Tips On Gardening For The Unenthusiastic Gardener

You want your garden to look good, but want it to be low-maintenance. Here are tips on gardening that require minmal effort.

We all enjoy relaxing in a lovely garden, but many of us are just not prepared to put time into achieving that cultivated look for our plots. We are simply bored by the whole idea or fed up with listening to keen gardeners going on about their daily gardening chores.

If you inherit a high-maintenance garden, be ruthless. Give it a radical make-over and convert it to a low-maintenance garden that can look good all year round.

Adapt the layout of the garden to suit your particular needs:

If your newly devised layout suits your purposes, there is a greater chance that you will be more enthusiastic about its up-keep. Focus on a pleasant sitting area, preferably a space which is sheltered and dry underfoot. You can then use the area as an extension to the house. Plant evergreens in pots and borders within the area, so that there is always something low-maintenance to look at.

Replace grass with interesting, soft-coloured paving:

Doing away with all grassed areas may seem a little drastic, but it does make sense, particularly in a small garden. When choosing paving, go for a mixture of different materials. This will add interest and soften the impact.

Reduce weeding:

Choose good ground cover plants and make sure that they are planted as closely together as possible. This prevents weeds spreading as they have nowhere to flourish. If you are in the situation where you can plant your flower beds from scratch, it may be worth considering laying down a semi-permeable membrane and cutting holes in it for planting. You can then cover the space in between with a good layer of attractively coloured gravel.

Choose your plants carefully:

If you choose the right plants from the start, you will cut down drastically on up-keep. Do your homework first, from the comfort of your armchair!

Reduce the need for watering:

Evergreen succulents store water and are therefore ideal candidates for a low-maintenance garden. If the environment is suitable, also consider Mediterranean plants. They tend to be drought-tolerant and will put up with a fair amount of neglect. An added bonus is that garden pests don't like their strong smelling, aromatic leaves.

Be wary of introducing too many containers and plant pots:

Pot plants can prove very high-maintenance if you choose unwisely. If you fill your containers with drought-tolerant plants, however, they will need only occasional watering and dead heading. Ensure that pots are free draining by filling them with equal measures of grit, sand and compost. This also makes them less likely to freeze in winter because the combination creates air pockets within the pot.

If you have a busy job, a young family, or simply prefer not to spend your weekends gardening, then the above suggestions will allow you to enjoy your garden with minimum effort. You can even go away on holiday and leave your garden to fend for itself, knowing full well that it will look fine upon your return.

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