10 Ways to Plan a Garden That's Low-Maintenance | Almanac.com

10 Ways to Plan a Garden That's Low-Maintenance


Grow a Garden That's Easy to Care For

Ever had a vegetable fail because you didn’t have time to watch it carefully enough? Plan a garden and select vegetables that are low-maintenance!
Busy lives, multiple demands on our time, and perhaps a change in circumstance means that an easy garden is a must. So, here are 10 expert tips for growing an excellent vegetable garden that requires a minimum of time and effort. 

If you think low-maintenance means sacrificing what makes your garden special, think again. It’s about getting smart with your layout—and choosing plants carefully.

In this article (with video), we share ideas for growing a beautiful, productive garden that is much easier to care for. Honestly, it’s helpful for any of us gardeners! While we love being in the garden, we have busy lives, too!

10 Ways to Plan a Garden That’s Low-Maintenance

  1. Let’s start with the lawn. Small or awkward-shaped areas of lawn take longer to mow. Make life easier by straightening or smoothing edges. Lawns with hard edges are easy to mow with a wheeled mower and leave clippings on the grass. That way there’s no need to dispose of them and they’ll feed the lawn too! use wide, straight paths with edges flush to the lawn for quick mowing.
  2. Even better is to replace part of your lawn with beautiful wildlife-friendly wildflower meadow that only requires occasional trimming. Grow a native wildflower mix that is adapted to your local conditions.
  3. Keep the borders of garden beds straight or gently curved. Raised beds help to bring the growing area closer to the gardener, so they’re easier to tend and reduce bending.
  4. Position your garden so that the parts that require more maintenance are closer to where you need to access them, or next to your tool store or shed so you spend less time moving tools and equipment around.
  5. You can also replace narrow, winding paths with wider, straighter paths with edges flush to the lawn for quick mowing.
  6. Grow thirsty plants that need regular watering near a water outlet, or install an automatic watering system. Our Garden Planner can help you plan out your irrigation system. Select ‘Irrigation’ from the selection bar drop-down menu to find the Irrigation components.
  7. Containers need a lot of watering and feeding, but by grouping pots together, or using fewer, larger containers, watering will be much quicker. This also slows the rate at which pots dry out, so less watering overall is needed.
  8. Plant low-maintenance vegetables and fruit! Here’s a short list of suggestions.
  • winter squash,
  • corn,
  • perpetual spinach or
  • Swiss chard;
  • soft fruit such as currants and
  • fall-bearing raspberries; or
  • apples, pears and other hardy free-standing fruit trees.

Of course, our Garden Planner can help you choose low-maintenance crops. Click on the Filter button to the left of the plant selection bar, then select the ‘Easy to Grow’ option and click OK. The selection bar will then show only plants that will make growing worry free.

9. Also, plant easy-care trees, shrubs, grasses, and ornamentals. Hardy trees and shrubs suited to your soil and climate are usually lower maintenance options. Here are some suggestions:

  • euonymus,
  • berberis, or
  • magnolia.

Many grasses require cutting back just once a year, such as:

  • such as miscanthus or
  • carex

while ground-covering perennials help crowd out weeds such as: 

  • bergenia and
  • geranium

See all our free growing guides for more information on how to plant.

Bulbs such as daffodils are often very low-maintenance too. For spring bulbs, simply take half-hour in the fall, and plant a bag of bulbs!

10. Reduce the amount of weeding you need to do by covering any areas of bare soil with thick mulches of organic materials such as bark chippings, which will gradually rot down and help to improve the soil.

To plan your garden, click on this link for a free 7-day trial of our Almanac Garden Planner. You have a full week to create the perfect garden, and see if you like it!

About The Author

Benedict Vanheems

Benedict Vanheems is the author of GrowVeg and a lifelong gardener with a BSc and an RHS General Certificate in horticulture. Read More from Benedict Vanheems

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