6 Low-Maintenance Gardening Ideas

Reader Contribution by Sommer Poquette and Home Depot
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Gardening doesn’t have to be constant hard work or cost a fortune. Yes, there are start up costs, and it is work, but with the right low maintenance techniques, you can put some of the more tedious chores — like watering — on autopilot.  

Garden smarter, not harder—here’s how:

Use Rain Barrels. They’re low maintenance and eco-friendly. You can conserve water, while still watering your garden during dry spells. According to a recent Home Depot Garden Club Survey, 20% of millennials gardening on the West Coast already use rain barrels, saving precious dollars on water bills in a drought-stricken region, and putting water aside for periods with no rain. If your goal is to be eco-friendly and save money, consider a rain barrel.

Choose Easy Plants to Grow. Succulents are easy to maintain, as are hostas and marigolds. For decorative flowers, choose types that won’t require hours of your time picking, pruning and watering. In drought-affected Western states, 42% of gardeners over the age of 35 are growing succulents, according to The Home Depot Garden Club Survey. That’s undoubtedly because they’re easy to grow and come in many different varieties, shapes, patterns and colors. There’s something for everyone when it comes to succulents!

Plant Perennials. There are perennials for every season and every type of climate: drought-tolerant perennials, non-flowering, perennials for sunny areas, shady areas and even perennials that resist disease.  Perennials can live more than two years, and some live much longer. By choosing plants that bloom each year, you’ll save money and time. There’s another advantage—fewer weeds—because perennials’ roots grow deeper than other flowers. Fewer weeds equal less work and a pretty garden…yes, please!

Container Gardening. If you’re short on time and space, consider container gardening or window gardens. Plant herbs from your kitchen window or grow tomatoes from your patio. Container gardening lets you avoid the tilling and overgrowth of weeds, too! Plus, you can have as many or as few container plants as your heart desires. You can make your own containers and raised bed planters from old doors or other odds and ends from around the house. And container gardening is also a great way to introduce gardening to children.

Baby those Seeds. If you’ve got the time to start your plants from seeds, seeds are an affordable option. Best of all, planting seeds indoors during the winter really helps to get a jump on the gardening season. Plus, there’s something satisfying about watching a seedling sprout into a full-grown green bean plant.

Recycle your Waste. Kitchen waste, dead plants, lawn scrapes and leaves — they’re all good for something. Using your waste for next year’s garden helps to make nutrient-rich soil. There are lots of ideas for “lasagna” gardening and composting your waste to help fertilize your soil, right here on Mother Earth News!  So the next time you make a salad, save those scraps in a kitchen composter or go big and get an outdoor composter.  Your garden will thank you later!

Sommer Poquette is a popular mom blogger and avid gardener who writes on gardening topics for The Home Depot. For Home Depot’s wide selection of perennial flowers mentioned by Sommer, you can visit the company’s website.

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