Making a low maintenance garden is perfect for those people who love landscaping garden ideas but either do not have the time or patience to nurture one in the traditional sense.
Owning a beautiful garden is a great feeling, but what about the ton of work that goes into planning, developing and maintaining such a masterpiece?
There’s no point in spending valuable hours and cash on making a garden fit for a stately home only to realise later that work and other commitments mean you simply do not have the time to upkeep it properly. Low maintenance garden ideas are alive right now, and below are 21 of the simplest for you to try.
Be realistic. If you know you are the sort of busy person who will one day draw back your curtains and instead of seeing a luscious green landscape garden filled with beautiful flowers, is met with a jungle of long grass, weeds and not a flower in sight, what you need is a low maintenance garden.
A maintenance-free garden doesn’t have to have a large slab of perfectly manicured green grass surrounded by layers of beautiful border plants. There are other ways to achieve a garden or patio space you can be proud of and doesn’t require high maintenance and if need be can be cheap.
Low Maintenance Gardens Are All About Imagination
Simple Garden Designs – DIY Step By Step
1) Measure up your garden, lawn, deck, yard or patio. Get some kind of drawing down on paper with the correct measurements. Take a photo of your drawing, you’ll be amazed at how handy this image comes in as you go off to B&Q and Homebase.
2) Work out your budget for the whole project, what is the maximum you want to spend on your outdoor space. All great garden ideas and designs come from planning, and getting the numbers right is a critical step in the process (for some great front garden inspiration try here)
3) Next furniture, garden furniture is the biggest space taker that you will have, you can’t design your idea and then find that the £400 patio set doesn’t fit. Measure all your bigger pieces and work out where they will go first.
4) Number four is research, at this point, you may be certain as to what you want, or you may have no ideas at all. Start searching online, places like Houzz and Pinterest are great places to get garden designs ideas and tips. You can easily get on a roll with how you want your DIY space to be.
5) What You Buying? The exciting part, if you have your budget (and we are sticking to it) and we have a mountain of garden ideas we sourced online, it’s now time to see what we are putting in our creation. Start with the ground and walls and add the extras. The list below of budget ideas should help.
Here are 21 easy to maintain garden ideas that will transform your outdoor space
1. Planning & Design
Think about what sort of garden you have right now and what you really want to change it into that best suits your needs. Perhaps you are single and feel you would benefit from a garden that acts as an extra entertainment area for your friends to visit.
Or maybe you are married and need a garden that is child-friendly but also has a small retreat area for yourself to use as a chillax zone? Look around your garden right now and think about what space you have available. It will help if you sketch out a few ideas with a pencil and paper to start with and then go from there.
You may be restricted on a budget and wish to change your low maintenance garden design to suit your financial needs. Let’s face it – Gardening can be an expensive hobby with trips to the garden centre to purchase plants and accessories. Even just buying sufficient tools to work in your garden can cost a small fortune nowadays with a multitude of tools available for just about every job.
If you are looking for a cheaper garden then be practical and only include basic plants in your garden that won’t need all those fancy tools to keep them alive. At the garden centre, be realistic. Stick to what you want to buy, not what the garden centre wants you to buy.
2. Pick the bigger plants and trees you like and then fill the rest in
If you have an area of grass or dirt that you don’t feel happy with then consider changing it by filling it in. Consider paving bricks or stones to fill in an old area of worn-out grass.
Once the area is laid with colourful paving bricks it will be available to use anytime and there will be no more grass to cut. There are many types of paving block on the market that suit all types of taste and budget and this method of filling in a garden space is probably one of the lowest maintenance ways you can re-design your garden.
The blocks will last for years and only require minimal maintenance while still keeping your garden open for you to use whenever you choose.
3. Wooden Decking
Decks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can be tailored to fill in an awkward corner of your garden making it stylish and useable again. By slightly raising the height of the area they add an extra dimension to any garden and are currently in vogue and very fashionable.
Anybody can build some decking that can end up looking beautiful. Just a few planks of wood, some nails or screws and a bit of creativity and you could transform a dead area of your garden into something beautiful and useful.
4. Rock Gardens
The ultimate in low maintenance gardening can be achieved by making a rock garden. All you need is a pile of rocks which can be ordered through garden centres or online.
Don’t forget to plan the delivery and get your rocks unloaded as close to the place you want them as possible. Rocks usually come in two types – heavy ones and very heavy ones!
For an ultimate low maintenance rock garden, lay down some plastic sheet before arranging the rocks to stop any weeds growing in the future.
5. Make your gardening ideas “Nature-Friendly”
Consider if you moved your flower beds forward a metre or two and behind them let the grass grow and let nature do its thing. The outdoor space you will have created will attract lots of wildlife such as butterflies, insects and native plant and flower species that thrive in long grass much better than on a frequently mowed lawn.
If you find long grass unsightly, it will be hidden by your flower bed anyway.
6. Artificial Grass Lawns
Nowadays there is a wide choice of gorgeous fake grasses available and plenty of companies that install them well. Long gone are the days of old “Astroturf” football style pitches. You can now choose your colour and type of fake grass and once installed you need never touch that old lawnmower ever again!
Artificial grass has loads of advantages. It does require a touch of maintenance though. It is recommended it is sprayed occasionally to ward off animals coming and doing their business on your pristine lawn.
It will also need sweeping occasionally to keep leaves and dirt away. You should be shredding them anyhow and recycling them back into your garden.
7. Moss for ground cover
If you think moss is merely an annoying plant that grows on rocks and in between your lawn grass, think again! Select the correct moss for your area and soil type and it can be used as a ground cover that looks similar to grass but requires far less maintenance.
8. Concrete – Great for front gardens
If you like the idea of filling in your unwanted lawn with a material that will let you use the space all year round, how about concrete? This really is zero maintenance and once dry, can be used as a base to build a garden up from using pots and boxes for your favourite plants.
If you have children, a concrete area will let them play hopscotch and other bouncing ball games that can’t be played on grass.
9. Make some stepping stones
If you don’t like the idea of concreting over all of your old lawn, how about making some concrete stepping stones for those high traffic areas such as near your back door or gate?
The more stepping stones you install into your lawn, the less grass you will have to cut!
10. Planter boxes – Ideal for small garden design
Why not use planter boxes around your garden instead of growing plants directly into the ground? Any sturdy water-resistant box or container can be used as a planter box and they make gardening very simple. They can look great in any garden other wooden features like decking or a log store.
You can plant anything you choose and can later move the planter boxes around the garden as you please.
If a certain plant is not doing so well in the shade, it can easily be moved to a more sunny spot if in a planter box. This cannot be done so easily if planted straight into the ground.
11. Zero maintenance planting
Yes, there really are things such as “Zero MaintenancePlants”. You just buy them, plant them and then let Mother Nature do the rest. Such things as ornamental grasses need only an annual trim and a variety of trees and shrubs once planted, can live quite happily with only natures help.
Smart initial planning may mean you don’t need to get out those pruning shears every weekend!
12. Succulent plants
These are types of plants that look wonderful in a garden even if you forget to water them. They are mostly native species to parts of the world that have lower rainfall than the UK so the plants retain their own water for use over an extended time.
They usually have thickened and fleshy parts where the water is stored such as the leaves or stems. Examples of succulent plants include Cacti and Aloe. Your local garden centre is sure to have a good selection as these types of plants are very popular for exactly these reasons.
13. Native plants
Why buy exotic plants from all over the world at your local garden centre for high prices when the UK has hundreds of beautiful native species you could choose. Native plants are far more likely to thrive and less likely to die than expensive exotic plants from halfway across the world.
14. Vines and climbing plants
There is nothing better to cover an unsightly wall or fence than by growing some vines across it. Vines add greenery and beauty and only require trimming occasionally.
Adding a few vines to a garden can make it look magical and mysterious. Check before you buy as there are many different types so pick one that will do best in your area and what you want it to cover.
15 Hardy herbs
Plant some hardy herbs in your garden and they will thrive in our cold climate. As a bonus, you will get free herbs to use for cooking. Examples of hardy herbs are Lavender (Ideal for collecting and placing in wardrobes or clothes drawers to make your clothes smell lovely)
Mint grows easily without any gardener intervention but it should be grown in a tub or box otherwise it may spread over more of the garden than you had intended. Sage, Oregano, Thyme and Chives are other hardy herbs that will grow easily and keep your kitchen well supplied with free herbs.
People often overlook ferns when selecting plants for a low maintenance garden but in reality, they make a great choice. There are over 20types that will grow well in your garden and make a great natural background filler for flower beds.
Ferns are some of the oldest plants on Earth so they must be hardy enough to look after themselves somehow”
17. Install an automatic irrigation system
There are plenty of kits and ideas around nowadays to install watering pipes in gardens so your plants and lawn do not need to be watered by hand.
Simply install flexible plastic pipework and sprinklers around your plants and connect it to an automatic timer then even if you are not at home, you can be certain your plants and flowers are getting the water they need to ensure your garden stays green and beautiful.
18. Install a drip system with rainwater barrels
If you want to keep your garden expenses low but like the idea of installing sprinklers for automatic watering, a drip system might be a better choice for you.
Drip systems use special pipes called “SoakerHoses”. These rubber hoses have very small perforations installed in them along the entire length of the hose. The perforations are just large enough for water to slowly drip out of the hose in its entirety.
The analysis shows that drip systems use water far more efficiently than sprinklers as the water is supplied at a pace slow enough that the soil is able to absorb it 100% with zero run-offs.To reduce your water bill further, connect your drip system to a couple of rainwater barrels that are set up to collect rainwater from your house or shed roof.
19. Build a compost heap
There are multiple advantages to building a compost heap and most of them will reduce your gardening costs and also help the environment.
Collecting your garden waste and turning it into your own compost is free and you know that next year you will have top quality compost right from your very own garden. A cheap leaf blower will gather up most of the leaves for you quick as a flash.
You will also save time and petrol by not having to take your garden waste up the local tip, or paying the refuse collection service to take it away.
20. Add cool but cheap garden accessories
A wind chime gives a garden a personal touch and adds another sensory feeling to your garden without any work needed except for a nail to hang it on.
If your garden is often invaded by external noise such as a nearby main road, a wind chime may help to mask some of that unpleasant sound. If you like the sound of running water, how about adding a small water feature or birdbath to your garden?
21. Resin-bonded gravel
Left until last because resin bonded gravel isn’t cheap, nor something to recommend if you are on a budget. But if you need hard landscaping it is cheaper than patio stones, decking, Indian sandstone and other block paving or cobbles.
It’s durable, easy enough to get installed and looks amazing with a cool edging.
Over to You
How will you build your easy maintenance garden?
Remember you’re only limited by your imagination, and also the budget! But the challenge of sticking to a budget can force you into becoming more creative than you thought possible. There are tonnes of easy garden ideas out there, and undertaking a DIY garden makeover sounds a lot scarier than it is.
Take your time, plan well, research as many beautiful garden ideas as you can and put a spade in the ground. The image above is my garden, granted it’s not a DIY garden for sure, neither is it on a cheap budget, but it is designed to be hassle-free and all the pretty landscape ideas we’re found online.
Smaller projects like budget backyard landscaping, or revamping a deck and patio are a lot cheaper and easier than this.
Just go for it and your ideas will come pouring through.