Low Maintenance Gardening Hacks
We know most of us would love a dazzling garden to lounge around in for the back end of this summer, but we also know of the time and effort it requires to make our outdoor space stand out. Whilst no successful garden will ever be particularly zero maintenance, we’ve provided a few ideas and gardening activities to allow you to take a back seat and let nature take its course in your quest to create a beautiful, low maintenance garden. Let’s call this, one for the lazy gardener.
1. A Low Maintenance Garden requires simplicity
One golden rule you can introduce for your low maintenance garden is to keep the number of different plants you have to a minimum. Whilst an array of plants from all corners of the globe may create a colourful and vibrant garden, the sheer task of maintaining them all can become pretty daunting!
Size dependent of course, we recommend sticking to between 5 and 10 variations of plants. Avoiding tender plants that require seasonal tasks such as lifting, winter wrapping, moving to a protected environmental, or seasonal propagation can also be important in minimising your gardening labour.
Plants such as Hydrangea Macrophylla, Hostas, Dianthus, Hardy Geraniums, and Coral Bells will all make excellent additions to your low maintenance garden, as they tend to be generally pest-free, and only require infrequent feeds with slow-release fertiliser or organic material top ups.
2. Let Your Borders Grow Wild
A shift in trends has seen the more immaculate, neatly trimmed gardens being slowly replaced with lazier, more overgrown wilderness style ‘jungle’ themed gardens over the years – and we’re all here for it. This style provides your garden with a more rugged, natural appeal, whilst requiring much less time for weeding and pest control too.
So, letting your borders flourish with a beautiful mixture of hardy meadow blooms and grasses, will not only give your garden that lazy oasis feel, but also pollinators will love it too, keeping your garden’s wildlife thriving. To do so, simply plant a selection of easy-care perennials, including salvias, echinacea, and achilleas, and let them blossom, requiring only a rough trim back at the end of the flowering season.
3. Never Underestimate the Shrubs
All that back-breaking time spent uprooting weeds can be saved by replacing your perennial beds with some hard-wearing shrubs. This is because shrubs are much easier to plant through weed-suppressing membranes, and they require much less frequent watering and upkeep.
Once planted, add a layer of mulch on top – bark and gravel will do the job – and put your feet up. You’ll be glad to hear that shrubs thrive with very little human intervention. We recommend planting native shrubs wherever possible in your garden, especially nearby fellow native plants including grasses and wildflowers, where they’ll bloom to enhance your garden's wilderness.
Shrubs have an abundance of benefits for your garden, including their ability to attract a wide variety of bees, insects, butterflies and birds to keep your garden’s eco-system flourishing. Their filtration of dust and pollutants will also keep the air quality in your garden at healthier levels too, not to mention the gorgeous colours they can bloom into as they enter their seasonal colours, which can vary across the entire year to ensure your garden has a sparkle through all seasons.
4. Keep that Low Maintenance Garden Grass Growing
Experiment with lawn lengths as you can perhaps showcase a particular section of your grass to be trimmed, and well-kept, whilst other sections grow wild to create that natural, effortless feel.
Not only does this free up your to-do list, it can also help promote local wildlife in your garden. Species such as bees, butterflies, hedgehogs, frogs and other creepy crawlies need longer grass to thrive. By simply not mowing your lawn for up to one month, you can increase the abundance and diversity of bees in particular, of whom we all know are vital in improving our daily life quality in their pollination of flowers, plants, and trees to keep the cycle of life turning.
5. Appreciate the Power of the Perennials
Perennials aren’t fussy, and come in a whole range of colours and varieties to give your garden that exotic feel without the back-breaking hard work. Hardy Geraniums are a fine example, flowering for long periods of time, requiring very little attention and upkeep, and come in a vast selection to choose from to suit your garden size and style. They’re additionally great for pollinators too, such as bees and hoverflies, and some flower until the first frosts – providing long seasons of nectar and pollen.
Erigeron karvinskianus is another lovely low-maintenance plant that is becoming more and more popular in drier gardens throughout the UK. Grow yours in well-drained soil in full sun and watch them bloom through long periods of summer – often from June right through to October. Fortunately, they seem to thrive when being neglected from human interference too, and spread quickly to create neat mounds or low hedging, making gorgeous features down the sides of stone or brick steps, or tucked away in wall crevices.
“The Love of gardening is a seed that once sown, never dies” – Gertrude Jekyll
So, there’s a few tips to get your low maintenance garden up and running, hopefully freeing up some time and keeping you occupied with what you most enjoy in life. We know there’s always another million and one jobs to be done, but do take the time to reconnect with the outdoors and heighten your sense of biophilia – the drive and desire to surround yourself in nature. It’s good for the soul, and as Charlotte Eriksson once said – “There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it.”