Maintaining a yard and/or garden takes a lot of work. People juggling families, jobs and other activities don't want to spend hours and hours watering, weeding, fertilizing and solving pest problems outdoors. They want to do what's essential to keep their yard and garden looking nice, and then spend their free time enjoying it.
These eight great tips will help make your garden low-maintenance, giving you more to sit and relax.
1. Get rid of lawn completely
One of the simplest ways to make your garden low-maintenance is to get rid of grass in your yard and replace it with something that doesn't need to be mowed, watered or fertilized. You can add a dry creek bed with decorative rocks or xeriscape your yard completely, turning it into a gorgeous space filled with drought-tolerant plants and beautiful stones.
2. Incorporate clover into lawn
More and more people are moving away from traditional lawns with 100 percent grass, and adding clover to their turf. Clover is drought-tolerant, almost completely immune to disease, and deters most common, problem-causing insects. It also fixes nitrogen in the soil, making its own fertilizer, and outcompetes other weeds, thus reducing the need for herbicides. Better yet? It doesn't need to be mowed to keep it looking neat and tidy.
3. Mulch around plants
Adding a thick layer of mulch around garden plants will decrease your watering frequency and help keep weeds from sprouting. This techique will negate the need for regular garden weeding. You can use commercially purchased mulch, shredded leaves, pine needles or straw as mulch.
4. Choose easy-care plants
When choosing the varieties of plants to put in your garden, look for ones that require less maintenance to keep them looking nice. Choose plants that won't outgrow their space quickly and need to be pruned back. Also, look for plants that bloom all summer or stay green the entire growing season. Hydrangeas, peonies and dianthus are ideal easy-care plants to get started with.
5. Grow more perennials
Incorporate as many perennials as possible into your garden layout, trying to get away from planting numerous flats of annual flowers every spring. If you choose to plant bulbs to have flowering plants, look for varieties that can go a couple of years before they need to be divided. Shrubs and ornamental grasses also make a lovely addition to a garden space, coming back year after year and adding visual interest.
6. Install automatic irrigation systems
One of the most time-consuming aspects of maintaining a lawn and garden is keeping it watered. To cut down on time spent dragging a hose or sprinklers around, have an irrigation system installed that can be regulated by a timer. This way you can easily control when and how much water is applied without doing the hard work yourself.
7. Apply slow-release fertilizers
All plants need sunlight, water and nutrients to grow, even ones that have low-maintenance needs. Instead of giving them fertilizer every couple of weeks during their active growing season, switch to a slow-release fertilizer that's applied less often and breaks down more gradually.
8. Don't go overboard
If you've got a vegetable garden, make sure to plant only what your family will eat. There's no point in tending to plants that no one even likes, or planting way more than necessary to feed your family.