself having to prune them more than you anticipate.
Of course, it may be too drastic for some, but you could even consider removing plants from your garden entirely.
To keep your garden as low-maintenance as possible, choosing low-maintenance plants is key – but make sure you do your research on the maintenance requirements and potential for growth before purchasing any new planting.
4. Make Use of Potted Plants
Putting plants in pots can be a great way to reduce maintenance work.
By putting plants in pots you’ll be reducing the amount of weeding work that needs to be done within your garden. If the pots are especially big, then you could treat them as suggested for flower beds, above. Add weed membrane, and either bark chippings or aggregate.
You’ll still need to water your plants, but you may wish to consider installing an automatic irrigation system to take care of this for you.
Which leads us nicely on to our next idea…
5. Install an Automatic Irrigation System
Has watering your garden become too much of a chore?
If so, why not consider installing an automatic irrigation system?
A wide range of automatic watering systems can be purchased from your local garden centre, or even online, and many of them are quick and easy to install.
If you find yourself continuously watering your lawn throughout the summer months, consider installing a sprinkler system.
Or if beds and pot plants are an issue, you can fit a drip irrigation system which typically consists of a small network of pipes that drip feed your plants the required water.
Irrigation systems can save you many hours of watering. The initial installation can take some time, but the long-term investment may be worth it.
6. Create a Gravel Garden
Why not ditch the lawn and consider a gravel garden?
Gravel gardens are easy and cost-effective to achieve; simply remove your existing lawn, install a weed membrane to prevent weed growth, and add your chosen aggregate.
There are many varieties of aggregate to chosen from and you’ll be sure to find something that suits the surroundings of your property.
Slate, granite chippings, Cotswold stone and pebbles all make for great choices here.
Your garden may still need the occasional weeding, but there will be far less maintenance than maintaining a lawn and flower beds.
If weeds become an issue, use a good quality weedkiller that can be applied quickly and easily.
7. Choose Low-Maintenance Paving
The paving that you choose for your patio and pathways can have a big impact on the maintenance needed in your garden.
Generally, block paving is a bad choice when it comes to establishing a low-maintenance garden as it tends to attract weeds.
This is because the sand-filled joints of block paving provide a good environment for weeds to thrive in.
To prevent weed growth, try sealing block paving. This will generally need to be carried out every couple of years to ensure your paving remains in tip-top condition.
In recent times, fashion trends have started to move more towards porcelain paving, due to its hard wearing and low-maintenance nature.
Porcelain is highly resistant to weeds, mould, moss and staining, meaning that it will hold its colour for many years whilst requiring very little maintenance.
If you are looking to create a low-maintenance garden, then constructing your patio and pathways using porcelain would be a great choice.
8. Consider Paving Your Entire Garden
This may be a little drastic (and possibly too expensive) for some, but this method can be very effective in creating an ultra-low-maintenance garden.
Clearly, the size of the garden will dictate whether this will be financially feasible, but for those with smaller, inner-city gardens, choosing to create a low-maintenance courtyard-style garden might be just the solution.
Paving over existing lawns and flower beds will make it far easier to maintain your garden.
Rather than weeding, pruning and mowing, all the maintenance your garden will need is the occasionally hosing down or Jetwash.
If you are like most people, you may still wish to have some greenery in your garden and this can be achieved by using plant pots or even creating a small, low-maintenance lawn area from artificial grass.
Well, there you have 8 ideas to reduce the amount of time spent maintaining your garden.
Hopefully you’ve learnt a few new tricks and have been inspired to try out new things in your garden, which will ultimately result in less time spent working and more time relaxing as, of course, that’s what your garden is meant to be for.
Luckily, the majority of these tips are relatively easy to execute and come at very little financial cost.
We’ve made sure to include advice that can be adapted to any garden, no matter the size, shape or existing features.
For many people, one of the most dreaded maintenance chores within the garden is keeping on top of their lawn.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your lawn may still look a mess.
Soil type, lack of sunlight, invasive tree roots and poorly draining ground can all result in poor quality lawns.
If you’re tired of mowing and weeding your lawn and considering installing an artificial lawn, then you have come to the right place.
NeoGrass is the UK’s most popular artificial grass supplier, with a range of 7 fake grasses to suit every garden and every application.
We are passionate about transforming gardens using the most advanced, realistic-looking artificial grass available, to make your life easier and more enjoyable.
If you have any comments or further suggestions on creating a low-maintenance garden, then leave us a comment below as we’d love to hear your ideas.