By Matt Gibson
There is no such thing as a no-maintenance garden that has any sort of plant life. If you have plants in your garden area, there will undoubtedly be some maintenance involved. However, if you minimize the space that you are growing in and select the right plants, the amount of work involved in keeping your garden space looking nice and tidy will be very minimal, and as close as possible to a no-maintenance setup that you can enjoy and show off to guests when you host events at your home.
The following steps will teach you everything you need to know to get started on crafting your own simple garden setup that won’t have you racing around the patio all spring to make it look a little better before your big event.
Create Functional Outdoor Living Spaces
More outdoor space dedicated to functional living means more space to entertain guests and less space you have to dedicate to plants and decorative gardening. This will mean that your patio will have more room for your guests to enjoy during your events and less space that you will have to worry about dedicating to plants to prune and water or grass for you to mow.
In the long run, this means less work and more enjoyment, which is just what you are looking for. Lay out stone slabs to extend your patio and bring in a dining table, grilling area, or a stone fire pit, for guests to crowd around in conversation. Have a small patio or deck area? Extending the patio, or deck, to take up more space is another way to add more functional space to your outdoor area.
Outdoor Landscaping with Stone
Though it is somewhat pricey, bluestone can be a wonderful way to extend your outdoor living areas without needing to add more plant life. Bluestone is all natural, dense, and durable, and it is available in a wide variety of colors for you to choose from. The long-lasting stone slabs are available in white, pink, blue, orange, gray, brown, and more, and their all-natural texture feels great on bare feet. Even in the summertime when the sun beats down upon them throughout the afternoon, the stone remains relatively cool to the touch.
If bluestone is out of your budget, crushed stone can fill the same role at a fraction of the price. Try laying down crushed pea stone or white stone in place of the large slabs. Though not as comfortable for bare foot enjoyment, the crushed stone pathways will be an attractive extension of your deck or patio areas that won’t break the bank.
Make A Sturdy and Level Foundation
Whether you are going with bluestone or crushed stones to extend your patio area, a strong and level foundation is a must. Create a six to eight inch layer of crushed pea stones first before laying out stone for the top layer of your extended patio. This layer will serve two important purposes that will save you some time and frustration for many years to come. First, the pea stone layer will create a strong and level foundation for you to build on, as you don’t want an uneven surface as the stones begin to settle into place. Second, the thick layer of crushed stones should be enough to deter even the most invasive species of weeds from growing up through it, which should keep you from having to worry about pulling up weeds to keep your patio area looking nice and tidy.
Line Your Beds With Mulch Each Spring
Mulch tops grass in a low-maintenance setup for several good reasons. Mulch deters weeds much better than grass, and it breaks down quickly to fertilize your soil, rejuvenating it with nutrients for upcoming growing seasons. Mulch is also relatively inexpensive, and you only need to replace it once per year in the springtime to keep your beds looking nice and neat. Mulch beds can cut down on mowing time and they help your soil retain water after heavy rains, which can reduce the time you spend watering your patio plants. As an added bonus, most mulch varieties put off a pleasant wood smell for you and your guests to enjoy while lounging on the patio area outside.
Or Use Stone In Beds Instead Of Mulch
If the idea of replacing the mulch in your garden beds is too much of a task to perform once per year, there is an even simpler option in the form of more stone. Pea stone comes in different sizes, so even if you live in a windy area, three-quarter inch stone will stay put in your garden beds. Unlike mulch, stone will not have to be replaced once per year, or ever, if you get the right stone to match your home’s aesthetic. As crushed stone comes in a variety of colors and sizes, selecting the right ones for your garden beds might be the right way to go, and if you get one that works for your patio style, you may be happy with it for years to come, making your low-maintenance outdoor retreat even easier to keep in tip-top shape year in and year out.
Plant Lavender Near The Patio
Lavender is about as easy to grow as any plant you are going to find, needing only a weekly watering in areas that get sufficient rain. Not only is lavender a low-maintenance plant, it adds a splash of lovely color where you need it most. When you minimize the plant life in your outdoor areas, the plants that you choose are going to be highlighted more prominently. Lavender is a great choice for planting near large patio areas where you will spend a lot of time, or where you will be entertaining guests, as it is pretty to look at, provides a pleasant aroma, and even functions as a pest repellent. As an added bonus, it comes back year after year, so you don’t have to worry about replacing it every spring to keep your patio looking sharp.
Pick A Nice Selection of Perennials To Plant
Lavender is not your only option when it comes to decorating your low-maintenance outdoor area with plant life. There are a wide range of perennials that will help you fill in the gaps and give your patio a pop of life and vegetation. Perennials come back each year without you having to lift a finger, so once you have made your selections and planted them in place, you won’t have to redecorate for years to come. The yucca plant can fill a large vacant space with lush, green, spiky leaves while adding a southwestern vibe to your outdoor retreat. Hen-and-chick plants are attractive, yet hardy plants that will thrive in adverse and rocky conditions with little to no maintenance needed.
Choose Easy-To-Grow Flowers To Keep Some Color In The Mix
Some flowers are dainty and tough to grow. Do your research and find some flowers that are more hardy and easy to grow, and consider the climate of the area that you’re in. Pick a selection of flowers that bloom at different times of the year so that there is always something in bloom to add a splash of color to your patio area. Choose perennial flowers so that you don’t have to replace them each year. Also, select flowers that tend to bloom throughout a full season so that you have some long-lasting color to bring it all together, such as Black-eyed Susans, which bloom throughout the summer, or Montauk daisies, which produce blooms throughout the fall.
Select Native Grasses Or No Grass At All
Grass is not essential to an outdoor area, but if you are not ready to replace all the grass in your yard with artificial grass, or move to stone walkways and mulch entirely, be sure to choose grasses that are native to your area. Grass that grows naturally in your area will also require less maintenance to thrive. A no grass setup is obviously the best low-maintenance option, so look into artificial grasses or moving towards grass alternatives to truly take the work out of your patio upkeep. If you choose artificial grass, be sure to follow installation instructions carefully and set up a weed barrier so that weeds don’t attempt to grow through your artificial matting.
Use Potted Plants To Bring In The Color
Potted plants are great for many reasons in a low maintenance setup. They are easy to move around, so you can bring them where you need them when you host an event or have some friends over for a barbeque or luncheon. Incorporating potted plants into your patio decor makes the whole design more versatile and low-maintenance without sacrificing color and personality.
Videos About Planning A Low Maintenance Garden
This short video dives into the secrets of soil coverage, a valuable weapon to use when designing a low maintenance garden:
Working with a small budget but have big low maintenance garden dreams? This short film will show you how to get your patio area looking great without breaking the bank:
Looking for more ideas on what exactly to plant to make your garden area require less maintenance? This video spotlights 10 great choices for low maintenance gardens:
Want some plants that require absolutely no maintenance at all? These 10 selections are just what you’re seeking: