Your outdoor space is for relaxing in - and low maintenance gardens ideas are here to to max up your enjoyment while dialling down the chores.
The very best modern garden ideas allow you to get the most from your outdoor space with the minimum of effort, it could be time to take a moment, especially if your summer generally involves an endless loop of watering and weeding, deadheading and deck maintenance. With a few easy switches you can transform your garden into more of a hangout zone, less of a hamster wheel.
The jobs that are most time-consuming include lawn care, weeding, and keeping patios looking good. But extra work is created by choosing the wrong plants too, the ones that need lots of TLC such as watering, feeding, dead heading and pruning.
How long do you want to spend on stuff like this? The amount of time you have to devote to your garden on a daily, weekly or monthly basis should be a major consideration when thinking about the overall design.
When it comes to planting, steer clear of anything that's too needy (staking, spraying), complicated (espaliering) or stressful (the Chelsea Chop). Instead come up with a list of low maintenance planting ideas and don’t be tempted by random buys. Make planting a pushover by sticking with easy options that give months of pleasure - and no dead heading.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about low maintenance garden ideas that work.
1. Choose plants that keep on giving
Opt for plants that are hassle free, bounce back if you neglect them and quietly do their own thing for months - the simplest of low maintenance garden ideas. Wondering how to choose plants for your modern garden? Bamboo, ferns and ornamental grasses are good choices as they add structure, a cool design element and year round interest. All they need is a quick comb through with your fingers occasionally to get rid of dry foliage.
Try planting up containers with succulents such as echeverias and sempervivums for another easy planting idea. Use cactus compost and make sure there are plenty of drainage holes in the bottom of your pot. Position in the sunniest spot in the garden and enjoy. But remember: they need to go indoors at the end of summer.
If you want colour and fragrance, lavender ‘Hidcote’ is a good bet, and popular among modern front garden ideas. It does its own thing for months on end. Another easy plant with staying power is Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’. The handsome inky-blue spikes bloom from May to September.
2. Cut down on watering
Choose the largest pots you can find and group them together. As well as making an eye-catching statement, watering them and tidying up is easier too as they’re all in one place. Another benefit to this simple low maintenance garden idea is that there’s only so much growing plants can do in a pot, which means less pruning.
Some of the latest pots also have reservoir systems, such as Lechuza's self-watering planters, which keep your plants hydrated for up to three months for another time saving hack. You can also get drip devices that you insert in the pot.
Water thoroughly once a week rather than watering little and often, which encourages roots to stay near the surface where they will dry out more quickly. Instead they drill deeper to find moisture. Applying a thick mulch of organic matter around the base of plants in spring helps lock in moisture too.
3. Go for chore-free patio maintenance
The more hard landscaping you opt for, the less garden maintenance you generally need to do. If you’re considering some patio ideas, think about possibly extending it to create a more generous space and cut back on a high maintenance lawn area.
The ‘harder’ the hard landscaping, the easier it will be to look after. This means slabs and pavers are less work than decking, which are less low maintenance garden ideas because they need regular cleaning and varnishing. The latest products like Symphony Vitrified Plank Paving by Marshall’s look like natural stone but are stain resistant, which makes them maintenance free.
Always choose pavers and slabs wherever possible. Think about using one of the newer materials like Bradstone’s Halus. A hardwearing paver that looks like natural stone, it’s stain resistant, hard wearing and maintenance free. Another plus is that it doesn’t need sealing either.
4. Opt for easy evergreens
They look smart and provide a cool green backdrop for your garden design. Evergreens require minimal maintenance too, and their structure extends the seasonal appeal right through late autumn and into winter. Neat greenery such as standard box trees clipped into pompoms look effortlessly smart every time.
Another easy to look after plant with staying power is viburnum, which keeps on giving whatever the month. It’s a looker too. Try ‘Aurora’ with its clusters of glossy black berries in autumn and leaves that turn red to switch up your colour palette.
Evergreens are generally happy-go-lucky shrubs, settling into pretty much any soil or position in your garden with the minimum of fuss. Sit back and relax as you don’t need a lot of plant know-how to achieve spectacular results. What’s not to like?
5. Ban the hoe
Dandelions, bindweed, nettles and the one that’s everywhere but you don’t know the name of – weeds are just so demanding. Cut down on time spent on them with these easy tricks.
Avoid leaving patches of bare soil at all costs as weeds will move in fast. Plant as densely as you can with super spreaders in drifts like herbacious perennials so every inch of soil is covered and becomes a no-go area for weeds.
Choose landscaping materials such as slate or decorative chippings to cover any areas of bare soil that can quickly turn into weed beds that demand your attention. Try a heavy duty weed control fabric that can be cut to fit around any existing planting and cover it with a thick layer of chippings. As well as looking professional it will save time and effort as it creates a barrier. Voila – no more weeding!