Gardens For Gardening Novices
To start off, have some sort of plan or design outlining how you’d like the end result to look. This can be as simple as a hand drawn sketch or as elaborate as a CAD design file. Work out what practical functions you need in your garden, such as seating, a lawn for the kids to play on, paved areas, or maybe even a swimming pool.
Be careful to make sure these practical elements flow seamlessly between areas and don’t just become secondary to the aesthetics.
Other elements to consider are perimeter planting, where you’d like the garden beds located, and where you’d like to position feature trees, if any.
The key to a low maintenance garden is to keep it open and free form style. Try to avoid rigid, straight lines or formal hedges. Depending on the size of your backyard, maybe you don’t need any lawn at all. Keep in mind that pavers will require less maintenance and a paved courtyard can be warm and inviting if planted with plenty of contrasting foliage.
Next, you need to decide what materials to use. Avoid using pale-coloured pavers as these will become a cleaning nightmare and timber decking, which requires regular oiling. These days, there is a huge variety of paving options available as well as a number of synthetic decking products that maintain their colour without a tiresome maintenance regime. It’s also important to use materials that suit your native surroundings - this will ensure they blend in with the environment and won’t stand out if left a little unruly.
Selecting plants is probably the most important element to ensuring a low maintenance, care-free garden. Take the time to research plants that will suit the conditions of your backyard. If you position plants in their ideal environment, you’re giving them optimal conditions to thrive. Things to consider include sunlight and shade, soil type, water drainage rates as well as the habit and form of the plant – how big will it grow, what is it’s natural form, does it produce flowers and how much care does it require.
Try to plant natives where possible. Natives are the ultimate low-maintenance as the only care they need is when Mother Nature decides to provided irrigation. Also, consider succulents – they are extremely hardy and require little to no care. They’re also very colourful and come in varying shapes, sizes and textures.
Finally, a good idea is to install an automatic irrigation system with a timer. This will ensure your plants receive a regular water supply and you’re not spending hours in the garden watering. Irrigation systems not only save you time but also money as they reduce water runoff, they also improve plant growth and help reduce weeds, which is one maintenance nightmare noone needs!
Josh Harrison is the CEO of Harrison’s Landscaping. Phone 9986 3112 or visit harrisonlandscaping.com.au.