How to Create a Phenomenal Yet Low-Maintenance Garden

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Most of the gardens we see around us were built on the concepts of what can be done rather than cooperation. Because of this, many gardens are ecological nightmares. Not only do the plants in these gardens hate being in them – but they aren’t doing the owner any favors either.

Low-maintenance garden
Flowers in a garden

Now that we’re entering a new decade and we’re surrounded by all kinds of state-of-the-art gardening technologies, it is better we redefine our relationship with gardening. A century later, if gardens do exist, they will have much more crucial jobs. Gardens of the future will have to be less wasteful and more environmentally conscious.

To begin the journey of creating a phenomenal yet low-maintenance garden, we start by asking a few questions. How do we create a garden bed that is sustainable, which recycles a lot of resources and requires little attention too? What would happen if we preferred plants that thrive in our region naturally? Can we make our gardens graceful rather than demanding?

Looking for answers to the above questions will bring you to one important realization: garden care will start to get easier. You’ll learn to eradicate or reduce chores that are repetitive. This can be trimming, mowing, watering, edging, or feeding your plants. Are you like us, too? Have you always wanted a garden but despised the work that goes into it?

It can also be possible that you’ve rented a house that has a garden and you’re responsible for looking after it. If you’re new to the world of gardening, a low-maintenance garden is all you need. When you’re doing low-maintenance gardening, the emphasis is on:

  • Hardscaping features
  • Perennial plants
  • Laid-back elements

The reason people focus on these elements is because they don’t ask for much of your time. You don’t have to pay much attention to your garden because your garden primarily takes care of itself. So if you:

  • Are new to the world of gardening
  • Want to freshen up your garden in a simple way
  • Don’t have a lot of time to care for your garden

Then this article is precisely for you!

Since you’re already impatient to know what goes into creating the perfect low-maintenance paradise – let’s evaluate what you’ll need to transform your dreams into reality. Let’s start at the very beginning.

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Creating a Low-Maintenance Garden

Now, let us see how to create a low-maintenance garden.

Keep Plant Variety to a Minimum

In this case, it’s simple math. The fewer plants you have in your garden, the simpler it will be to look after them. This will also leave you with a lot of free time to enjoy. If you want to go a step further, you can go ahead and remove all the plants you have and try out a gravel garden. We assure you, there aren’t many options that are more low-maintenance than a gravel garden!

But if you’re not fond of the extremes – there are other options you can take. For example, you can also plant evergreen shrubs like euonymus or lavender. If you want to add color to the mix, you can introduce some colorful plant containers. But whichever plant you choose, remember this: don’t pick more than two plant types!

Two is a manageable number, once you start increasing the number of plants you have, the time you’re forced to spend in your garden increases.

Forget Your Lawn

Your lawn can demand a lot of attention on its own. That is why there’s no wonder a lawn is often called public enemy number one when you’re trying to create a low-maintenance garden. But you might be thinking – how can someone not pay attention to something as crucial as their garden lawn?

Here’s how:

  • Plant Regional or Native Plants Around the Trees You Have in Your Lawn

Try to pick plants that won’t interfere with the roots of the trees you have in your garden. For example, try picking plants like bulbs, crocus or scillas.

  • The Gravel Paths Should Be 5 to 8 Feet Wide

These paths will prevent the growth of weeds in your garden. They can also help excess water drain a bit faster. If you want to improve how your garden looks, try adding a flagstone or a paver.

  • Make Seating Areas in the Important Locations Around the Path

If you have any designated trash or compost areas in your garden, you should transform them into storage areas for your tools or as land for your benches. To keep these places clean and free from weed growth, try using flame weeders or vinegar products.

  • Replace the Area That Remains in Your Lawn With Plant Beds That Are Wide

To give your garden an all-year round splendid look, you should plant border shrubs, bulbs, different kinds of grasses, and perennials.

Spend Time on Important Things

The idea behind a low-maintenance garden is to get the most out of your garden with minimal investment of time. To do this, you’re going to have to make every minute you spend outdoors count. Look around your garden and remember all the features that you can see yourself interacting with the most.

It can be a small vegetable patch or even a small water feature. Make sure to focus your efforts on the one thing you like and minimize your efforts on every other thing in your garden. To do this, you can replace your lawn with paving. You can also swap the needy plants you have in your garden with shrub borders.

If you want to take it a step further, we recommend positioning heavy-plants near your home’s entrance or a shed. Not only will this make your entrance look cool, but it will also be easier to carry these plants inside if there’s a need.

“Weeding” Should Not Be on Your To-Do List

Low-maintenance gardening
Butterfly on a garden weed

You can easily save all the time you spend uprooting weeds! All you have to do is replace those beds (even though they can be pleasant to look at) with shrubs. Here’s why:

  • Because of a weed-suppressing membrane, shrubs can be way easier to plant.
  • Unlike their annoying yet colorful cousins, shrubs don’t require a lot of watering.

After you’re done with all of this, all you’ll need to do is add a layer on top. A bark or gravel layer can be ideal. Now, you can spend the upcoming seasons in blissful denial that invasive plants exist in your garden.

Show the Soil Some Love

Sure – feeding your plants is important, but have you ever thought about what you could achieve if you fed the soil in your garden? To feed the soil in your garden, you can cover the soil in your garden with compost. Compost is an important part of a low-maintenance garden. Compost can enrich your soil with all kinds of minerals and organic matter.

Because of this, soil tilth will increase. Because of tilth, plants can “digest” a lot more easily. The best part about this is that you’ll need to do this once a year. But if you can, and if you have the time, try to add as much compost as you possibly can. Just spread the mineral supplements under the layer of compost and you’ll be good to go.

Use Mulch

Applying mulch means covering all of the plant beds in your garden with a blanket of mulch. This blanket should be at least 5 to 7 inches deep. This method can have two purposes. It will suppress the weeds with the help of mulch, and you’ll also be able to save some moisture in the soil.

For best results, try using rotten dairy manure. Spread this manure from October all the way until April. But we only advise using this in snowless winters.

Technology Can Help

A garden can’t truly be low-maintenance if it doesn’t have an automatic sprinkler system. The simple strategy behind this is to install it in a place where you’re sure it’ll cover the maximum area of your garden. After you’ve installed this, sit back and enjoy while the sprinklers in your garden water the plants evenly.

The one thing you’ll have to do once a year is check for faults or maintain your sprinklers. If you notice a shortage of water supply, try calling a technician for help. Also, visit your garden often and check to see if every plant is getting adequate water supply. If you feel a certain plant is suffering due to inadequate water – consider adding another water sprinkler to your garden.

But don’t overdo this! Too much water can be bad for your plants too! There’s nothing worse than water that is held up in the soil.

Keep Hardscaping in Mind

When you think about it – it starts to make sense. Inanimate objects can reduce garden maintenance drastically. In other words, try replacing your lawn with gravel or paving, and you’ll reduce the number of plants in your garden. 

But with that being said, not all kinds of hardscaping are easy to maintain in great shape. And if you’re trying to softscape, you can expect a lot more effort. For example, deckings have to be cleaned frequently. In contrast, areas with gravel won’t require that much effort to keep clean. Since it’s a pavement in your garden, most of the junk on the gravel will be dead leaves.

Even wind can blow away dead leaves. If these dead leaves end up in your garden or your lawn – don’t throw them away! As they start to decompose, they can act as compost for your garden bed.

Keep Perennials in Your Kitchen Garden

Create a Low-maintenance garden
Perennial

It’s understandable that perennials can take their time to blossom – but they can also take of themselves really well! The latter quality makes perennials perfect for a low-maintenance garden. If you choose perennials, you’re also going to spend a lot less time understanding the kind of soil you have in your garden.

You also won’t have to worry about the climate or different kinds of pruning activities.

Here are some possible options that you can plant in your low-maintenance garden:

  • Sorrel
  • Wild Rocket
  • Salad burnet
  • British gooseberry

The 6 Things You Need to Avoid in Low-Maintenance Gardening

#1. Putting Containers in Your Garden

Looking after containers can be very demanding. You’ll have to constantly water and feed your plants, and you might have to repot them as well. Try to use large containers that can hold a lot of compost. They won’t have to be watered as frequently either.

#2. Planting Weak Plants

Such plants need to avoid the winter and have to be relocated constantly so they don’t die. If you don’t want to take care of a plant continuously, scratch vegetables, seeds and bedding plants from your list. Try to grow vegetation instead!

#3. Not Paying Attention to Your Plant’s Needs

If a plant likes to stay in the shade – it’s obvious you shouldn’t keep it under direct sunlight. Low maintenance does not mean that you ignore your plant’s requirements.

#4. Plants That Require Artifical Support

Examples of these plants can be delphiniums or climbing plants. They can be too tricky to maintain and they can easily grow out of your control.

#5. Painting Your Fence

The final result might look attractive but you’ll have to re-coat the paint repeatedly – so this doesn’t go well either. Leave the fence as it is!

#6. Plants That Can Be Food For Insects

Most insects can devour your garden easily, specially snails. Avoid succulent and tender leaved plants altogether.

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Parting Words

Everyone deserves time to relax and have a garden at the same time, and low-maintenance gardening helps you achieve just that. We hope we’ve changed the way you view gardening. It doesn’t have to be a chore! It can be a fun activity that you can enjoy whenever you feel like it. It shouldn’t be a responsibility, because let’s be honest – we already have enough of those! But remember – you can also neglect a low-maintenance garden! Remember to give it the little love and care it deserves.