Want a beautiful garden that you can show off to friends, family members and visitors but don’t have the time to pinch, prune, weed and water all spring and summer? Well believe it or not you can have the garden you want without the hassle of weekly maintenance and upkeep. Just follow these four tips for achieving the perfect low maintenance garden.
Say Goodbye to Grass
Your lawn is by far one of the most time-consuming, high-maintenance areas of your garden. It requires frequent watering, weeding and mowing. To really reduce the workload that goes into gardening, it’s best to replace grass with “hardscaping” alternatives such as gravel, pavers and stone.
Gravel is a great alternative. Unlike grass, which needs constant care and attention, gravel allows water to drain freely and requires very little, if any, maintenance throughout the summer. If you lay down landscape cloth before adding the gravel it will keep weeds at bay making it that much easier to maintain. Laying pavers and stone is another great way to reduce your garden’s to-do-list as it can create an aesthetically pleasing patio area that requires only a simple sweep from time to time.
If, to you, that patch of green grass is just something you can’t do away with completely, consider at least reducing the size of your lawn to make the maintenance more manageable.
If you are looking to save time when it comes to gardening then don’t plant flowers that require constant care. When you live a busy lifestyle the last thing you want to be doing is constantly watering your impatiens to keep them alive, or lifting and storing your delilah’s after each summer. To avoid these kinds of tedious tasks consider planting perennials. Unlike annuals, which have an expiration date of just one season, perennials can survive for many years. The top portions of perennial plants tend to die back each winter but will regrow again the following spring from the same root system. The ability for perennials to resurrect themselves saves you from having to replant your garden each spring. Low maintenance perennials include blanket flower, yarrow, and purple coneflowers, all of which can tolerate heat and drought and bloom all summer long.
Plants native to your region often require less maintenance and overall care than plants that originated in different regions or climates. They often need less fertilizer, water and pesticides. Putting native plants such as black-eyed Susan’s, butterfly milkweed, and New England aster in your garden will reduce your workload when it comes to tending to your garden.
Nobody likes to spend too much time watering plants and pulling weeds. An easy way to avoid these time-consuming tasks is to make sure you are using the right mulch on your garden. Organic mulches that include evergreen needles, shredded leaves and woodchips conserve moisture in the soil, reduce weed problems, and add organic matter and nutrients to the soil as they break down. Laying mulch in your garden will reduce the amount of time spent on watering, weeding, and caring for the plants in your garden.
There you have it! If you live a busy lifestyle, spend a lot of time away from the house, or simply can’t be motivated to spend your down time literally down in the dirt weeding and pruning your garden, now you don’t have to! While all gardens will call for a little maintenance, the ones planted with these tips in mind will require less time labouring over it and more time admiring it.
For inspiration on what perennials to choose for your garden this season visit Planter’s Barn Wildflower House online at www.plantersbarn.ca or visit us in person at 5101 Dundas St., Thorndale, Ont.