Do you want a beautiful garden but don’t have hours to spend looking after it? Go for low-maintenance garden landscaping. Choose your plants and materials carefully, and you can still have a garden that looks good all year round.
Hard landscaping, such as paving, decking, and gravel, requires less than a lawn, but it still needs some regular maintenance to keep it looking good and functioning well. Decking and paving both need annual cleaning to get rid of grime and moss, and algae can build up over winter and make surfaces slippery. Many decking types also need an annual treatment with a preservative like oil to stop the wood from rotting. Research your preferred paving or decking materials before you put them in to make sure you know how to look after them.
Gravel is a cheaper alternative to paving and decking and is very easy to use. Put down a weed-suppressing membrane before laying gravel to stop perennial weeds like dandelions and bindweed growing through from below. Gravel areas will still need occasional weeding, as annual weed seed will be blown in by the wind and germinate in the gravel.
Reducing Weeds in Borders
Weed suppressing fabric is an effective way to reduce the number of weeds in flower beds. It’s best used when planting new areas. Before planting, cover the bare soil with the weed-suppressing membrane and peg it down. To plant through this membrane, use scissors or a knife to make an X-shaped cut in the fabric where a plant is to go, then scoop out the soil through this hole, pop in the plant, backfill with soil, and settle the fabric back around the base of the plant. After everything is planted, spread a layer of bark chippings over the bed to hide the membrane.
Groundcover plants can also be very effective at suppressing weeds in borders, producing dense foliage mats that block the light from weed seedlings and smother them before they can grow. Useful groundcover plants include:
- Geranium macrorrhizum
- Pachysandra terminalis
- Alchemilla mollis
Low Maintenance Planting
Low maintenance planting doesn’t have to be dull. Evergreen shrubs look good all year, and many have beautiful flowers too. All they need is an annual trim to keep them in shape. This list of evergreen shrubs is ideal for low maintenance landscaping:
- Nandina domestica
And for the ultimate in low-maintenance gardening, plant spring bulbs. Once established, they will come back year after year with practically no effort required on your part. Deadheading them will help preserve the plants’ energies for next year’s flowers, but if you don’t manage to get around to do this, they’ll still produce a spectacular display the following spring. Daffodils, bluebells, and crocuses are particularly reliable, flowering year after year.
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