8 Routes to a Low-Maintenance Garden ...

The idea of a low-maintenance garden can be very appealing. A full-time job and family commitments may leave you little time to look after your garden. Or perhaps you enjoy having a garden, but don't like spending too much time working on it. The answer is to create a low-maintenance garden, and here are some ways to go about it …

1. Grass-Free

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The low-maintenance garden needs to have little or no lawn. Going grass-free means that you won't have to cut the grass every weekend in summer, or spend a lot of time weeding. There are a lot of alternative surfaces, such as slate, gravel or decking, so you can have a great-looking garden without the hassle of maintaining a lawn.

2. Avoid Thirsty Plants

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Some people enjoy pottering around their garden. If you prefer a low-maintenance version, however, then you won't want to water your garden twice daily in the summer heat. There are plenty of plants that don't need frequent watering, so you don't have to stick to cacti. Try dianthus (pinks), lavender or salvia if you like color.

3. Container Gardening

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Growing your plants in containers can also cut down your gardening time. There's less room for weeds to grow and they'll be easier to water. Plant flowers for color, and mix them with foliage plants. You can even grow vegetables in containers, which will be quicker to maintain than in open ground.

4. Slow-Growing Plants

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In the long term, you can also save yourself time and effort by choosing plants that are slow-growing. These plants are good for low-maintenance gardens as they require less pruning. Try peonies, gardenias, or evergreens such as hebe, camellias and rhododendrons.

5. Bulbs

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Bulbs are a great way of saving effort in your garden. Once planted, they'll keep popping up every year, so you don't need to put in new ones. Masses of daffodils and tulips looks stunning. Once they've stopped flowering, you can then put in summer bedding in the same place.

6. Plant Perennials

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For a low-maintenance garden, avoid planting annuals. These are plants that only survive for one year. Instead, choose perennials, which last for more than two years. Annuals look pretty, but you'll have to clear out your flower beds every year and plant replacements.

7. Fewer Flower Beds

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Having a lot of flower beds can mean a lot of weeding and planting. If you want to save time, focus on having a few beds. This allows you to concentrate your efforts on planting up a smaller area, rather than having to fill several beds with plants. You can also save time on garden maintenance.

8. Small Space

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If you're house-hunting and want a low-maintenance garden, look for a home with a small outside space. A large garden will need a lot of looking after, so if you're not keen on doing that then it should be an important factor in your choice of home.

Gardens are a great asset, as they give you a lovely space to spend warmer days. It's also beneficial to your emotional well-being to be close to nature, especially if you live in a city. But not everyone has the time or the inclination to spend hours looking after their garden. Many of us would rather spend the time lazing in the garden than weeding, so try these ideas to help save you time. Would you love a large garden, or do you think small is beautiful?

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