We’ve got a special guest blog all about the secrets of creating a beautiful but low-maintenance garden – this is by Kimberley Cornish, a keen gardener, who is enthusiastic to share his knowledge with the others. He is also one of the blog-authors at Summerhouse24.
There is always plenty to do in the garden, from taking care of the lawn and plants to eliminating weeds and many other tasks. It can sometimes seem as though there is hardly a moment to relax, even in winter. However, with the help of smart plant selection, simple garden design tricks and letting a few natural processes take over, gardeners can simplify and even reduce their garden chores. Follow the easy tips below and you’ll be left with a great-looking, healthy garden, with less effort.
In order to spend less time taking care of your lawn, try using high-quality seeds. There are many varieties of lawn grass, which are bred specially for slow and dense growth.
It’s also worth noting that many plants that are considered to be lawn weeds, for example dandelions, are actually excellent for wildlife including bees (they’re a great source of food for them). Why not give up on spending countless hours trying to eliminate these so-called weeds and instead opt for creating a nature-like meadow in your garden?
There is one more option for those who are looking for low-maintenance lawn alternatives, namely, ‘ground cover plants’. They, when densely planted, are a guarantee for having no weeds to get rid of. Some of the best options would be, carpet box plant (Pachysandra terminalis) or dwarf periwinkle (Vinca minor).
Autumn season tips: If you want your lawn to be looking fresh and healthy next year, you can’t afford to ignore the job of raking the fallen leaves from the lawn. There’s no need to rid your lawn of absolutely all the leaves, one leaf here and there won’t hurt. On the contrary, when mowing the lawn along with the remaining leaves, you could chop them into small pieces, increasing the bioavailability of the nutrients from the fallen leaves and helping to nourish the soil. It serves as a natural fertilizer.
Instead of leaf disposal or burning, it’s a good idea to try ranking them into piles under your trees and bushes and over your garden beds. This saves you time and effort and as an added bonus, it can help save the roots of your plants from winter frost.
Stick to minimalism
For less maintenance, try not to occupy large garden areas unnecessarily. Instead, grow your plants in small flower pots and raised beds. This will reduce your work in the garden (less watering and weeding) and will also make the transportation of your plants into garden storage or your house for the upcoming winter season much easier. Having easily transportable plants offers another advantage too – it extends their season.
Choosing the right plants can also tremendously decrease the time spent on garden maintenance. The first thing to consider is the type of your soil and your climate zone. Choosing the right plants that thrive in your garden conditions will save you a lot of hard work.
Another idea is to expand the number of perennials, which saves you from the regular replanting.
A wide range of plants can self-propagate. Planting a couple of such plants in your garden guarantees that in a couple of years, they will occupy every patch of your garden. A perfect example of self-seeders are common poppies, forget-me-nots and foxgloves. Their bright bloom will give your garden a real cottage-style, fairytale feel.
There are plenty of flowers and shrubs that propagate through the division of the root and can grow with almost no care. They won’t spread too much without your intervention, so they guarantee a neat and lively atmosphere in the garden.
Hedge trimming tips
Trimming hedges also takes plenty of time – if you want your garden to look neat, you should do it two or three times a year. However, there are many alternatives to spare you the time and effort. Have you considered gabions? Once these are set up they do not require any further maintenance. There are also quite a few ornamental shrubs that do not require regular trimming. A perfect example is peonies, which have a sweet fragrance that will spread across the garden, serving as a nice bonus. You can also consider such plants as hardy hibiscus, shasta daisy, tiger daylily, phlox, weigela, dwarf lilac, aucuba japonica or mock orange. It is always worth always asking a consultant in your local garden centre for low-maintenance plants.
If you go for gabions, you can decorate these with stones as well as with climbing plants. Choosing gabions over traditional wooden fencing can spare you the time that would be spent on re-dying the wooden surface every other year.
One more tip: If you are a fan of wooden fences, then it’s better to invest in ones made of high-quality pressure impregnated wood. The same holds true for any other outdoor wooden furniture or structures. When it comes to metal, galvanized steel is a good option, since it is considered to be the most weather-resistant and long lasting, even with no maintenance.
Let nature lend a helping hand
The best course of action for a low-maintenance, happy garden is to let nature lead the way. Don’t strive too hard for perfection or to kill every weed and rake every leaf. Keep garden wildlife in mind, do the necessary minimum and nature will take care of the rest. This approach will be appreciated by the plants and wildlife in your garden – and it also leaves you with more free time to simply enjoy your garden.
This is a guest blog from Kimberley Cornish, a keen gardener, who is enthusiastic to share his knowledge with the others. He is one of the blog-authors at Summerhouse24, but also gladly writes gardening related posts for other platforms.