Low maintenance gardens
A garden can be a time consuming passion, it is not that you need to be 'full time' gardner however you do have to put in some effort so a low maintenance style garden can certainly make things a little easier.
However even those wonderful show gardens do have a few maintenance saving tricks that we can all use.
It is the choice of garden styles, the right plants, path and water feature selection as well as the gardeners degree of perfection that will determine if a garden can be regarded as low maintenance.
Low maintenance garden styles
Some gardens are just anything but low maintenance, a formal garden with clipped hedges, manicured lawns and a perennial border is going to take some time. However if we break down those elements we can save a little time with each one.
- Lawns require work if they to look good, mowing and top dressing as well a de thatching and fertilising, and yes the removal of weeds. So how do we lower the work required.
- Less lawn is one answer and many gardeners are going this way. Or might decide to use one of the lower and slower growing grasses that requires less mowing.
- Hedges are time consuming, they need clipping at least twice a year, however that's if you want a formal hedge. A informal planting of camellias will take little work from year to year.
- Fast growing plants sound great, however that usually means pruning as well so be careful with selections.
- The crunch of gravel beneath the feet might seem like a good idea for a pathway, however you will need to renew it every year or two, pavers will last longer.
- Deciduous trees mean leaves in autumn, and this can mean 4 - 6 weeks of raking to keep lawns and paths leaf free. So evergreens are lower maintenance.
- Flowering shrubs such as camellias will drop flowers, so grow them in the border where you do not have to clean them up, instead of next to a pathway.
- Garden beds mean weeding and unless you plant correctly lots of it.
- Some plants such as roses and hydrangeas require regular pruning to keep them flowering well and looking good. It is only a once a year task, but you still need to do it.
- Shrubs are easier than perennials, so more of one and less of the other.
Creating a low maintenance garden can be a bit of nightmare.
So far we have created a garden of less and slower growing lawn, evergreen shrubs and hard surfaces, might be OK however I think we need a little more, so lets look at other w ays to do things.
An attitude change might be a start, treat the garden as regular workout, most gardens can get by with 1 hour a week or less. Of course if you have a few acres, it will take longer, but if you don't like gardening you could always buy a few sheep or goats to do the work for you.
- Weeds are the bane of all gardeners, so keep on top them, one years seeding means seven years weeding as the saying goes.
- Weed thoroughly and mulch, this prevents much of the re growth.
The perennial border nightmare.
Those wonderful organised borders with space between plants look great in the glossy magazines, however they do mean work. The more space between plants the more chance for weeds to grow, plant closely, fill up the garden with plants and choke out the weeds, rather than the other way around.
Be a little careful with those ornamental grasses, put forward as 'hardy and low maintenance, and for some it is true. Those that self seed and spread quickly by underground rhizomes can be high maintenance thugs.
Bulbs are put forward as low maintenance and they can be, depending on the type and your climate. In some climates some bulbs need to be lifted every winter, in other areas they may not.
And remember that some bulbs will self seed Nectaroscordum siculum is one, others such as species tulips are unlikely to. So read the label, if it says 'self seeds happily' it could well be a maintenance problem
Top Tips for a low maintenance garden
- less lawn or lower slower growing lawn
- plants that need little or no pruning
- more plants mean less weed
- self seeding plants CAN be a problem
- easy clean paths and surfaces
- hard surfaces mean no weeds and no mowing
- mulch to control weeds and lower watering
- deciduous trees mean raking leaves
- fast growing equal pruning in many cases
So consider these as guides to a low maintenance garden. However it might not be the look you are after.
You may also be interested in
- growing liliums in containers
- lilium care
- lilium varieties
- lilium duchartrei
- lilium lancifolium
- lilium nepalense
- lilium martagon
- lilium speciosum var. album