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A fabulous garden does not have to involve a huge amount of work to keep it looking good.

There are many ways to tackle the constant battle we have to keep on top of the gardening. The perfect garden we all strive for is for it to look attractive, but without the hard work to maintain it. Planning and designing your garden is key if you want a garden that looks after itself. Initially you will need to work to make your garden a low maintenance one, but the effort you put in now will pay off, giving you more time to enjoy your garden environment later.

When planning, you will need to consider whether you want to reduce the work involved in your existing garden or plan a new low-maintenance garden. You also need to consider the size of your garden, your lifestyle and if you have enough time for regular maintenance or if you are better suited to blitz occasionally.

Gardens are easy to maintain if part is covered with a hard surface, whether that is decking, gravel or bricks and paving. Decking is an extremely versatile low-maintenance surface, it’s relatively easy to construct and can be built to encompass difference height levels. It looks good in both country and urban locations. Gravel is a great material, it’s by far the cheapest of all the options. It looks good, it suppresses weeds and reduces loss of moisture. It is also fairly easy to lay. Bricks and paving are expensive to lay but once laid require no maintenance and can look fantastic. Mixing up types of hard surfacing is a great way to add texture if covering a large area.

You can enlist nature’s help by choosing the right plants for the conditions.

Evergreens are, as a whole, easier to maintain, with little pruning required or sweeping of leaves, compared to deciduous plants. Ground cover spreading plants will save a lot of hard work, although initially will take a little maintenance until established. Ornamental grasses are easy to grow and are disease and pest resistant, they can add a lovely texture to your garden planting.

Easiest options are shrub borders and ground-covering perennials – ones that are not too fast-growing or invasive. Ensure though that you choose plants appropriate for your climate and soil conditions.

Surprisingly, water features are lowmaintenance and are a real focus in the garden.

A semi-wild section in your garden is another great option for lowmaintenance.

If you have a lot of containers for planting in, ensure that you choose plants that are low maintenance and require little watering, which is a real time consumer.

Instead of getting rid of weeds with chemicals, plan your garden using mulches and ground covering plants.

Raised beds are not so back-breaking to attend to. Pathways and steps are another low maintenance area of your garden, they can make a lovely feature too.

Gardens are usually contained using some sort of boundary, whether it’s a fence, wall or a hedge. There are some natural hedges which are easy to look after, although fences and walls require the least maintenance. Take care not to choose any plants, which are too fast-growing and go for something tough and thorny like Rugosa roses or Berberis.

When you are planning your new low-maintenance garden, whether it’s from scratch or adjusting your existing garden, you will need to draw out a plan. Work out what you want to lose if it’s an existing garden. Break it down into sections and plan each section separately. Ideally, you will need to measure your garden and mark it to scale on graph paper to plan accurately. This will also help when working out the amount of materials you require such as decking or gravel. Start with features that are staying, i.e. shed, tree. Then add the major areas, i.e. lawn, patio, gravel, followed by the planting area and style of planting. Finally, add any design features, i.e. stepping stones, water feature. Break down the work into manageable sections and put into an order that works best for you and your time-frame to carry out.

When planning which plants you want, remember to research the best for the type of garden you have. Take into consideration whether it will be in shade or sunlight, what type of soil they grow best in and how big they will grow so you can leave enough space.

 

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