Having a large outdoor area is a real luxury in so many ways, but it can also be a huge commitment. Recent research found that the average gardening enthusiast spends the equivalent of 53 minutes per week weeding their outdoor space, so just imagine how much time you could rack up pulling weeds if your garden is decidedly larger than average. Sometimes, downsizing can seem like an attractive option, but why give up space when a few low maintenance tactics could help you to make better use of your time? Time and time again, scientific research reinforces the benefits of gardening and spending time outdoors has on our wellbeing, so why not introduce a few simple gardening swaps to ensure that along with staying on top of things, you get to enjoy plenty of downtime too.
Prioritise your layout
The fewer time consuming garden features you have in your garden, the less you’ll need to tend to them. This means deciding which things are a priority in your space and ditching anything that isn’t. Do you really need flower beds or a water feature? What about those herb pots and your vegetable garden? Your garden doesn’t need to be bereft of interest but you should think long and hard about which features are really providing value for you, which you enjoy the most and which are draining your time. Pots in particular can add hours onto your gardening to-do list as they require additional watering. If you’d really like to hang on to them, think about moving plants in larger pots that can hold more water. Along with streamlining your garden features, think about their placement too. Areas that are more time intensive and require lots of watering or digging may be better placed close to the house to help reduce time spent wandering to and from your property.
Be clever with the basics
Reduce the time you spend doing the essentials and you’ll find it easier to maintain the feature areas you have prioritised within your space. If you can afford to have someone to come in and mow the lawn for you regularly you can reclaim mowing time to be spent on other tasks. Or, why not invest in a top of the range robot lawnmower to get the job done for you? If you’re not too keen on dipping into the world of artificial intelligence, you could opt for a sit-on or wider mower to get the job done more quickly. A reliable diesel generator is another piece of kit that often proves a smart buy by providing reliable power at the bottom of your garden. Adding a dedicated watering system rather than pacing up and down with your watering can be a real time saver too.
If you’d like to reduce that 53 minutes per week spent weeding, you need to get your strategy on track. Your first step is to take action against weeds in early spring before they go to seed. Treat weeded areas with residual weed killer to stop them returning and think about covering soiled areas where weeds may sprout. Mulch and gravel are two simple options for keeping weeds at bay.
Create a wild area or paved space
Keeping your entire garden pruned and pristine can be exhausting, so why not try leaving at least some of the space to do its own thing? Let the grass grow and the weeds flower and enjoy the wildlife that flourishes as a result. Keeping a meadow area in your garden can save you lots of task time and bring beautiful butterflies and bees in to pollinate your other plants. It needn’t look too messy either. Mow a path through the space to keep it looking curated and purposeful, and sit back to appreciate nature at its best.
If you can’t face the unruliness of a mini meadow, think about paving over some of your lawn instead. Paved areas can provide useful areas for outdoor socialising along with adding structure to landscaped spaces. And best of all, they don’t need mowing!
Stick with hardy plants
If you want a low maintenance garden, it’s time to ditch the needy and delicate plants in favour of more hardy and self-sustaining varieties. For all year round colour, explore the world of evergreen plants along with easy to manage shrubs. Think too about choosing plants that can get by with little water along with minimal attention. Rosemary is a great example, it thrives in the hot and dry Mediterranean environment and can therefore do its own thing fairly comfortably. Plus, it adds texture, colour and scent to your outdoor space. Plant along these lines and you’ll have plenty to enjoy in your garden all year round, without the need for too much effort.
What’s your biggest bugbear about having a large space to garden? Do you hate weeding or would you like to hire in some help to deal with the chore of mowing your lawn?