So you don’t want to spend half the year tending to your lawn, watering plants and weeding flower beds?
We don’t blame you. That’s why we’ve published this guide to creating the ultimate low maintenance garden.
On this page, you’ll find suggestions, ideas and products that will ensure your garden looks fantastic without the need for constant attention.
Planning is the key to any successful garden design and it’s easier to create a low maintenance garden from scratch then it is to alter a garden that’s already been built.
Consider these important points:
The Location of “Labour Intensive” Plants
If you have plants that require lots of attention, such as watering, feeding and dead-heading, it’s generally best to locate them as near to the house as possible. You can keep an eye on them without trekking to the end of the garden and watering will be quicker as they’ll be located closer to the tap.
Reduce the Size of the Lawn and Increase the Patio or Decking Area
If you have a large area of grass in your garden, it will require frequent cutting, watering, weeding and repairing with new seeds.
Reduce the size of the lawn and you’ll instantly reduce the time you spend maintaining the garden.
With a smaller lawn, you’ll have more space for a larger practical patio or decking area, which requires less maintenance.
Choose the Right Plant For the Right Place
Not all plants are suitable for chalky soil, many will struggle on windswept locations and some barely grow in shady areas.
Some plants thrive in a crowded flower bed while others need space to grow into.
Trying to get the best from a plant in the wrong location is an uphill battle that requires time and attention.
Choose your plants carefully at the design stage and ensure they’re suitable for the location – you’ll reduce the amount of maintenance needed.
Install a Drip Irrigation System
Irrigation systems will save you so much time.
While these are often used by gardeners to water pots and hanging baskets, they can, in fact, be used to water any part of the garden.
A single kit will reach 15 containers or baskets and the system is modular so you can buy extra parts and extend the system.
Each “drip” can be adjusted so larger plants receive more water than smaller ones.
Add a timer and you can completely automate the entire process of watering your garden.
Here’s a review from an Amazon customer:
I purchased two of these and a Hozelock Sensor Plus to water 20 pots in my garden while I was away for three weeks during the summer of 2016. It did the job perfectly and all of the plants looked great when I returned. As a bonus, It used to take me an hour using a hose every other day. Now I just sit back and the system trickles water into the pots for 60 minutes in the morning and sixty minutes in the evening every other day.
2 Simple Steps to Prevent Weeds
Weeding is perhaps one of the least satisfying tasks to undertake in the garden.
To prevent weeds from growing in your flower beds you need to adopt a two-step approach.
The first step is to lay a weed proof membrane or fabric just underneath the top layer of soil. This material won’t be visible but will block weeds from rearing their ugly heads.
The second step is to scatter a thick layer of dried bark on top of the soil. This will also act as a barrier preventing weeds whilst also allowing water to pass through.
If you don’t cover the ground with bark and you leave the flower beds rather sparse, weeds will soon take hold.
Weed proofing your garden is far easier than periodically manually digging out weeds.
The materials needed are cheap and readily available online or via most garden centres.
Artificial Lawns – The Ultimate Low Maintenance Garden Product
20 years ago you would have been the laughing stock of your street had you replaced your lawn with artificial grass.
Fortunately, things have changed and the quality of these products has improved considerably.
More and more homeowners are considering artificial grass for these reasons:
- it won’t go brown from dog or cat mess
- never needs cutting
- looks green all year round, including in shaded areas
- cheaper than its ever been
- can be installed DIY
- no watering, feeding or weeding, the ultimate low maintenance garden option
Check out our awesome guide to artificial lawn costs here.
Want to Keep Your Real Grass? Buy a Robot Lawn Mower
If you cannot bring yourself to swap your lush green natural lawn for an artificial alternative, you can buy a “robot” lawn mower.
This is the lazy gardener’s dream – a battery powered and fully automated cutter that will trim 30 sq metres per hour.
It comes complete with sensors to prevent damaging collisions and works with both regular and irregular shaped lawns.
Flymo is the industry leader in this niche but there are other products on the market.
Swap Flower Beds for Shrubs and Small Hedges
Annual plants and herbaceous perennials require a lot of attention, from frequent watering and feeding to dead-heading throughout the growing season.
Shrubs are a perfect alternative for flower beds as they require little maintenance.
Slow growing hedges are another low maintenance option that would look great around the borders of your garden.
This page lists 5 low maintenance hedges, many only require a light trim once per year.
Choose Permeable Paving
Drains and channels prevent your patio or driveway from becoming waterlogged but unfortunately, they require frequent maintenance, especially if you have lots of trees nearby that shed leaves, twigs and seeds.
To reduce your maintenance, we suggest you consider permeable paving products when you’re at the design stage of your next garden project.
These products are designed specifically so water passes directly through the material and into the ground below.
No more blocked drains, water channels or filters.
The “No Scrub” Patio Cleaner
If you find your patio looks green, grubby or has black marks/spots on the surface, you may be tempted to power wash the slabs or to scrub them with a chemical.
There is an easier method, one so simple that you can clean a huge patio in less than half an hour, all without even breaking a sweat.
I’ve been raving about Benzalkonium Chloride for years because:
- it’s very powerful.
- becomes inactive once dry, so is safe for pets and children.
- is cheap and a small amount can be diluted with enough water to create dozens of litres.
- for large areas, you can apply it via a backpack sprayer.
All you need to do is apply this liquid once a year and you’ll have a beautiful patio all year, every year.
One of the easiest ways to reduce your driveway maintenance is to seal it.
You’ll see these benefits:
- no oil stains.
- no weeds growing through gaps.
- mould, lichen and moss resistant
- makes cleaning the surface much easier and quicker
Check our guide to driveway sealing and prices here.
Thing to Avoid
We think you should avoid these three common mistakes:
Fine, high-quality turfs that look like they belong on a golf course require attention all year round, this includes:
- regular watering
Too Many Small Pots or Troughs
The compost in small containers will dry out quickly in the summer, so will require frequent watering.
Also, the smaller the pot, the more feed you’ll need to use. Don’t forget that with annuals, you’ll need to re-pot every year.
We recommend using larger pots with a greater capacity so the compost won’t dry out so quickly.
Hedges That Require Regular Trimming
Choose the wrong hedge at your peril!
Some fast-growing hedges will take over your garden, reduce the sunlight and increase the garden maintenance needed, all within a few years of planting.