What makes a stunning low maintenance garden?
Designing a low maintenance garden does not mean you have to compromise on beauty, elegance or pride in your outdoor space. Nor does it need to mean that there is less space for wildlife.
In our previous blog called “5 garden design ideas for 2021,” (read it here) we listed low maintenance garden design as a way to create a minimalistic yet dynamic space to incorporate different textures and different levelsby using planters and pots.
No garden can ever be zero maintenance, but a creative eye at the beginning of your garden transformation process will help you create an elegant garden you can be proud of. Enlisting the professional help of a garden designer will ensure that your low maintenance garden is beautiful, functional, and a haven for you and the natural world.
Planning your low maintenance garden
First think about all the elements of a garden which are important to you and think about how you wish to incorporate and position them within the space available. For instance, if entertaining is important to you, think about the space you will need for furniture or cooking equipment – and whether you want this area to catch the summer sun for as long as possible.
If there are certain garden activities high on your priority list (such as growing vegetables or growing certain types of plants), you should plan for these to be in sunlight (or not) to best suit the requirements of that particular space.
Creating balance through design, positioning and the elements that matter to you is key to a beautiful and enjoyable low maintenance garden.
Start from the ground up
Low maintenance does not have to mean boring. Using a variety of materials and textures, such as paving and gravel, allows you to create interesting shapes and dynamics that draw the eye to different areas of the garden.
If having a lawn is too high maintenance for you but you would still like to keep an element of ‘living’ texture to contrast hard paving, you can even let your grass grow long and plant wildflowers in the mix. Mowing a simple path through the area creates a sense of purpose, while the longer grass and wildflowers will attract wildlife.
Think about all the materials available to you. Contrasting stone with wood can offer a naturalistic style. Composite decking can be clean and practical while complementing the other elements you use. Variety can create an interesting, contemporary feel.
Planters and beds
Firstly, using planters or raised beds will help to add a dynamic green or colour filled display in any position – especially where hard surfacing makes planting beds impossible.
Planting fewer plants in raised beds can also be effective if you mulch the top of the soil with a complementary shingle, such as slate chippings or a simple white limestone gravel. This is also a good way to give your planting a sense of uniformity, and offers a stylish alternative to bare soil! It also ensures that weed growth is minimised within the planters.
Avoid using lots of small containers as these will need more maintenance than you may think. Watering, repotting, feeding and handling small planters will be time consuming. You will need to ensure the planters are watered, particularly in summer months when they will tend to dry out quickly, but choosing the right plants for your planters will minimise those watering needs. There are also some innovative systems on the market to install within planters that will gradually provide water to your plants over a week or longer (avoiding the need to install an irrigation system which is not an environmentally friendly option in a garden setting).
Choosing the right plants
Research is key at this stage as you will need to understand the level of care each plant needs.
Avoid high maintenance plants such as traditional seasonal bedding. Hardy evergreens, for example, come in vast variety and can be just as colourful. Perennials, shrubs and hedging (such as box) can really complement each other and will offer colour and green at different times of the year with just a little seasonal maintenance needed.
A successful garden always needs a little scientific investigation, which is where Matt Haddon Gardens will help at the start. By understanding the soil and light available within your space, we can ensure the right plants are situated in the right places.
A space to enjoy
The key to a low maintenance garden is to create a beautiful place to look at with interesting shapes, colours and textures – particularly in smaller spaces. Planning and research are key before you start to create your garden. Matt Haddon Gardens can work closely with you to create a low maintenance garden that you can be proud of, incorporating all the elements that are important to you.
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