Plant Design-low maintenance
Generally people expect a garden to have greenery; it's very rare to find a garden without at least some planting and that planting does mean more maintenance. So how do you have greenery without loads of work? The key is to keep the number of plants down, use the planting only where you need it and choose your plants well.
Planting: Fewer plants will mean less work, so think about more paved areas, decking and paths. Where you do have plants these are the most low manintenance options.
1) Large architectural plants
5) Slow growers
6) Drought resistant planting
7) Vegetable- I add these to the list, not because they're low maintenance but because you may want to grow some. It is possible to do so without too much hard work.
Architectural plants: These have strong, bold shapes and can hold an entire area on their own. Buy one of these large and it will be expensive, but probably not as expensive as tens of little palnts to fill the same space and, most importantly, the one large plant will be a lot easier to look after.
Shrubs: These do have a dated reputation about them, but they can be very 21st century if you only use one type of shrub and plant it en masse to make a bold statement. Or try chooseing just two or three types and panting them in waving line, with a taller shrub behind and a lower one in front.
Trees: Trees are pretty much a no-maintenance plant, even in a small garden tress can be used to give height-in fact a smaller garden is perfect for a tree - it doesn't take up much space on the ground but is great value for shade and interest. They may get too big after a few years, but you can take them out or trim them. Some trees are better than others. Below are a list of five of the best trees and why?
1) Autumn flowering cherry- All the benefits of a cherry tree, plus it flowers in milder spells all through the winter.
2) Judas tree- The purple-leaved once is especially beautiful. This is slow growing and has the most delicious pink flower against heart-shaped purple leaves.
3) Witch hazel- Great scented flowers, in late winter and lovely autumn-coloured leaves.
4) Coral bark maple- Incredible autumn colour and bright red stems throught the winter.
5) Silver birch- These have beautiful smooth white stems and delicious leaves that catch the breeze. The multi-stemmed ones are particularly nice.
Evergreens: If i say evergreen shrub you probably think of something even granny would think was dated. But they give great value for pretty much no input and if i say "bamboo," no one could call that dated. Bamboos are, i think, the perfect evergreen plant for a small garden and you couldn't get much more contemporary. They don't have a large footprint on the ground, they are evergreen, they are stylish and they are incredibly low maintenance.
Slow growers: The other things to look for are plants which don't shoot away too much. Slow growiers will not need pruning or chopping back twice a year, they 'll take their time to fill out but all of that is just putting off the fateful day when you have to do some gardening.
Drought-resistant plants: If your bugbear is having to water things you can either put in an automatic watering system or you can put in things which can withstand drought. Try grasses, grey-leaved plants (the grey leaves are a mechanism to prevent water loss) and mediterranean plants, like lavenders, olive trees and rosemary.Credit: wikimedia
Vegetables: If you want a really low-maintenance garden you wouldn't have vegetables at all. But life's not always logical. Sometimes it's nice to have a small area, an area you can cope with, that you can look at every day, a patch to grow stuff. If you do want to grow vegeatbles or herbs try to......
1) Keep the patch small.
2) have it next to the house - so you can see it from the kitchen window and don't forget about them.
3) Ensure they are in the sun.
4) The answer may be to grow vegetables in containers. The pots need to be quite deep and large but it's a great way to keep the maintenance down.
5) Just grow one or two things the first year - if you like them you can always do more next year.
6) Buy little plants from the garden centre (called "plugs") and grow them on rather than trying to grow seed. It's just as rewarding and much less effort. Lettuces, strawberries, courgettes can all be grown from plugs.
1) Keep it small and, like the vegetables, near the house.
2) Containers are ideal for herbs; if you can get something with different compartments it would be ideal to keep the different herbs apart.
3) Just grow herbs you like to use - so you take little bits off regularly - which is just the way to keep them looking good.
4) Buy little plants from garden centres to start off, growing from seed will be time-consuming and probably fruitless.