How to Plan a Low Maintenance Garden

Reader Contribution by Benedict Vanheems
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Simplify Your Lawn

Straighten or smooth edges of small or awkward-shaped areas of lawn to make them quicker to mow. Use paved edges to make them easier to mow with a wheeled mower.

Using a mulching mower and leave the clippings on the grass avoids the need to dispose of them, plus they’ll feed the lawn.

Consider replacing areas of lawn with a beautiful native wildflower meadow that will only require occasional strimming.

Efficient Garden Layout

Make the shape of garden beds straight or gently curved. Using raised beds brings the growing area up closer to the gardener, so less bending is required.

Position higher-maintenance parts of the garden closer to the house or near your tool store. Wide straight paths with edges flush to the lawn make for quick mowing.

Grow thirsty plants that need regular watering near to a water outlet, or consider installing an automatic irrigation system. Our Garden Planner can help you design an irrigation system for your garden. Select ‘Irrigation’ from the drop-down menu then position everything you’ll need. Flexible components like soaker hoses can be curved, and you can click on the Parts List button to see exactly how much of each component you need to buy.

Feeding and watering of containers can take a lot of time. Group containers together or use fewer, larger pots to slow the rate at which they dry out and make watering quicker.

Low-Maintenance Crops

Grow low-maintenance vegetables such as pumpkin, winter squash, corn, chard or perpetual spinach.

Soft fruits like currants and fall-bearing raspberries, and free-standing fruit trees such as apples and pears, only need pruning once a year and will crop for years.
In our Garden Planner, click on the Filter button then select the ‘Easy to Grow’ option, then click OK to choose undemanding plants for your garden.

Easy-Care Garden Plants

Trees and shrubs suited to your soil and climate are more likely to grow successfully without any special care. For instance, try low-maintenance shrubs such as euonymus, berberis, or magnolia.
Many grasses only require cutting back once a year, while ground-covering perennials like bergenia, geranium and periwinkle will suppress weeds. Many bulbs will naturalize and need almost no looking after.
Reduce weeds by covering bare soil with thick mulches of organic materials such as bark chippings.


Get More Tips with These Great Gardening Resources

Our popular Vegetable Garden Planner can help you map out your garden design, space crops, know when to plant which crops in your exact location, and much more.

Need crop-specific growing information? Browse our Crops at a Glance Guide for advice on planting and caring for dozens of garden crops.

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Watch more videos on gardening techniques and other self-reliance, DIY topics on our Wiser Living Videos page.