Gardens are supposed to relieve stress and be a place of refuge – a place where you unwind and recharge, not a place that creates more stress. But, you might be short of time, short of space, or have other issues that prevent you from starting the garden you want. This does not have to be the case. There are plenty of low maintenance options that still provide a beautiful garden. It just takes a bit of planning.
But, remember: there is no such thing as a “no maintenance” garden. Plants, trees and shrubs are living things, and they need at least basic care to thrive. Here are some tips to make gardening easier while still having a great looking garden.
Plan out you garden. Think about your entire area, your yard or balcony, not just the plants, flowers, and veggies but what else you have now, or might want in your garden. This includes play areas, sitting areas, lawns, dining areas, and even storage areas. Once you know all of the elements you want, try to plan your garden to provide easy access to planting areas via pathways or in specific areas of the garden. Only choose a small area or a small part of your landscape, then put in these other features that require little to no maintenance.
Use low maintenance plants. Choose plants that are pest-resistant, disease-resistant, and drought-tolerant. You will likely never find a plant that is perfect and meets all of your needs, but choose plants that have no known pest problems, have a slow or moderate growth rate, and that don’t produce messy pods or fruits, or shed many leaves or branches. See: 10 Easiest to Grow Vegetables
Group plants with similar needs. If you plant water-thirsty flowers with those that like it dry, you will end up with nothing but conflicts and will create more work for yourself. Research the things you are thinking about planting and find out if they need the same amount of water, grow in the same type of soil, or the same amount of sunlight.
Choose the right plant for the right location. This might seem like it’s unnecessary to say, but think about it. If the site you have doesn’t have the right light intensity and duration, sun availability, or soil type, not only will your plants struggle, but it will require more maintenance.
Choose native plants. They are better adapted to your local area which means they require less overall care, less water and fertilizer. Natives are especially useful in an area that that has “high” needs such as poor soil or limited access to a water source.
Plant more perennials than annuals. They come back year after year, so you don’t have to replant every year. Some easy, low maintenance perennials include coneflower, daisies, daylilies, hosta, peonies, salvias and yarrow.
Use More Hardscape. Replace lawns with pavers in lawn areas or high traffic areas or to create a new patio area. Aside from pavers, you can use gravel or stone to reduce the amount of weeding you need to do.