19 May Need more time? Read these tips to cut down on gardening chores
Practical ideas for how to cut down on gardening chores and start enjoying your outdoor space more.
If I had *ten pounds for every time a client asked me to create a low maintenance garden, I’d probably be able to give up landscaping and retire to a tropical island. *It used to be one pound – but the amount has risen with inflation. Even the keenest of gardeners has some gardening chores that really get them down. So here are my tips on how to cut down on gardening chores and buy yourself some time to do the things you enjoy most.
Well thought out garden design can make gardening chores easier – sometimes even pleasurable.
This garden only needs an occasional tickle with a hoe to loosen any weeds and an quick sweep with a broom from time to time.
Possibly the biggest consumer of time in the garden (at least in the spring and summer months) is lawn care. All of that mowing, scarifying, weeding and feeding really does take a big chunk of time out of your week. So here some ideas to help make lawn care quicker for you.
- Invest in a robot mower. Seriously, provided that your lawn is nice and level, they really are fabulous at keeping the grass looking good.
- Install lawn edging at the cutting height of your mower – it will save you having to trim the edges and make sure your grass always looks manicured.
- Design and build a garden without a lawn (read our blog on gardens without grass)
- Invite a lawn care company to scarify, aerate and feed your lawn in spring – this is more cost effective than you might imagine and the renovations will make other lawn care chores less onerous
- Swap your highly manicured lawn for a species rich lawn – it only needs mowing once or twice a month and still gives you a wonderful green space to play on.
- Consider a professionally installed artificial grass lawn – it should last for at least 20 years and will release you from gardening chores such as edging, mowing, feeding and watering. (It will need regular cleaning and brushing though). Find out about artificial grass installation.
Planting and Pruning
If you don’t feel confident looking after plants, or if you find that it’s one of those gardening chores that takes up too much of your valuable time, don’t panic. There are lots of solutions that don’t involve ripping all the plants out of your garden and concreting it over instead. Here are just a few of them.
- Choose long lived perennial or evergreen plants – you won’t need to replace them every year in the same way you would annual plants. Perennials can be used in hanging baskets, window boxes and planters too – they’re not just for your borders.
- Source plant species that will thrive in your garden conditions and more or less look after themselves.
- When buying plants, read the labels carefully to find out how big they are going to grow. Space them out accordingly and that way you won’t need to keep trimming them back to fit their spot.
- If you hate deadheading – choose plants that offer lots of interest without producing flowers. Or think about species that will give you interesting seedheads that you won’t want to chop down. Ornamental grasses, sedums, poppies, alliums, sea hollies, heucheras are but a few options.
- Is the problem really the planting and pruning? Or is it that you find it difficult to bend, kneel or reach to do the work? Raised beds and planters will bring the garden up to a more comfortable level for you to work at.
- Ask a garden designer to create a planting plan for you – something that will suit your lifestyle, your taste and the conditions in your garden.
- Download the audible app, invest in some headphones and listen to a book or podcast while you are watering. It will feel more like entertainment than gardening chores.
- Use a sprinkler with a timer to water your lawn or your vegetable plot.
- For young trees, a watering bag is a fantastic investment. You only need to fill it up once a fortnight or so.
- Install an irrigation system. This porous pipe system is easy to use and can be coupled with a timer – great for watering beds, borders, greenhouses and planters while you are on holiday.
- Add plenty of organic matter to your soil and mulch it well so that it will retain water and need less input from yourself.
- Choose drought tolerant plants if possible
- A dipping pond makes it quicker to fill your watering can – they are beautiful garden features too.
If you can’t avoid gardening chores – at least find a way to make them more fun.
Ahhhhh weeding. One of everybody’s least favourite gardening chores. But it needn’t be a faff. I have only one word about reducing the amount of weeding in any garden. Mulch. It doesn’t matter if you use wood clippings or decorative aggregates, mulch will drastically cut down the amount of weeding you ever need to do.
If you are creating a new planting bed. Prepare the soil well. Get rid of every single last scrap of vegetation before you start planting and take special care to remove the roots of persistent weeds like bindweed, nettles, dandelions and/or ground elder.
If your garden has a very heavy weed infestation, weed control membranes are a useful tool – but they do contain plastic so please only use them as a last resort. A useful alternative is newspaper or cardboard. Put a thick layer on top of the soil, cut holes in it to plant through it, and then hide it with a thick layer of mulch.
Again – if mobility issues make weeding even more onerous for you, planters and raised beds will mean less bending to remove unwanted plants. I often find myself plucking out a weed or two and picking off the dead heads of flowers every time I pass my planters. That way, I never seem to need a longwinded weeding session.
Caring for timber structures
Painting preservatives onto fencing and decking is one of those gardening chores that you don’t need to do very often, but when you do, it takes a lot of thought, preparation and time.
How about swapping from natural timber to composite materials. They look good, are very durable and other than a quick wash down from time to time, don’t need any maintenance. Composite decking and fencing doesn’t rot either. So once it’s installed, you’ll never have to replace it.
Composite decking boards were used for this project in Great Bentley because the site is quite wet at times and timber boards would need lots of preservatives to stop them rotting.
Read the full case study here
Patio and driveway cleaning
There will always be dead leaves and dust blowing onto your patio and driveway – that’s nature. But cleaning shouldn’t be a chore. Properly installed hard landscaping features like brick weave or paving slabs, are really easy to clean with a leaf blower. If you don’t let debris accumulate, you’ll find that cleaning is a doddle.
Weeds and moss growing between the pavers? Ask a landscaper for advice. It may be possible to dig out the failing jointing compound and replace it with something more robust so that the weeds don’t come back. Usually though, its more cost-effective (and attractive) to have your patio professionally re-laid using materials that are easier to maintain.
De-cluttering and tidying
Do you ever look at out your garden and think “I don’t know where to start”? And then do you shut the door and pretend you haven’t got a garden?
No wonder you don’t fancy doing gardening chores….they’re too overwhelming.
Why not invite a landscaper to quote you for a garden refresh service. It’s something that we at Holland Landscapes have been doing for some time, and it’s really satisfying. We’ll de-clutter and take away all of the rubbish you no longer want. Then, the hard landscaping gets smartened up with a good clean using specialised stone cleaners if necessary.
Your lawn can be edged, mown and neatened up – or, we can take it up and re-turf it for an instant improvement.
Beds and borders can be weeded, pruned, replanted and mulched. And hey presto! Your garden will feel a lot more manageable.
If you need your outdoor spaces altered to eliminate or reduce gardening chores, give us a call today. We can offer advice and give you a quote for the work. Go-on – make life easier for yourself.