Low Maintenance Garden Tips For Busy Homeowners

The well-designed garden is here to stay. The garden or landscape planned for easy maintenance allows you to get the most from the garden with the least effort. 

This allows the “lazy homeowner” who wants to spend their time in the garden but cannot have a good garden without undue effort. Of course, we would be the last to argue that any garden “takes care of itself.” But a well-designed, carefully thought-out plan keeps the gardener from becoming a full-time slave or even a servant with only alternate Thursdays off for good behavior. 

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The little tricks of planning, modern gardening methods, and laborsaving tools, added to a realistic preliminary evaluation of precisely what is wanted from the garden, will undoubtedly achieve a magnificent garden.

The secret lies in the landscape design – in making the garden a place which is:

  • Good to look on but easy to care for
  • Uses the space efficiently for both present and any anticipated future needs
  • Selects and combines plants for the maximum effect of texture, color, and flower. 

It is relatively easy to plan and plant a large estate where money is no object. But to design small properties where necessities are integrated into the overall plan attractively with minimum outlay and maintenance costs takes study and ingenuity. 

You will find help in the principles below and assistance in solving your garden design problems.

15 Tips To Have The Most Garden With The Least Effort

We all want a beautiful garden, and most of us do not want to spend all day working in the garden. Below we share 15 tips to get the most from your garden with the least amount of effort.

  • Divide property into logical sections: public area facing the street: private area or play and pleasure garden where terrace, hobby, and playgrounds are situated: and service area in which unattractive necessities must take place – fuel delivery, garbage and trash collection, compost-making and tool storage.
  • Keep lawn areas open and straightforward: avoid intricate curves and kinks or hard-to-mow corners.
  • Place trees and shrubs inside beds wherever possible, thus avoiding clipping and edging the lawn.
  • Put edging around beds for trim edges that won’t need hand clipping or edging.
  • Keep plants back from the edge of the bed so the mower wheel can straddle edging and cut grass without injuring plants.
  • Don’t plant lawn on a steep slope. Instead, plant slope with a ground cover of plants or shrubs.
  • Use stepping stones or pavement on heavily traveled areas to absorb the wear.
  • Plant for privacy and for windbreaks to protect the living areas from view and cold winds.
  • Choose plants in scale with the house and other plantings. Thus, low houses with low-growing shrubs and small trees; tall houses with bigger shrubs and tall trees.
  • Under windows, use plants that won’t obscure the view in later years. Always choose plants that stay within bounds.
  • Don’t overcrowd plants: leave room for them to grow.
  • Don’t use too many kinds of plants, or a restless effect may ensue. Use a variety of textures—big and little leaves, shiny and dull ones, light and dark green, reddish, purplish, and silvery leaves.
  • Choose perennials that don’t need frequent division. Plant bulbs in the perennial border, following them with annuals for full-season effect.
  • To avoid clipping hedges, choose plants that look neat and are upright-growing. Then only occasional heading back will lie necessary.
  • Place flower and shrub beds where they can be easily cared for from lawn or walk.

Odd-Shaped Lot An Asset

The irregular-shaped lot offers many design possibilities. For a family that frequently entertains, a broad terrace outside the living room gives ample entertaining space. Shrub plantings screen the area from the street and neighbors.

If the gardener’s hobby is roses or herbs, the space can easily be adapted for either. Beside the terrace, plant flower borders flanking a grass path. 

They are bright with bulbs all spring, and early-started annuals set out in late spring will ensure later-season color. 

Flowering shrubs, selected for a succession of blooms, bring different colors to the garden all summer with little work involved. An informal hedge with the tall narrow tree beside the driveway contrast with the formality of a low-clipped hedge. 

Corner Lots Present Extra Design Problems

Corner lots present extra problems of design since they are viewed from two sides. However, by making the plan as simple as possible, the public view is always presentable, yet maintenance is minimal. 

Keep the plantings close to the house on the street sides, leaving the lawn uncluttered for a spacious, open look. The work of mowing is materially reduced, too.  

A paved “landing strip” joins the curb at the point where cars are likely to stop to unload passengers. This prevents wear and tear on the lawn. Also, a planting of low junipers flanking the entry walk guides the traffic onto the pavement and prevents lawn wear.

Behind the house, consider a tall privacy fence on the property line, excellent for climbing roses if there is enough sun or for clematis or other shade-tolerant vines. Part of the area adjacent to the kitchen is paved as a terrace, making it handy for outdoor meals. 

A row of medium-tall shrubs on the property line makes a hedge that needs little maintenance since its informal shape requires only occasional pruning.

Easy Maintenance On A Steep Slope

Abruptly slanting hillside lots are great for split-level houses. They call for unconventional designs in gardens and make the most interesting plantings. 

A retaining wall contains formal beds in the front garden, giving a civilized feeling to public areas. The back garden keeps the central portion of the hillside “wild” by featuring native flowering shrubs that require little upkeep plus a few evergreens and some tough hybrid shrubs to round out the total effect. 

Many native shrubs have picturesque shapes or colorful bark to provide winter interest when boughs are bare. Rugged perennials may be worked in here and there along the paths, lending color but not requiring much work to keep them in order. 

One big asset of the wild garden is that it never looks as neglected, even when little work is done, as do more formal plantings in which a leaf out of place may give a untidy appearance.