How to create a low maintenance garden

Having a beautiful garden is a life goal for many of us, but if you’re short on time and only have a small budget, you might find that you want a lovely outdoor space that is easy to maintain. Read on for our top tips on how to make your garden gorgeous, yet low maintenance.

outdoor garden spacePhoto by Tony Zhu on Unsplash

1. Keep plant variety to a minimum

If you’re a fan of beautiful, sweet smelling flowers, look for those that won’t require you to spend hours in the garden. If you’d rather have a garden that’s lush, and green, choose something that doesn’t require too much watering and minimal cutting or pruning. Overall, it’s a good idea to choose plants that have similar watering schedules, soil preferences and light needs.

Grasses and hostas are great for adding gorgeous, leafy green vibes to your garden, as are laurel bushes and buxus. Roses and buddleia (sometimes known as the butterfly bush) bring pops of colour and depending on the type of rose, many flower again and again and are perfect for attracting bees and butterflies. Alternatively, opt for seasonal blooms like daffodils snowdrops and anemone for year-on-year pops of colour. Heaven.

2. Spend your time wisely

gardenPhoto by Matthew on Unsplash

What part of gardening do you actually enjoy? Is it giving your plants fresh water and enjoying the damp, cool air? Is it bringing up the edible delights that come from working on your vegetable patch? Discover what it is that you like doing and then make that the focal point of your garden, whether it’s a vibrant flowerbed or a practical vegetable garden. If you have a particular love for a high maintenance plant, pop it somewhere high traffic like beside your door, so you’re reminded to give it that little bit of extra attention, every time you walk past.

3. Fill your garden with perennials

Perennials are plants that live for more than two years – ideal for someone who doesn’t want to be spending their whole summer working on the garden, and would rather spend it sitting in the garden! These plants are hardwearing, often die off in winter then come back in spring and require much less maintenance than your average plant.
If you’re looking for perennial flowers, dahlias, hollyhocks and lupins will turn your garden into a riot of colour – and be a magnet for gorgeous butterflies!

Yet perennials don’t stop at flowers – why not grow fruit or herbs? Apples, blackcurrants or even grapes are amazing hardwearing plants that will give a delicious flavour to your garden. Herbs such as mint, rosemary and even fennel will spice up your garden, your cooking, and they’ll smell sensational!

What type of garden is low maintenance?

outdoor patio gardenPhoto by Natural Goods Berlin on Unsplash

A low maintenance garden is one that requires as little work as possible. That could be a garden that requires little to no mowing, weeding or watering. Could this sound more ideal? Here’s how you can achieve it.

4. A garden with fake grass

These days there are so many different types of fake grass that you can barely tell the difference between the real and the fake. But it’s worth shopping around to find the right kind for your garden. Depending on what you plan to use your outdoor space for, you might need something soft, or something more hardwearing, something easy to lay and pull up, or something more permanent. Do your research before you dive into this option, especially if you have children and pets that you need to consider too.

5. A garden with no grass

patio garden
Photo by Benigno Hoyuela on Unsplash

A large patio garden is perfect if you don’t want to worry about grass at all, or you’re working to a smaller budget. If you lay your patio correctly, you can even make sure you don’t get the dreaded weeds coming up through your stones. Break up a hardscaped garden by adding different textures, for example you could have wood chips in an area with play equipment for young children, and add gravel for an area where you may want to put some potted plants, or even a BBQ.

6. A garden filled with potted plants

Terracotta potted plantsPhoto by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

If you still want the lush green and colourful look of a beautiful flourishing garden but you have no interest in mowing the lawn, it’s time to think about potted plants. These can also be fantastic for creating a miniature garden on a balcony or a smaller area. Choose your favourite, low maintenance plants (Azalea, Agapanthus and Alstroemeria are all great choices) and display them in pots all over the space you have available. This is particularly great if you rent your home, as you can take them with you when you leave!

What are the best low maintenance plants?

7. Low maintenance flowering plants

garden with flowers Photo by Benigno Hoyuela on Unsplash

  • Marigold – beautiful oranges and yellows to give your garden a sunset feeling. These are drought resistant and heat tolerant, the cream of the crop.
  • Russian sage – these beautiful purple flowers will attract a huge array of butterflies to your garden.
  • Cosmos – Grab some seeds, throw them into your garden, and walk away. You’ll be met with beautiful, sweet smelling, delicate flowers.
  • Snowy Mespilus – this one produces beautiful flowers in the spring, then a riot of colourful leaves through summer and autumn!
  • A hardy geranium – such as Geranium psilostemon, is a great choice to fill gaps between shrubs and grasses – that way you’ve got no worries about weeds coming through!

8. Low maintenance leafy or green plants

lavender budsPhoto by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

  • Box shrub – perfect for clipping into small hedges or used as a gorgeous border plant. Get creative and turn them into different shapes!
  • Euonymus plants – these can be grown as evergreen ground cover, or trained to climb a wall, a great opportunity to change things up.
  • Bamboo – give your garden a more exotic look by planting some bamboo in places. These do need plenty of sun and water though, and also tend to take root very quickly so you might want to plant them in pots to prevent them shooting everywhere (including your neighbours’ garden!).
  • Bay tree – a beautiful bay tree will not only do well in most gardens, it’ll also provide flavour for your cooking too (be sure to get the edible kind)!
  • Lavender – a beautiful blend of green and purple, a lavender plant will grow voraciously and smell gorgeous when you brush past it. It also has wonderful properties for calm and even sleep, so plant it outside your bedroom window! It can even be used in cooking too.

9. Low maintenance grasses

artificial grass garden Photo by Greg & Lois Nunes on Unsplash

  • Grass that doesn’t need mowing – this might sound like a wonderful fantasy but there are two types of grass that grow to just about 6 inches and then stop. Look for creeping bentgrass for more shaded areas that tend to get frosty, and buffalo grass if your garden gets a lot of sun.
  • Ornamental grasses – Ornamental grasses add colour and texture to your garden all year round whilst also being low maintenance enough to make them worthwhile. Plant them in the spring and enjoy them through the summer.
  • Eco friendly landscaping options – think of things that will cover your garden in green, but won’t require maintenance and mowing. We love creeping thyme and clover for high traffic areas.
  • Evergreen moss – another interesting alternative is to plant moss in place of grass. This is ideal if your garden is very shaded and moist (hello UK summertime) and will enable you to have a beautiful green garden with very little maintenance.
  • Artificial turf – if all else fails, go artificial. This will require some planning and some budget, but once it’s in place it will stay looking nice for years to come.

How can I make my garden easier to manage?

10. Weed your garden easily

You can use black plastic or even heavy carpets to kill weeds off organically. Simply lay them over the top and leave until the weeds are dead. Clear the space and you’ve got a fantastic clear area. Once you’ve done this and planted your flowers or plants, lay mulch such as newspaper or compost between the plants. This will prevent the weeds from coming back in the future.

11. Use water wisely and utilise the rain

watering houseplants with saved rainwaterPhoto by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

There are several great tips for using water wisely in the garden so you don’t spend all your time watering. Plant some ‘Ollas’, terracotta vessels that you keep topped up with water that will take care of your flower beds. If you have some time, set up irrigation systems on timers that will water the ground for you altogether. And if all else fails, use rain water wisely by collecting it in drains and directing it to where it’s needed.

13. Create an outdoor living area

garden pergola seating areaPhoto by Randy Fath on Unsplash

When all is said and done, the reason we want a nice garden is so we can spend time in it. The ultimate low maintenance garden is one that’s completely paved, and turned into a beautiful outdoor living area. Depending on what sort of area you’re looking for, consider your walls and ceiling; do you want to look through them or be enclosed? Do you even want walls or perhaps just a ceiling? You’ll also need to consider soft furnishings if they’re to be kept outside. You may want to invest in a waterproof storage box to keep them in. Finally, consider your lighting so you can still sit outside and enjoy the fresh air on those long summer nights.

You should now be ready to create an easy, low maintenance, yet beautiful, garden! Want more tips on creating the perfect outdoor space? Find out how to style your garden on a budget here. And don’t forget to share your beautiful garden photos with us on Instagram, just tag us or use #OakFurnitureland.