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Big impact low maintenance gardens

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by Dal Ben Giardini
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Unless you have taken the time to really hone your green-fingered skills, the chances are that you would love a beautiful garden that makes a huge impact without too much ongoing maintenance. It really is the dream, isn't it? An outdoor area that looks incredible and draws you out to spend time in it but asks for little in return.

A low maintenance garden is far more achievable than you might think, so take a look at our top tips for the unenthusiastic horticulturist and see if you could be enjoying the fruits of your (reduced) labour by summer. Oh, and don't go telling everyone how easy it was to create your phenomenal garden or they'll all be doing it!

Choose low maintenance plants

This should go without saying but if you want to create a garden that looks amazing but requires little ongoing work, try not to choose plants that are notoriously hard to look after. While some of the more needy blooms might look lovely, they will certainly cost you a lot of time that you either don't have or aren't willing to sacrifice.

Barnes Walker has created a gorgeous spot here but thanks to a large proportion of lawn and some hardy shrubs, the most you will need to worry about is a gentle mow once in a while and some pruning when things grow too large. Now that is a low maintenance garden!

Don't leave room for weeds

This might be our favourite tip of all as we really are the epitome of a lazy gardener! If you want a low maintenance garden that will always look amazing and as though you tend it daily, simply don't leave any room for weeds to grow. How simple yet ingenious is that?

Lay as much lawn as you can, add shingle, gravel or bark chips to flower beds, build raised beds or use pots. Whatever will work in your space and leave you with as little potentially exposed area as possible, do it. It's really only weeds and un-mown grass that makes your garden look untidy.

Add fertiliser before planting

If you want to help your low maintenance garden grow to the best of its ability and with as little interference from you as possible, don't forget to prep the soil and add fertiliser to everything. This might seem a little bit basic in terms of tips but the effect that well nourished earth has on plants is phenomenal.

You don't want to plant a host of super blooms, trees and shrubs only to have to nurse them back to health, do you? That's what will happen if you don't throw yourself into a little bit of preparation first. Nourish first then just sit back and watch your leafy friends flourish.

Install a sprinkler system

For the ultimate in low maintenance garden innovations, the automatic sprinkler system has fast become every casual or lazy gardener's friend and we can totally see why. Rather than having to remember to get outside with the hose every day you can simply program your system to do all the hard work for you while you sit on the sofa and enjoy some TV. 

We know you will want to keep your garden looking its best but the idea of having to partake in daily maintenance chores seems, well, like a real chore!

Choose hardy grass

This is a great tip for any of you that have children or pets as both can make light work of ruining a garden if you're not careful. While toddlers love to yank plants out and run all over your freshly mown lawn, pets have a nasty habit of knowing exactly where you don't want them to do their business and, you guessed it, that's exactly where they do.

Hardy grass will be able to withstand curious children and pets with no bladder control but try to also add a little lawn food to your sprinkler system now and then just to keep it in tip top condition.

Keep it simple with paving slabs

If all of this sounds like far too much work, we have the ideal solution for all you low maintenance garden fanatics out there: pave it.

Yes, it is as simple as that! Make sure you lay an impenetrable membrane so weeds don't grow up between your slabs then pave the whole lot. If you want a little colour, add some large plant pots but don't try to actually make anything grow. We all know our limitations so if you are the kiss of death for leafy friends, perhaps it's time to step away from the gardening gloves altogether!

For more garden inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: Inspirational Front Garden Designs. If you tackle the back garden, you might want to try your hand at the front too!

Are you keen to get your garden looking better? Will you be trying any of these ideas? We'd love to know which ones!
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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