Regardless of whether you’re designing your own garden, or you’re bringing in the professionals, the level of maintenance will likely be one of your most important criteria for the brief. Even the most green-fingered and enthusiastic gardeners can struggle to battle the elements and British bad luck, but using the right materials, fauna and spaces can make your life a lot easier. Here are some basic concepts to consider when trying to design a low maintenance garden:
Planted areas and types of plants
It goes without saying that a paved or decked garden will bring with it less difficulty than landscaping and lawns, but nobody wants a concrete jungle outside their kitchen. The same goes for actual planted areas; the more beds, rockeries and pots you have around the garden; the longer your chore list is going to be. The trick is finding the happy medium without sacrificing your design elements, so you might want to take the beds back towards the boundaries and replace with paving. You can utilise siloed planting areas like pots or contained beds, to reduce the risk of runaway flora making its way across all of your planted areas and causing you a headache.
Avoid the temptation to create multiple compact beds to counteract having less space for them. Larger beds are more visually impressive but crucially are easier to plant and maintain, without the need for pruning to control size and growth. Some gardeners go by the mantra that “if you have weeds, you don’t have enough plants” so be liberal in choosing your plants for the beds, whatever size.
Even within a garden with a reduced planting area, you can further control the maintenance by limiting the number of plant types. This doesn’t mean less plants overall, but the same amount within a smaller number of groups. This can also help with thematic design, for example by choosing to use bamboos and tall grasses for your borders rather than an eclectic wildflower mix; you would both streamline your maintenance schedule whilst also keeping your garden ‘on brand.’ The same goes with other plant types that have similar care needs, like rudbeckias or sedums. Utilising a small number of plant groups also makes it easier to spot and deal with weeds when they occur.
Artificial grass vs. lawn
Most passionate gardeners would never feel comfortable recommending artificial grass, it’s just not in our nature as lovers of the outdoors. However the pragmatic gardener also understands the benefits; no maintenance, seasonal reliability, no energy use, no fertiliser use, resistance to pets and children etc. Natural grass, whilst beautiful and fragrant, supports little wildlife when mowed so don’t let that influence your decision. If you’re looking for a lawn that can stand up to whatever nature and life can throw at it, whilst demanding no maintenance, artificial might be your way forward.
Eden Restored is a team of passionate garden designers working throughout London, Kent and Surrey.
We deliver value-for-money on projects of any size, from inner-city courtyards to countryside cottages.
To discuss your ideas and how we can help throughout the entire process, get in touch.