15 Aug 2019
Low Maintenance Garden – No time? No Problem
If you are hoping to make your outside space an ideal place to relax but are limited for time or just not much of a gardener, then a low maintenance garden could be your answer.
There are plenty of ways to make the space somewhere you love to kick back and relax, while also impressing your guests. Following some easy steps, regardless of whether you are able to carry out the work yourself, will make your low maintenance garden easy to achieve.
Top tips for a Low Maintenance Garden
Make the spaces manageable
While you may already have an idea of the style you are hoping to go for you will want to consider how to make the spaces manageable. Simply limiting the number and size of planted areas will be a huge step in the right direction. If you are keen on having beds then keep them to the edge and box them in, either with paving, edging or sleepers.
Choose your plants wisely
Doing your research and limiting the number of different plants is key. Remember, you are looking for low maintenance, so find evergreens and plants that are easy to deal with quickly so that you are not spending any spare time you do have constantly pruning or picking up waste.
Lose the lawn
Although people often see having a lawn as an integral part to making their outside space feel like a garden, green grass takes time.
Keeping a lawn healthy requires a fair amount of effort, not just with a weekly cut, but everything else that goes with it… de-weeding, feeding and keeping it clear of fallen debris and this is all on the assumption you have an easy shaped patch of grass to tend to.
If you are limited for space this also ensures you don’t have to find storage space for a mower. There are some easy low maintenance alternatives, such as artificial turf, paving, graveling and decking.
If you have nowhere that is appealing to sit then you have nowhere to enjoy your low maintenance garden. Garden furniture doesn’t have to cost the earth either, a set for al fresco dining, sun loungers or general seating can be picked up without huge price tags and then you are already halfway to relaxing outside.
Despite the fact you are looking to achieve a low maintenance garden you still need to keep it in check. If you have done your ground work in the first instance all you’ll need is a handful of tools and it will be just like your indoor housework.
Making the right choices
Work to an affordable budget
You don’t want to start work on your outside space and overrun in costs, measure up and work out exactly what you need so that you make the right choice. There are always cost-effective alternatives, you could opt for edging over sleepers, paving over decking and consider the lifespan of what you are buying as you don’t want to be regularly replacing anything.
Unattended, open beds are a haven for weeds but if you prepare the ground and area carefully you should find the time they take to maintain far less hassle.
If you are going to plant beds, then have them well prepared. There are plenty of options for adding planted beds to a garden, whether ground dug, raised or stand-alone they all require some consideration.
Following a few simple steps can make all the difference:
- Deweed the area where you are planning to install beds
- Get the spacing right between the plants so they have room to grow
- Use a high-quality and double layered membrane to control weeds
- Cover over non-planted areas with a layer of stone, gravel or slate
Maintaining what you put in
If you decide to stain or paint decking, fencing or wood-based furniture you need to remember it will require semi-regular maintenance during it's lifespan as it takes the brunt of the elements. Allowing them to take a natural path ensures you will put in less work in the long run.
While wood decking will always require more upkeep than fencing and furniture there are alternatives such as a composite. You should carefully consider the investment it takes for both your time and the cost comparison between the two options.
If you decide to lay slabs or paving, they only require a quick sweep rather than treatment. When laid correctly in the first instance, slabs or paving don't require too much maintenance, but over time you can expect them to potentially move due to uncontrollable factors such as the weather and roots underneath them. So the slabbed/paved walkway or patio may need releveling at some stage.
When it comes to maintaining your outside space, you don’t want to be up against it from the minute go. Having the tools you need easily accessible will put you in a better mindset, you may want to invest in new storage space rather than having to lug things out from a dirty old shed or the garage.
Rushing in head first without proper planning generally results in a low-quality outcome, which causes more work longer term. If you are unsure of how to achieve what you are looking to do, seek advice from friends and/or professionals.