No matter how time-poor you are, it’s worth taking the time upfront to plan your garden layout and select the right plants. It’ll save you considerable effort and money in the long-run. Here are some tips to help start you off.
Low-maintenance garden design
To spend the least amount of time possible mowing, weeding and watering, it helps to get your garden design right by starting with a clear plan. Unless you’re Edward Scissorhands, make sure your landscape design avoids straight lines and formal hedges. This will ensure that plants don’t look scruffy even when they overgrow boundary edges.
Another trick is to layer your garden with plants of different heights and place them close together. Filling in the gaps with ground cover, such as low-lying shrubs, decorative grasses or creepers, will keep weeds at bay and protect the soil from drying out. It’s much less work than mulching, which requires constant topping up. It’s also a much prettier and cheaper option.
If you want to avoid mowing and whipper-snipping, a paved courtyard is a great alternative to lawn. But if you’re one of those people who enjoys the schadenfreude of waking up your neighbours early on a Sunday morning with the roar of your two-stroke – ignore this tip.
The other advantage of paving, besides keeping on your neighbours’ good side, is that you can place fast-growing potted plants around the yard. These require less weeding and they can travel with you if you’re renting. You can also rearrange them when you’re procrastinating and have more important things to do.
Low-maintenance garden plants
It goes without saying that you need to pick plants best suited to your location. Visit your local nursery and find someone who looks like they know what they’re talking about. You want to discuss your soil type and the elements (shade, aspect and so on) affecting your garden.
One thing’s for sure – when you’re plant shopping, avoid the temptation of buying pretty flowering annuals. Even perennials like lavender need to be clipped and dead-headed!
Plant the tough stuff
What you need is the tough stuff – grass and strap-leaf plants like cordyline, lomandra and New Zealand flax, and clumping plants such as bird of paradise and Japanese sacred bamboo.