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How Can I Make a Low Maintenance Garden?

By: Rachel Collier - Updated: 25 Apr 2010 | comments*Discuss
Low Maintenance Garden Planting Garden

Maintaining a gorgeous garden doesn’t have to be a full time job, providing you accept that yours will exude relaxed charm rather than classic garden magazine beauty. Generally speaking you’ll get out of a garden what you put in, but there are some great ways to create and maintain a stunning low maintenance garden.

Keep it Simple

Whether you’re renovating an existing garden space, or making a new one from scratch, keeping the design simple will provide an easy-to-maintain framework. Elaborate, sweeping curved borders look fantastic if you have the time to care for them, but otherwise go for straighter lines that can be quickly tidied up if they get out of hand.

Under Foot

A well-kept lawn is a lovely addition to a garden but can be time-consuming. If you don’t want to live without grass, keep your lawn small and square. Mowing is a necessary evil but won’t take long if you keep both size and shape simple. If you can do without grass there are lots of other alternatives – think shingle for a country garden feel, decking or paving. The initial laying of alternative surfaces will require some effort but will demand little maintenance in the long run.

Perfect Plants

Low maintenance gardens call for low maintenance plants, so opt for slow-growing specimens rather than those that need frequent dead-heading, feeding or shaping. Easy lavender makes a great splash of colour, and many shrubs display stunning foliage and flowers.

Invest in a good gardening reference book to help you choose suitable options, and think about planting some bulbs that will take care of themselves and pop up effortlessly year after year. Until your shrubs establish themselves the garden might look a little bland, so if you can spare the time think about adding perennials for immediate interest and colour.

Leaf it Alone

There are some plants that will conspire to take up almost all your free time so it’s well worth getting to know what to avoid planting in a low maintenance garden. Bedding plants, though very attractive, will need lots of attention, from watering and feeding to dead-heading. Some flowering plants, like roses, also require lots of tender loving care to look their best. Look out for plants that spread and smother others too – herbs like mint and thyme can easily get out of hand. Do your homework before you plant, and don’t be seduced by beautiful blooms unless you’re willing to spend time looking after them!

Soil Savers

To suppress weeds, and therefore cut down garden maintenance time, think about spreading some mulch over soil. This will not only improve the condition of your soil, but it can also add interest. Some options include bark, gravel or good old compost. You’ll also save yourself some time watering if you wait add mulch after rain, as it will trap moisture within the soil.

Low maintenance gardening can bring the perfect balance to your outside space, leaving you time to enjoy the fruits of your light labours. Anyone for Pimms?

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