Designing a low maintenance garden

Posted on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

There is no such thing as a ‘zero maintenance’ garden. Like a house, any garden will need some care and attention to keep it in good condition. But you can certainly create a garden which is low maintenance, taking minimal time and effort to keep it neat and tidy. Here are some of our top tips on what you should, and shouldn’t, consider when designing a low maintenance garden.

Bare ground

Making sure that the ground is covered will greatly reduce the time needed to control weeds. Cover bare ground with paving, decking, evergreen perennial ground cover plants or bark mulch to keep every inch as low maintenance as possible.



If you want low maintenance, then you need to manage your expectations about lawns. To have a ‘perfect’ lawn you need to spend a lot of time mowing, scarifying, aerating, feeding, weeding, and more. So you can either accept that you’ll have an untidy lawn or replace it with a lower maintenance solution such as paving, decking or fake turf.


Choose plants which don’t require too much work. Plants such as roses, tender perennials and formal hedging take more work than trees and shrubs, so think carefully before you plant. Don’t select plants which will eventually outgrow their allotted space, otherwise you’re giving yourself the extra work of cutting them back or moving them.

Putting plants in containers and hanging baskets might seem to be a low maintenance solution, but they will require regular watering, feeding and the compost will need to be refreshed each year. Whereas plants growing in the ground will often be able to look after themselves once they’re established.

Shaping your borders

If you are going to include beds and borders in your garden then you can make them easier to maintain by edging them in brickwork or steel edging strips, which won’t need to be neatened each year, and which you can mow straight up to. Having straight edged beds and borders, rather than curves, will make it cheaper as there will be a wider range of edging products you can use.

Water features

Introducing water into the garden can be a low maintenance way to bring interest and movement into the garden. A small, pebble based water feature should only require maintenance once a year to clean out the pump and an occasional top up in dry summers. Ponds can also be fairly low maintenance – make sure you include oxygenator plants to help keep the water clean, and surface floating plants to shade the water and discourage algae growth.

Get more ideas for low maintenance gardening

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