Tips for a low maintenance garden

Tips for a low maintenance garden

With the majority of us leading busier lives, there is often little time to give our gardens the care and attention they need and deserve. With some careful planning and planting, your garden can still be the sanctuary you desire and can therefore enjoy.

No garden will ever be totally maintenance free, but there are many ways to ensure that your gardening tasks can be kept to a manageable level. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Things to consider

  1. At the design and planting stage, give thought to how much time you have for your garden. If time really is premium, it would be wise to plant evergreen trees and shrubs as they will require less maintenance.
  2. Watering – watering your garden in the early years of establishment is vital for your trees and shrubs’ survival and ensure they will flourish and give you many years of enjoyment. If watering is a major issue (for example if you are frequently away), it would be wise to avoid planting up lots of containers. These require a lot of care – from the initial planting to re-potting, weeding and feeding.
  3. Consider planting a mixture of large specimen plants and some younger plants. Your large specimen plants will give you instant impact, but younger plants can establish more quickly and therefore require a little less attention.
  4. Borders and weed control – laying a weed suppressing membrane overlaid with mulch or attractive gravel can reduce weeds. It is vital however, to lay the membrane and mulch to the canopy of your plants. You must keep the top surface of the root systems of your plants exposed so that they can breathe. Please see our planting guide for further information on how to plant correctly. Covering over the root system will stunt the growth of your plants, stop them from flowering, make them much more susceptible to disease and eventually kill them.
  5. Keep the design of your borders simple – preferably with straight edges, as curves are harder to mow or edge successfully.

Plants to consider

Choosing low maintenance plants is key to your garden design. There are many interesting shrubs to choose from, including:-

Pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ (dwarf Japanese Mock Orange) Pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ is an evergreen shrub. It has deep green, glossy leaves with small heads of creamy-white scented flowers which appear in the summer. Pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ is an excellent shrub for coastal conditions. It can be planted in full sun to partial shade and is tolerant of windy and coastal conditions. Pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ will grow on most soils except waterlogged or chalky conditions. It is slow growing and has a compact growth habit. 


Leucothoe walteri ‘Zeblid’ Leucothoe walteri ‘Zeblid’ is a dwarf evergreen shrub. Their leaves are glossy when they first emerge, becoming dark green during the summer. In autumn and winter, they transform into a spectacular ruby red. Leucothoe walteri ‘Zeblid’ has small white flowers in spring. They like a moist spot and full sun to enhance their colours to full effect, but they can tolerate light shade. 
Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’ (dwarf Heavenly Bamboo) Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’ is a compact, evergreen shrub. Its leaves are yellow-green during the summer, turning orange and red in the autumn and winter. Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’ produces small white flowers in the summer. Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’ thrives in well-drained fertile soil and to get the best autumn colours, prefers full sun and being sheltered from the cold.
Magnolia grandiflora (Bull Bay) Magnolia Grandiflora is a large evergreen tree or shrub. It has glossy, leathery dark green leaves, with a rusty-brown underside. Magnolia Grandiflora produces highly fragrant, cup-shaped white flowers in late summer and early autumn. They prefer a sheltered position, with well drained soil, and can tolerate full sun or partial shade.
Myrtus communis half standard (common Myrtle) Myrtus communis is a bushy, evergreen shrub with dark green glossy leaves, which give off a fragrant aroma if crushed. It has an abundance of fragrant white flowers and their white stamens are quite conspicuous. The flowers appear in July and August and are followed by purple-black berries. Myrtus communis thrives in full sun, with well-drained soil and can even tolerate frosts. However, it will need to be protected if it is in a particularly cold area. Myrtus communis will enhance a sunny border or can be grown successfully against a south or west-facing wall. We also stock them as half standards which can look spectacular. These will enhance your planting and will give height and definition. 
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