How to Plan a Garden That's Low-Maintenance

Grow a Garden That's Easy to Care For

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Plan a garden that is truly easy to maintain. Here are 10 tips on a low-maintenance layout—including easy-care plant suggestions.

  1. Small or awkward-shaped areas of lawn take longer to mow. Make life easier by straightening or smoothing edges, and use wide, straight paths with edges flush to the lawn for quick mowing.
  2. Use a mulching mower and leave the clippings on the grass to avoid having to dispose of them. It will help feed the lawn too!
  3. Consider replacing your lawn with a wildlife-friendly wildflower meadow that only requires occasional trimming. Grow a native wildflower mix that is adapted to your local conditions.
  4. Make 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.
  5. Layout 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.
  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, including
  • 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.

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, and ornamentals.

Hardy trees and shrubs suited to your soil and climate are usually lower maintenance options, such as:

  • 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 are often very low-maintenance too. For spring bulbs, simply take half-hour in the fall, and plant a bag of bulbs! Daffodils and Lily-of-the-Valley are great choices for our zone, not to mention deer-resistant.

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!

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