Ask anyone who looks after a garden if they would like a high-maintenance outdoor space and the answer will almost definitely be no. So how do you achieve a garden that is easy to look after.
Keep it Simple
Start with simple things. Look around to see how potty you have gone over pots – you really don’t want too many. The content within pots and containers requires regular watering by the head gardener and nutrients within the compost depletes within just a few weeks and they require feeding. Plants also require gentle snipping to keep them looking neat and attractive, and to encourage more flowers. If you have shrubs in pots, they might need pruning as well as turning so that each side of the plant receives an equal amount of light. If all this is making you feel exhausted, just keep a few very large containers for certain specimens and make them into a feature. If, however, you aren’t ready to abandon your potaholic habits, group them together so that they can create their own microclimate. Each pot will provide a bit of shade for another and the air around them will enjoy increased humidity.
Next, we come to the lawn, if there is one. You don’t need to mow every week and you could allow the grass sward to grow longer. Welcome weeds and wildflowers into the lawn; it’s far better for wildlife than a monoculture of grass. Provided the lawn looks vaguely green, it really doesn’t matter if there are daisies, dandelions, moss or most other self-seeded delights amongst the grass. The gentle buzzing of bees is the reward you get for being more relaxed about your green carpet. Lawn edges can be defined by using some sort of edging system that will stop the grass spreading into the flowerbeds. These really do take the stress out of maintaining a neat edge. There are dozens of options, from rustic and durable Corten weathering steel through to rubber, plastic, wood and brick.
Keep Weeds in the Dark
Ask a gardener about a job that always needs doing and weeds will be high on the agenda. There’s a very simple way to stop weeds growing: cover up your soil! It’s inevitable that nature will send something to infiltrate any little patch of bare ground. So, if you would rather choose your own variety of species to grow in your garden, rather than whatever a passing bird decides to eject, ensure you plant densely. While new plants are establishing, spread mulch onto any bare soil to stop weeds taking hold.
Shrubs are generally the best low-maintenance plant of all. Replace any annual planting schemes with shrub beds, but don’t inflict the hedgecutter ‘blob treatment’ on them. The secret lies in choosing your plants wisely and thus not planting something that grows larger than the space available. You can allow them to grow into their natural form.
By Caroline Knight: Gardendesignideas.co.uk