Gardening is a distinct joy for a great many of us in the UK, being something of a national pastime for everyone from retirees to young folk increasingly interested in horticulture and allotments. But this nationwide fervour for green-fingered activities doesn’t quite describe everybody – and, indeed, some of us are positively allergic to the practice of spending a weekend elbow-deep in flowerbeds.
Not enjoying gardening is no reason not to have a garden to enjoy, though. The trick is to create a garden that doesn’t require constant attention, and which can be appreciated without that niggling thought that something may need doing with it. How can you achieve such a dream, though?
Ditch the Lawn
Firstly, a perhaps bold suggestion relating to the grass that likely describes most of your garden space: get rid of it. Lawn space, even if relatively low-maintenance by gardeners’ standards, still requires a great deal of engagement to keep neat, tidy and aesthetically pleasing.
Of course, getting rid of your grass shouldn’t mean replacing it with those ghastly artificial lawns – which present a number of ecological and ethical issues in and of themselves. A low-maintenance and eco-friendly route would be to replace your lawn with naturally-occurring wildflowers.
Enjoying your new wildflower lawn from all angles need not require regular bouts of scything through undergrowth, either. Setting out some permanent paved pathways between your back door and the foot of your garden is an easy way to allow all-times access to every part of your garden, while simultaneously removing potential space for unwanted growth.
You may need to do an annual weed-killing trip up and down each path to prevent pernicious growth through cracks in the mortar, but this is a small price to pay for low-maintenance access to all your garden.
Taking this to its logical conclusion, you can render even larger swathes of your front garden low-maintenance through the judicious use of gravel. A gravel driveway is easy and cheap enough to install, safe for vehicle parking in all weather conditions, and capable of staving off most unwanted weeds too. Laying down some semi-permeable membrane before pouring your gravel allows water to escape while preventing growth, minimising your workload significantly.
Finally, then, we come to the social part of your garden: the patio. Most patios are relatively low-maintenance in design, but some can require a little more work than others to keep pristine – particularly posh stonework patios, where moss and lichen can be difficult to control.
An easier and lower-maintenance option presents in the form of decking, which can be inexpensive and very easy to clean as well. An occasional scrub or even a power-wash will keep it pristine enough for you to entertain on, and if it gets a little grubby in poor weather there is little work involved in getting back to a useable state.