Ideas to create a low or even no maintenance garden; artificial grass, plastic fencing, low maintenance shrubs, more hard surfaces and no fish in water features.
The benefits of a pleasant garden minus the many hours of upkeep
With so many people short of time, or finding it difficult to spend hours gardening perhaps due to a medical condition, there’s a growing desire for low maintenance gardens. Many would like a relaxing, nature-filled space but don’t necessarily want or are able to spend the time necessary to keep it neat and tidy.
What no or low maintenance options are there?
Firstly, unless completely paving over a garden, no maintenance at all might be a tall order but cutting it to the absolute bare minimum is certainly possible.
A considerable time sink when it comes to gardening, at the very least lawns require frequent mowing. Many householders find themselves out in the garden with the mower at least once a week from early spring to sometimes well into autumn.
One option is to pave it over or replace with decking, but if you like the idea of a lawn minus the maintenance then artificial grass is well worth considering.
Techniques have advanced to the point where more people are turning to artificial surfaces and enjoying a very low maintenance yet lifelike lawn.
Hard landscaping options
Plants and beds take up a lot of gardening time what with planting, weeding and pruning so maybe look to replace some planted areas with hard landscaping such as patios, decking or paving.
You may not want to lose some colour and greenery completely, but reducing the amount of the garden given over to plants will obviously reduce the time you spend tending them. Not only that but judicious use of landscaping can make things look interesting such as creating extra levels and other techniques.
‘Harder’ hard landscaping for even lower maintenance
There’s a basic truism regarding hard landscaping; the ‘harder’ the materials, the less maintenance is required. So decking and gravel, being ‘softer’ than paving, will require more maintenance such as scrubbing clean and repainting in the case of decking, and raking and topping up in the case of gravel.
Paving slabs, on the other hand, can be pretty much left alone apart from the occasional sweep or once over with some warm water and a stiff brush.
Traditional wooden fencing requires maintenance in repainting or re-coating, occasional replacements of fence panels, and eventually the entire fence.
By contrast, plastic fences offer a maintenance free option and modern designs won’t fade over time spent in sunlight – and they’re very strong compared to wood.
No fish in the pond
You may have to part company with the fish if you have any in a pond.
A fish-free pond helps reduce the need for pumps and filters that in themselves require maintenance and occasional renewal, and ponds without fish tend to suffer weed and algae issues much less frequently.
Most of the work in the garden – apart from mowing and generally tending grass – is centred on weed control in borders and maintaining certain types of plants such as herbaceous perennials.
These often require copious amounts of staking, lifting and cutting back. To reduce maintenance, replace these with shrubs.
They’re easy to plant, especially through a weed-suppressing membrane, and if it’s covered in a layer of mulch such as bark or gravel it could last several ‘seasons’ before the mulch requires attention such as topping up.
Weeds find it much harder to establish themselves in mulch, and are easy to remove with a hoe as opposed to spending hours on your hands and knees pulling them out of soil beds.
Sticking to shrubs only may sound limiting, but there are plenty to choose from.
The best of both worlds
It’s certainly possible to enjoy a relaxing and interesting garden environment without having to spend most of your time maintaining it.