“Low maintenance gardens can be high on impact, and they can be just as stylish as gardens that demand regular attention, “according to Peter McHoy in his book, Planning Your Garden.
The rising cost of living is making low maintenance gardens more cost effective. However, it’s important to plan in advance rather than just run head long into it. Although a low maintenance garden can be achieved relatively easily, if you fail to plan it properly it can end up more work than it should.
Some things to consider when you are planning for a low maintenance garden are:
- Is it because you’re getting older?
- Is it because you just don’t have time?
- Are you doing it because you don’t like gardening?
- Do you still want plants and flowers?
- Is it due to financial restraints?
- Is it because you have no gardening skills?
Although there may well seem like a thousand and one reasons to change your garden to a low maintenance one, there are literally a thousand and one ways to do it.
Gardens In Wonderland can design a low maintenance garden, but there is no such situation where it could be a no maintenance landscape or no maintenance garden design.
What is the depth and quality of the soil in your existing garden?
Alwyn, the horticulturalist at Garden In Wonderland, generally recommends a depth of soil of at least 300 millimetres. Without good quality soil you cannot generate a good quality garden. A reasonable depth of soil is necessary for the purpose of holding water in the soil after irrigation of the garden.
In order to have a good balance of soil quality, you need to minimise clay, shale and sand content and replace it with better quality soil.
If you want your garden to be low maintenance – design has to play a role.
Cleverly designing your low maintenance garden will not have it look like a ‘low maintenance garden’ but a ‘wonderful place to enjoy’.
Plan the planting of the garden and choose trees and other shrubs carefully. It is wise to select as many evergreen or non-deciduous plants as possible to remove the need for cleaning up large amounts of leaves.
The more plants you use, the more tending they will require. But your initial planning will make a huge difference in the time you need to spend, as well as your enjoyment later in your perfectly designed garden.
Incorporate in your low maintenance garden design, things that are low maintenance with different textures, like pavers, gravel, pebbles, rocks etc but make sure you either have them professionally put down for you.
Inspirational ideas for low maintenance gardens.
: Paving or gravel instead of lawn can be virtually maintenance-free. They need to be well planned, however, to avoid them looking oppressive and harsh. The solution is to include a variety of materials to create contrasting shapes and textures, and to compliment this with the planting.
Gravel and stone:
These are best with drought-resistant plants such as lavenders. A few plants go a long way in this type of garden, and maintenance is limited to trimming back any plants that begin to outgrow their space. Lay the gravel thick to keep weeds away.
Pots or planters:
If you do opt for planters, try to use larger ones with greater volume of compost, as these should dry out less quickly.
Drought resistant plants:
Using drought-resistant plants that grow best in your climate and choose the ones that work the best with your garden style.
One of the nice things about ground covers is they do not need to be mowed like a lawn, they are fairly maintenance free. One of the benefits of ground cover is that they can transform a spot that is difficult to work with into a neat looking area. For example, if hills are a part of your landscape, this is an ideal area to plant ground covers. Growing anything at the base of a tree or rocky terrain is not easy. Ground covers do well in these areas.
Mulch. Mulch. Mulch.
This is your greatest asset in the garden. It conserves moisture so you water less, balances temperature shifts, minimize freezing and thawing in the winter, and suppresses weed growth.
The number of plants you use, and the size of your low-maintenance garden is up to you. If you want a garden that looks nice and is easy to maintain, it will be a good idea to eliminate complicated garden designs and plans from your mind and work on something a lot less complex, cheaper and much more easy to maintain. Contact Gardens In Wonderland for ideas, designs and border ideas for low maintenance gardens.