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Tips for making my garden easier to maintain- please

I am fairly new to gardening and really love it, however having recently extended our garden sadly I am finding it just takes up too much time.  

I spend a lot of time gardening but it always seems to look half completed, beds seem empty/a mess and I have an endless list of want needs to be done ( it's probably actually the list of what I WANT to do really!) 

I have reduced the pots I have to water etc, but I would really appreciate any tips how to minimise the work so I can enjoy it again.  Any plants, garden design tips etc?

Any ideas fellow gardeners?

Thanks so much for your advice

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Posts

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,258

    You can reduce the amount of weeding you need to do by not leaving any bare soil.  Of course, that means planting more things!  You can use things like heucheras and dianthus for evergreen groundcover and there are a several types of variegated euonymus which are slow growers so don't need trimming to give you some evergreen shrubbery.  Just a few ideas but there are lots more suitable plants which don't need a lot of looking after.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,051

    There are quite a few hardy perennials such as geraniums, nepeta and geums that flower for months and need relatively little care - just an annual hard chop after flowering generally. Same goes for most 'alpine' plants - sedums, helianthemums, that sort of thing. Lots of herbs like rosemary, sage, marjoram and hyssop are sturdy and evergreen (or nearly so) and don't get too huge. Given the right conditions (and you don't say what your garden is like - size, orientation to the sun, windy, cold, city, sunny) they will just mind their own business while being useful in the kitchen and attractive in a fairly low key way.

    Growing big shrubs like lilac, philadelphus, eleagnus, cornus, holly and any trees planted into 'holes' in rough grass needs a little work to get them established but after the first 2 or 3 years you can mow paths close to them in the long grass and avoid weeding. They'll need an annual or biannual prune but not constant attention. If in time you find the rest of your garden is under better control you can begin to widen the gaps around the shrubs and begin to form borders with the established plants providing some structure.

    Ferns don't need much looking after. Nor do most close relatives of wild flowers, like foxgloves, aquilegia, achillea and honesty. As with the others, you need to get them started but then they'll sort themselves out and seed themselves around. You just need to let go a little and not think your garden has to be pristine and perfect. A little raggedy wildness at the edges is great for wildlife and much less work.

    “There is no military solution
    Doesn't always end up as something worse”
  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,353

    I'm currently working on getting my planted areas to be in places that the mower will easily go round.  Mowing is a pain if you have to stop and start or go backwards and forwards so I'm trying to get a nice workflow going by planting up bits that are tricky to mow, with shrubs.  Shrubs shade out weeds and if I can turn on the mower and just walk it round, it's easy. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 42,385

    Pots are always more work than plants in the ground.

    Like Bob and raisingirl have indicated - having lots of plants doesn't necessarily mean more work if you choose wisely. Ground cover plants and shrubs can be very low maintenance, so a selection of those can cut the  work considerably. If you can post a few pix of your garden that will help with specific plant suggestions. Repeat planting is a good idea to achieve unity in a border, or throughout the whole garden. 

    Mulch any bare areas with a good layer of bark, gravel or compost and that will cut down on weeding, until shrubs grow big enough.

    Keep borders or other planted areas simple in shape, and position plants so that you have a good, sensible  arrangement with taller plants at the back, and smallest at the front. If the borders are deep, it's worth having the odd paving slab or little area of gravel in the border for standing on if you need to get in to prune or tidy anything. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,353

    mowing strips are good too, save all that edge maintenance.

  • Zo FZo F Posts: 26

    Thank you all so much, from reading your replies I have realised that I am planting the wrong plants sometimes,  for example bedding plants that are given to me instead of buying evergreens and perennials.

    I also think I need to stop buying individual plants that I fall in love with and instead buy a couple at a time to give me some unity and fill a few more spaces.

    I am also going to look at coverping some parts of the beds in stones for a year to ease the workload for a bit.

    Many thanks again, I find this group so helpful for new gardeners

  • Zo FZo F Posts: 26
    Cloggie says:

    mowing strips are good too, save all that edge maintenance.

    See original post

     Hi Cloggie

    I am definitely interested in making lawin mowing easier, what sort of strips do you mean or can you recommend any? Do you mean like edging?

    Many thanks indeed

  • Zo FZo F Posts: 26
    Doghouse Riley says:

    Eliminate edging lawns, it's time consuming. Lay brick pavers between your borders, features and your lawn.

    image

    I just wizz over mine with a Flymo, though I do occasionally run a strimmer down the edge of the lawn where it is flush with the path on the right-hand side.

    Don't bother with annuals and hanging baskets. Don't leave any room for weeds.

    Have your borders watered by a leaky hose system.,

    Install   some sprinklers to water your lawn.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIx72a66TfY

    Or, just close the curtains.

    Last edited: 14 August 2017 17:55:16

    See original post

    The curtains idea is novel!  Your garedness is beautiful-  I especially love the idea of bricks for a border, I have never done anything like this before, but do you need to lay the bricks in concrete?   (the thought of me and concrete does not fill me pleasure to be honest!!).

    Thanks for sharing this picture for inspiration 

  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,353

    What Doghouse Riley said image

    I had edging strips laid by a garden blokey and infilled with weed suppressant membrane and shingle.  Worked well for a while but you do still have to weed eventually when soil and seeds build up in the gravel.

    image Here's more inspiration from my old garden.  The patio was laid with an edging brick which carried on where the patio ended (I had a path up to the shed at the other side from this picture).  The soil was built up over the edge of the patio using Council waste (cheap) to make the lawn even with the patio making lawn edging easy.  I shoved so much in my borders that I couldn't see the weeds if I had any!  This was a low maintenance garden.

  • Zo FZo F Posts: 26
    Cloggie says:

    What Doghouse Riley said image

    I had edging strips laid by a garden blokey and infilled with weed suppressant membrane and shingle.  Worked well for a while but you do still have to weed eventually when soil and seeds build up in the gravel.

    image Here's more inspiration from my old garden.  The patio was laid with an edging brick which carried on where the patio ended (I had a path up to the shed at the other side from this picture).  The soil was built up over the edge of the patio using Council waste (cheap) to make the lawn even with the patio making lawn edging easy.  I shoved so much in my borders that I couldn't see the weeds if I had any!  This was a low maintenance garden. See original post

     That's really helpful- thank you!  The garden looks lovely, I love the way you have grown plants up that high, it makes it look peaceful and secluded!

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