garden task

The most hated garden tasks - and how to avoid them

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Garden tasks: some people love ‘em, others can’t abide ‘em. If you fall into the latter category, or simply don’t have the time to fit gardening in as often as you’d like, fear not. Here are some tips to lighten, if not eliminate, the workload.

When GARDENA asked people in the UK which garden tasks they most hated, it was no surprise when weeding topped the list. Few people actually enjoy spending an inordinate amount of time on their hands and knees, digging around in the dirt.

Here’s the good news: there are ways to drastically reduce your weeding workload. What’s more, some of the other less popular gardening tasks can be eliminated altogether. Tell me more, you say? Then read on.

1. The most hated garden task: weeding

The best way to avoid weeding is to stop them growing in the first place. Lay down a layer (around two inches) of coarse mulch, such as bark or wood chips, on top of the soil of your flowerbeds. This will stop light from reaching any weed seeds and so will prevent them from germinating.
It will also help the soil to retain moisture for your plants and act as a fertiliser as the wood slowly decomposes.

Leaves, grass cuttings or straw can also be used as weed-deterring mulch, but use a layer of newspaper, cardboard or fabric between it and the soil. If you’ve got a path, try sweeping rock salt, or pouring weed killer, into any gaps to stop weeds from growing through.

If this garden task calls for drastic measures in your garden, you can try landscape fabric (available from garden centres, DIY stores or online). This allows air, water and nutrients to reach the soil, but prevents sunlight from reaching any unwanted weeds. Simply cut holes in the fabric where your plants grow, lay it down and cover it with a two-inch layer of mulch or gravel.

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2. Lawn care

The most obvious way to avoid lawn care is not to have one. If that conjures up images of drab patios or the radioactive green of artificial grass, then rest assured, there are more attractive options. A number of permanent replacements, such as decking, flagstones, slate and gravel can be combined to create a stylish and multi-textured space.

Of course, nothing beats the aesthetic of a real lawn, so if your budget allows, you could always pay a professional to perform this garden task for you.

If that sounds a bit expensive in the long run, a better investment might be a robot mower like GARDENA’s smart SILENO. Suitable for lawns of up to 1,000 square metres and controlled via a free smart App for Android and iPhone, you can put your feet up while this clever gadget does the work for you.

3. Hedge trimming

One way to reduce the time spent on this most monotonous of garden tasks is to plant a hedge that requires little maintenance. Yew, Copper Beach and Red Robin can all be kept under control with just one annual trim in summer or early autumn.

However, if even once a year sounds like too much work, the Thuja Emerald could be your perfect hedging plant. It keeps its neat cone-shape and doesn’t bush out very much, so you’ll never need to trim the sides.

4. Clearing leaves

When autumn rolls around, anywhere within a stone’s throw of a tree or bush that isn’t evergreen (a plant that retains its leaves all year round) will soon become covered in leaves. When this happens, the garden task of cleaning them all up can seem a little daunting.

If so, here’s a little revelation: it’s entirely unnecessary. Instead of throwing those leaves away, rake or blow them onto your flowerbeds and let them act as a sheltering layer of mulch for your plants over the winter. They will also boost your soil’s nutrients as they gradually break down.

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5. Watering

There’s no way around it – plants need water. The degree to which they need it, however, can range from once a day to hardly ever. There are plenty of varieties of plants, such as daises, lavender, marigolds and sunflowers that require virtually no watering once they are established. Add a layer of mulch on top of the soil to lock in moisture and you can put the hose away for good.

If you want to completely eliminate this gardening task, though, you’re in luck. There are a number of automatic irrigation solutions available, such as GARDENA’s smart Water Control system.

Feel like a burden’s been lifted from your shoulders? You should – put these easy solutions into action and you can get back to experiencing gardening as the pleasure-giving pursuit it is, rather than a troublesome chore.