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How to create a low maintenance garden

Simple garden ideas for a fuss-free outdoor space

Life can be hectic, we get it. As much as we’d love to spend hours pruning, weeding, mowing, and tending to our plants – sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day. Between school runs and supermarket trips, fitting in time to care for your garden can seem almost impossible. Don’t fret – even if you’re short on time, you can still have a flourishing garden full of bright blooms.

We’ll show you how to use simple landscaping tips and easy to grow plants to create an outdoor area that is both beautiful and doesn’t require loads of upkeep. Keep on reading for our pick of the best low maintenance garden ideas.

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1. Plant low maintenance flowers

If you’re strapped for time, or you’re just not a confident gardener, choose low maintenance plants for your garden. When shopping around for new plants, go for hardy perennials and evergreen shrubs, as you won’t need to replant them every year. Once established, you can rely on them to provide your garden with impressive colour and beauty. Some of our favourite low maintenance perennial flowers include Echinacea, Dianthus and Sempervivum.

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2. Use a timed watering system

When you’re juggling housework and a hectic schedule – the last thing you have time for is watering your plants. Why not get a sprinkler with a timer or a drip irrigation system? That way you don’t even need to think about remembering to water them. What’s more, if you use an irrigation system you’ll have happier plants – plants grow faster and stronger when they’re watered with the correct amount of water at the right intervals.

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3. Ditch the manicured lawn

Struggling to find time to mow the lawn? Not only do you need to find a spare hour in your day, but it also needs to be a dry day (a rarity in this country), and it can’t have rained the previous couple days either. Not easy, right? Why not just leave your garden to grow wild and free? Sprinkle some wildflower meadow seeds and watch beautiful field poppies, corn marigolds, and cornflowers spring up. Pollinators and other wildlife will be in their element!

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4. Create a low maintenance gravel garden design

Gravel gardens are easy to create and care for, plus they look effortlessly chic. Use drought-tolerant plants native to the Mediterranean or South Africa. They thrive with little water and produce minimal weeds. Before creating your gravel garden, make sure you remove all perennial weeds first, and ensure you have the right balance of soil and gravel. If you don’t have a thick enough layer of gravel above the soil, some weeds could pop up. You can also grow plants and trees in a mixture of pots and containers and scatter them around your garden to create visual interest.

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5. Use lawn edging to keep weeds in check

If you want your garden to look manicured with minimal effort (who doesn’t?), use lawn edging to create a barrier between your lawn and borders. This will help to contain weeds and plant roots, stopping them from spilling over into your grass lawn. Not only does it keep everything looking neat and tidy, but edging also acts as a visual barrier which will stop anyone from walking too close to your borders.

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6. Swap flower beds for shrubs

They may look beautiful, but colourful flower beds can be a lot of work. If you’re not particularly green-fingered, replace high-maintenance flower beds with shrubs and hedges instead. They’re easy to plant, add height and texture, provide shelter, and require hardly any attention. Some of our favourite low maintenance evergreen shrubs include Ilex crenata, Euonymus japonicus and Choisya.

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7. Make use of raised beds

Raised beds are ideal for a low maintenance small garden design. They look neat, improve drainage, reduce weed growth and they can be built at an accessible height. With a raised bed you won’t need to bend over as much, so it will be a lot easier on your back. What’s more, raised beds are perfect for small gardens as you’re able to grow crops closer together. You can use a variety of materials to build a raised bed, such as wood, brick, or even old animal feeding troughs! Wondering what the best low maintenance plants for raised beds are? Try growing herbaceous perennials, alpines, and plenty of fruit and vegetables.

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8. Choose low maintenance landscaping materials

When deciding on your garden surface materials, opt for a low maintenance option. Hard landscaping such as paving or decking is much easier to care for than a grass lawn. If you’re considering decking, composite decking is long-lasting and it doesn’t require any sanding, treating, or staining – as opposed to wooden decking. If you prefer the look of paving slabs, we suggest choosing paving with a low absorbency, such as porcelain or granite, to avoid regular scrubbing. Worried about weeds? Use paving sand to seal the gaps to avoid weeds from springing up.