Here are 10 ways of making sure your garden does not become a maintenance nightmare
Work out how much time you have for looking after your garden and then design the garden to fit in with that. There is nothing to say that you have to cultivate every inch of your garden. Below are 10 ways you can reduce the amount of time you put into gardening your garden.
- Choose the areas you put your time and energy into carefully and invest in those that you look at the most. Examples would be the areas round the patio or a favourite bench. Remember to include the winter months when thinking about this because it probably wouldn’t take much to put some spring bulbs in some tubs or the bed closest to the house so you have something colourful to look at in those dull, short winter days.
- For the areas that you decide are too much for you to care for as you would like to, put down a weed suppressant membrane and plant some interesting shrubs through it. To make it look nicer, apply a dressing of mulch. Take some time to choose shrubs that have interesting features such as nice blossom and make sure their mature size is not too big for the available space so that you will not have to prune them back every year.
- Think about not cutting your lawn at all. There are several ways of doing this and the most simple is doing nothing at all and see what happens. Other people have opted for planting either annual or perennial flowering lawns/meadows.
- A half way house would be to let some of the lawn grow long and keep the rest short. You can get a delightful contrast between the long and the short grass and you might be surprised by what flowers in amongst the long grass.
- Start weeding your borders now. Any perennial weed that you take out now is not there to multiply next year and because it is already an established plant, it will get going as soon as the soil warms up and there will be seeds being blown about before you know it. To paraphrase a well known saying – ‘an hour spent weeding now, saves nine next year’.
- Apply a mulch on the beds you’ve decided to concentrate on. Try and get them as weed free as possible and then put on a mulch which will protect your soil and cut down on the amount of weed seeds that germinate next year.
- Use a hedge trimmer to cut your perennials down in January or February.
- Avoid having plants that need staking, which is more work. If you do have plants that usually need support, try cutting them back in late May/early June, before flowering, as this will ensure that the flower spikes that do develop will not be as tall as usual and will be self-supporting, even in windy places.
- Buy the plants that will thrive in your garden rather than just survive. Work out the type of soil, the soil pH and the conditions in the garden, then buy the best plants for those surroundings.
- Take care not to walk or stand on your soil when it is too wet during the winter months which will result in compacted soil which will make it very difficult to dig next year. If the soil sticks to your boots, especially in great clumps, then you should steer clear of digging that day.
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