Low Maintenance Garden Designs and Ideas

A well-turned out garden can be a great asset to any home, after all, who wouldn’t want somewhere to relax and dine outside in the summer? However, a picturesque garden can be a lot of work, so if you don’t have the time or inclination, here are some great, low maintenance garden designs and ideas to inspire you.

Low maintenance garden ideas

Firstly, using the right materials can go a long way to making sure your garden is as easy to maintain as possible – go for things like: slate, treated timber, gravel and stone.  It’s a good idea to include a lot of hard landscaping features for a low-maintenance garden, such as:

  • Decking – a decking area can create an outdoor seating or dining area and will require minimum maintenance once installed. Wooden decking is the most popular option; just make sure you choose a well-treated timber that doesn’t need resealing every year. Composite and uPVC are other, less conventional decking alternatives.
  • Paving – get rid of as much labour-intensive lawn as you can by using clever paving.
  • Patiolaying a patio will create another area outdoor area to sit, eat and relax in that doesn’t require ongoing maintenance. Choose from a durable range of materials such as clay, stone or concrete for long-lasting results. Most importantly, make sure that your patio is installed by a professional for a top-quality finish that won’t require additional maintenance.
  • Paths – strategically-placed paths are a functional way to cut down on lawn space, separate areas of your garden and create some aesthetic interest – use paving, gravel or even chipping to create your garden paths.

If you’re serious about creating a low maintenance garden, here are some things to avoid:

  • A lot of lawn space – lawns need a lot more looking after than you might think. In addition to regular mowing you’ll need to aerate, feed, scarify and weed your lawn to keep it healthy.
  • High maintenance plants – avoid plants that will need a lot of pruning and care, such as roses; hanging baskets can also be very difficult to look after.
  • Complicated planting patterns – stick to lines or belts when planting to keep things simple.
  • Elaborate border shapes – curved edges, for example, can be difficult to trim around.
  • Growing lots of produce – while some vegetables such as lettuce, onions and carrots can be fairly easy to grow at home they’ll still require some maintenance, so limit the amount you grow and avoid more time-consuming produce.

Low maintenance garden plants

Plant care is one of the most time consuming gardening tasks, so it’s essential to go for options that can cope when left to their own devices. Examples of low maintenance plants include:

  • Conifers – there are over 1,500 varieties of conifers, so there’s a wide range of shapes and sizes to choose from. Small, slow-growing conifers won’t take much looking after and will give your garden some colour all year-round.
  • Shrubs – are a low maintenance way of adding some interest in your garden; they’ll also supply flowers and berries to add some colour. Shrubs are also a great way to create borders and areas.
  • Bulbs – these require minimum effort; all you need to do is plant them and then they’ll continue to flourish year after year.  Think daffodils, tulips, bluebells and snowdrops.

Garden maintenance services

It can be hard to find time to look after even a low maintenance garden; especially if you’re not all that interested in gardening. That’s why it could be a good idea to hire a professional garden maintenance service to keep your outdoor areas looking great.

Mark @ My Kitchen, Pantry, Cabinet says:

My parents recently moved and their new yard is all hauled in pebble. It prevents erosion and obviously requires no watering, the ultimate in “low maintenance.” It also looks better than I thought.

ablyth says:

Great tip Mark!

What really takes time when maintaining a garden – is watering. When you install automatic irrigation you can invite a gardener just twice per year to do the trimming etc

ablyth says:

Yes, watering is very time consuming and if you can afford it, automatic irrigation is a great idea.

Cate May says:

Low-maintenance gardening allows you to enjoy the time you spend tending to your plants because you won’t suddenly find yourself in the middle of an all-weekend project. All it takes is careful consideration of what you plant basically, plants that don’t require a ton of care.

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