A beautiful garden is the dream of many a homeowner. But the ‘perfect’ outdoor space doesn’t appear overnight – it takes time and thorough planning to get just right. This explains why more and more homeowners are creating outdoor spaces where they can spend a greater amount of time relaxing and enjoying the fruits of their labour (or lack thereof) rather than maintaining it. The last thing anyone wants is to spend months and months perfecting their garden only to spend the majority of their time keeping it clean once it’s finished. So, what can you do?
By far the best option to take is to create an outdoor space that not only looks incredible but takes very little effort to keep looking good. You may think that good looks and low maintenance are mutually exclusive, but this balance has become more achievable in recent years, with homeowners up and down the country creating all sorts of amazing outdoor aesthetics. Regardless of the size of your garden or outdoor space, there are several tips and tricks that you can utilise and put into action to ensure the days spent getting your hands dirty with upkeep are a thing of the past.
Lose the lawn
One of the first and easiest things to think about when creating a low-maintenance outdoor space is to consider reducing the size of your lawn. (If your garden doesn’t have a grassy area, you can skip this tip and head straight to the next one.)
When it comes to lawns, most people understand that it can take considerable time and care to get lush, green grass that you can be proud of. Processes of feeding, mowing, watering and weeding need to be undertaken on a routine basis. Certain green-fingered folk may enjoy getting their hands a little dirty, but for those of us who prefer to avoid it, simply reducing the area of your lawn is one way of decreasing your garden’s maintenance requirements. If you want to take things a little further and get rid of lawn maintenance altogether, artificial grass may be a good option for you.
An outdoor space wouldn’t be truly outdoorsy without a little bit of plant life, right? If you like having flowers and plants in your garden, unfussy perennials are just the thing. Perennials can deliver a dose of colour and vibrance without the need for constant care and attention – just what any low-maintenance outdoor space needs.
A popular choice within many low-maintenance gardens, perennial plants and flowers can live for more than two years. They often die off during the autumn and winter and return during the spring from their rootstock, meaning once planted they can simply be left to do their thing. With lavender, geraniums and all sorts of other plant species to choose from, you are sure to find something that suits your needs as well as complementing the look that you’re trying to achieve.
Pots and beds
Another great option for time-poor plant lovers is to add a selection of potted plants or plant beds to your outdoor space. Adding pots to your landscape not only makes your space more low-maintenance but also more versatile, with a range of pot styles available to choose from. Pots are also very easy to move around, so if you fancy a change of scenery or you want to switch up the dynamics of your outdoor space, you can do this with very little fuss.
Raised plant beds are a fantastic option also, reducing the need to bend and kneel and occasionally doubling up as seating options (which can save you some valuable ground space). If you’d like to take things further again, you can look to add shrubs into your space to replace beds. These can still provide the much-needed greenery that outdoor spaces require without the seasonal maintenance.
Choose composite decking
Nowadays, many homes have some form of decking in the garden, whether it’s the space’s main feature or a subtle decked area with a few bits of furniture. A lot of decks are made of cheap, easy-to-install boards that look good once they’ve been fitted; however, homeowners quickly realise that the work doesn’t end with the installation.
Hardwood decking is a popular choice because of its natural appearance. But one of the biggest disadvantages of wood decking is the upkeep required to keep it looking good as well as safe. Rotting, fading and splitting are all possibilities when it comes to wood decking, resulting in more money and time being spent on replacing faulty boards. Then there’s plastic decking, which requires very little upkeep but is prone to flexing and bowing over time when exposed to the elements, again requiring further attention.
Composite decking is made of a combination of both natural hardwood and synthetic materials. The result is an extremely hard-wearing product that is capable of coping in many outdoor conditions. As a result, you’ll never have to worry about your deck boards fading, warping, splitting or rotting, with some composite deck boards lasting up to 30 years! This provides homeowners with the perfect decking option to keep their outdoor space looking gorgeous with very little effort.
Mulch, mulch, mulch
The final thing that you can do to minimise the amount of time you spend maintaining your outdoor space is to mulch! Typically, mulching is used to stop weeds from growing, to save water and to enhance the soil around plants, but this technique can also be used to give your outdoor space a neat and tidy aesthetic. Mulching helps to break down and fertilise your plants and flowers whilst preventing weeds from growing. It covers the bare soil and any sprouting weeds stopping them from germinating.
Mulching also activates soil and feeds plants, helping them to out-compete and crowd out any unwanted weeds. Once mulch has been added to your outdoor space, it will need very little attention. Simply replace every autumn to ensure your garden remains a weed-free zone.
Mulch also provides your garden with a pleasant aroma that will complement its new and stylish look. Perfect for an organic experience for you and all your guests!