Cambridge landscape designer Summit Landscapes on creating a low-maintenance garden
It's easy to create a beautiful, low-maintenance garden that will look great all year round.
The aim is to maximise your enjoyment without having to work hard for it. Perhaps you don’t like gardening or simply don’t have the time for it? There are many ways to make your garden work for you – and not the other way around.
A low-maintenance garden can consist of something as simple as a paved area with a few plants and some comfortable seating.
The most simple but radical thing to do is to get rid of as many plants as possible. You may not want a completely plant-free garden, so if you do have plants in it try and keep to fewer than five varieties.
By doing this, you will quickly get to know what type of care they need and will be able to spot weeds more easily.
The more you limit the number of different plants in your garden, the less maintenance there will be. Summit Landscapes is here to help.
For a truly low-maintenance garden, the first thing to do is to get rid of the lawn. Lawns need constant cutting and regular work to keep the grass looking neat and lush.
There are numerous low-maintenance alternatives to a lawn – all of which will provide a clean, contemporary and inviting feel to any garden, no matter the size.
Artificial grass has come a long way from the rough AstroTurf you had at school. It now comes in a huge variety of extremely realistic materials, lengths and shades. It never requires cutting and is child and pet-friendly.
Artificial grass is also a lot cheaper than you’d imagine. Once installed, it immediately lowers your maintenance time and makes your garden look clean and manicured.
Decking is extremely versatile and can cover irregular-shaped or unsightly areas with ease. Decking is available in three different materials: softwood, hardwood or composite.
Due to their durability, hardwood and composite decking are harder wearing, last longer and need to be treated far less frequently than softwood decking, creating a lot less work for yourself.
A paved area requires very little maintenance and slabs are fairly cheap to install. Using a resin-based grout for the pointing of the slabs will also dramatically improve the area’s durability.
A quick sweep once every few weeks will keep it looking clean. However, paving may need to be pressure washed or scrubbed every six months or so.
Resin Bound Gravel
A Resin Bound Gravel paved area is a fantastic alternative to a lawn as it has the appearance of gravel, but has absolutely no loose stones to constantly rake or sweep up. No little gravel stones will find their way into the house or the car either.
Resin Bound Gravel provides a smooth, durable surface that is completely water-permeable, so won’t leave any water standing on the surface, eliminating any risk of slipping.
The stones themselves come in a huge variety of colours, textures and finishes – perfect for blending into any colour scheme already present in your garden. The UV-resistant resin also protects the stones, so they will never fade in sunlight.
Another alternative to a lawn is a thick layer of slate or stone chippings. When installed properly with a membrane layer underneath, chippings will suppress weed growth, require very little maintenance and instantly make your garden look smarter.
All of these alternatives provide less work than grass. If you must keep the lawn, make it a simple shape – a small, rectangular lawn takes a lot less time to mow than a large, irregular-shaped lawn.
As a general rule of thumb, the harder the landscaping in your garden, the easier it will be to maintain.