Tips for an Eco-Friendly Low Maintenance Garden

Many of us want to do the right thing and create more eco-friendly and productive gardens to make the most of our outside space. Utilising your garden to its fullest is a great step to take if you want to live a more ethical and green way of life. But many are concerned that with a full time job, perhaps kids to consider, and all the chores and obligations of daily life, they will not have the time they need to devote to improving their garden. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to make the most of your garden that will not involve hours of maintenance each week. Here are some tips for an eco-friendly, low maintenance garden:

Embrace the Wild & the Weeds

The first thing to do, if you are worried about the amount of time you have to spend in your garden, is to let go of an obsession with keeping the space weed free. Many gardeners spend hours trying to eradicate each and every weed from the space. But weeds are just plants that thrive in the environment – often they are hardy, pioneer species and can also often be the right plants for the right places – if only we reframe the way we think about them, we can value them in our outside spaces. A low maintenance border, for example, could be one which encourages a range of the native, resilient plants that we often call weeds. Leaving wilder edges and borders can actually look very good, and is a wonderful way to help the wildlife in your garden.

Ditch Your Lawn for a Wildflower Meadow

If you have a large lawn, you may be fed up of the tyranny of mowing. In summer, you will likely feel that you have to mow at least once a fortnight – perhaps even more frequently. But lawns are unproductive mono-cultures. A perfect grassy lawn may look neat, but it is the antithesis of a healthy and productive garden ecosystem. Low maintenance gardeners can save a lot of time and effort by turning a lawn into a lovely wildflower meadow, with native species that are beneficial for pollinators like bees and for other wildlife. A meadow area will require very little maintenance, and without any interference from you, will just look better and better over time.

Enjoy More Food, Less Fuss With a Forest Garden

When we think of a low-maintenance garden, we often think about an area with a few neatly tended plants and large areas of hardstanding. But there is a different route that you could take. Getting rid of plant life may feel like a solution for time-poor gardeners, but in fact, you may just be creating a range of future problems for yourself. Low maintenance gardens do not need to be barren wastelands. In fact, you can grow a huge variety of your own food without having to spend hours in your garden. A little work initially to set it up, and you could have a productive food forest right outside your own back door. Planting fruit trees, fruit bushes and other shrubs, and perennial vegetables and herbs can provide you with a largely self-sustaining food-producing space. You will spend more time on the joyful activity of harvesting than you do on anything else.

Plant Perennial Polycultures

If you are short on time, but do want to grow vegetables, you can still grow a wide range of produce without having to tend and maintain a traditional annual vegetable garden. Annual crops take a lot more work than perennial crops that will come back every year. You could consider creating some mixed perennial beds to grow not only beautiful perennial flowers but also perennial vegetables such as rhubarb, globe artichoke, perennial cabbages, perennial onions and more.