What kind of garden do you want to have? - GARDENA

High or low maintenance: What kind of garden do you want to have?

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There are so many different possible ways to plan your garden – from a simple but stylish low maintenance garden to a more high maintenance and involved design. The key is to think the options through and decide which type suits you best.

Planning a low maintenance garden

The advantages of having a low maintenance garden are obvious. Most people don’t have that much spare time to spend on gardening each week, so it can be necessary to keep work to a minimum. When planning your garden, think about the different types of maintenance involved. If there are tasks you think you won’t have time for – or just don’t like doing - try to find ways around them. Here are a few examples:

  • Choose hardy perennials which will come back again and again if you don’t want to plant each year.
  • If you don’t like cutting hedges, plant bushes and flowering shrubs that look wonderful even when they are left to themselves. Plant any fast-growing shrubs away from locations like paths or pavements that need to be kept clear.
  • To avoid weeding, use mulch - like woodchips or organic material - around your plants. As well as discouraging weeds, mulch improves the soil and locks in moisture, making it a great asset to any low maintenance garden.

Functional, delicious and medium maintenance

Growing your own fruit and veg isn’t quite low maintenance gardening, but it needn’t be too time consuming either. What’s more, the benefits are so great, you won’t mind putting in a bit of extra work. Start off small with just one or two containers and a packet of seeds. Containers need to have 6 - 8 inches of space for your plants’ roots and holes for good drainage. They will also need fairly frequent watering in summer. Here are a few tips to keep things as simple as possible:

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  • Ask in your garden centre which varieties of your chosen fruit or veg are the easiest to grow and need the least attention.
  • Miniature versions of fruit and vegetables, like cherry tomatoes, are often less demanding in terms of their watering needs, as well as being extra sweet, ripening more quickly and being less likely to split or spoil.
  • Cucumbers, spring onions, peppers and broccoli are other candidates for easy success, as are most root vegetables.
  • If vegetables seem too ambitious, go for some herbs instead. Having a free supply of fresh herbs will save you money and liven up your cooking.
  • Plant basil next to tomatoes to keep away pests and offer you the basis for a delicious salad.

High maintenance gardening

If you’re the creative type and have lots of time to spend on your garden, you can really let your imagination go wild. Start by thinking about the basic shape. Where do you want space, where do you want plants and which extra features could you add to make it really breath-taking? Then think about the planting options available to you. Research your favourite high-maintenance blooms and find out exactly what they need to thrive. Here are a few things to consider:

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  • There are a lot of beautiful flowers which are either annuals, meaning that they only bloom for one year, or need extra care in winter. Dahlias, for example, need lifting every autumn and replanting the following year if you are in a region which gets frosts. But if that doesn’t deter you, you’ll be rewarded by vibrant colour displays each summer.
  • If you don’t mind trimming hedges, you can fill your garden with artistic shapes. Pick evergreens if you don’t want the additional work of picking up leaves.
  • To make your floral displays stand out, keep the edges of your lawn looking clean and sharp through regular trimming.
  • If, after a while, you find yourself wishing you’d chosen a more low maintenance garden, gradually replace high maintenance plants with more independent species.
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Shortcuts to lower maintenance

Whether you want a low maintenance garden or something a bit more challenging, remember that you can always get a bit of extra help. Smart gardening means that monotonous garden tasks like mowing and watering no longer have to be done manually, for example:

  • Installing an automated irrigation system like GARDENA’s smart Water Control allows you to water in the easiest way imaginable, by automatically controlling the water supply to your garden.
  • Robotic lawnmowers like GARDENA’s smart Sileno can be pre-programed to cut your lawn for you.

Making use of these shortcuts can free up your time for other things. It’s then up to you whether you use that time to tend your carefully cultivated roses or just lie back and read a book in your low maintenance garden.

If you’re still not sure which type of garden would suit you best, why not start off with a low maintenance garden and then add some more high maintenance elements as you grow more confident? Remember that the most important thing about your garden is that you enjoy it!