The dream of an easy-care garden: With these ideas, tips and tricks for plants, garden design and watering, it becomes reality.
- Garden design: The location as a linchpin
- Rock garden as an example of a low-maintenance garden
- Choosing native plants
- Wildflower meadow instead of lawn
- On the subject of water: Are there low-maintenance irrigation systems?
- Mulch and fleece
- Lay out paths and beds sensibly
The easier the garden is designed to maintain, the more time you have to enjoy it. Rely on plants that fit the conditions of your property exactly. You can find out what you should pay attention to here.
Garden design: The location as a linchpin
Shopping for plants? It’s pure anticipation. Before you stock up on plants in a specialist shop, you should first include the site conditions of your garden in your planning: What is the soil like – rather sandy or loamy? How nutrient-rich is the soil? What are the lighting conditions? Do the plants have a lot or little sun available? And last but not least: What plant expertise do you bring to the table? What does easy care mean for you personally and how much time would you like to invest in gardening in the future?
Once all these questions have been answered, you can start choosing the right plants. These should be optimally adapted to the respective light and ground conditions. Only if the demands of the plants coincide with the possibilities at the later location, an easy-care, lushly flowering and healthy garden can be created.
Tip: Designing a complete garden can quickly be intimidating. Start with a compact and manageable area (e.g. 30 to 40 square meters) and design the rest of the garden gradually.
Rock garden as an example of a low-maintenance garden
Who would have thought it: even sunny and dry gardens with poor soil can be designed to be easy to maintain. Strictly speaking, such areas are even ideal for a rock garden.
Rock gardens (also: alpine gardens) are very versatile and offer simple solutions for difficult garden areas. The result is not only a decorative garden, but also an important habitat for insects and small animals. The typical rock garden plants originally come from mountainous regions and are used to barren substrate, little water and a lot of sun. The selection is surprisingly large and offers a wide range of design options. Fertilizing is not necessary, and there is no need for pruning. Even weeding is often omitted in alpine gardens. Just make sure to keep the areas lean, i.e. nutrient-poor, and use compost with caution.
Choosing native plants
Native plants are ideal for low-maintenance gardens, as they are more robust than exotics from more southern countries. Be sure to look for resilient and vital plants with strong leaf color and well-rooted pot balls. The best way to get these is in small nurseries and nurseries in your area. There they are usually grown by themselves and are therefore well adapted to the local conditions. In addition to plant quality, a site-specific selection naturally plays an important role. Consult a specialist dealer if you are unsure.
Hardy, perennial perennials
If you don’t want to reseed every year or store plants in a winter quarters, perennials will save you a lot of work. These are rooted in the soil in the long term and thus cope better with dry periods than annual summer flowers. Choose a mix of particularly long-flowering perennials (e.g. lady’s mantle, scabiosis, sun bride or yellow coneflower) and perennial perennials such as peonies, forest goat’s beard or daylily. Wild perennials such as bluebells or wood anemones are also suitable for low-maintenance gardens.
It is best to create a perennial bed in spring. It becomes especially attractive if it contains plants that bloom all year round. Therefore, combine early bloomers with summer perennials and autumn perennials.
Ground cover against weeds
Pretty and easy to care for at the same time: With ground cover you can also green heavily rooted areas under trees or shrubs. Plant ground covers, such as carpet forest stoneia, woolly civet or cranesbill, in groups. In this way, you ensure that a dense, green carpet spreads out and fewer weeds can grow.
Easy-care shrubs, hedges and shrubs
Hedge trimming is not one of your favourite jobs? Then you can save yourself a lot of work with flowering wild shrubs and wild berries. At the same time, wild shrubs contribute to more biodiversity among insects and birds. They can also be used as natural privacy screens. In addition, there are some shrubs that prefer to be left alone and require little care, such as bunley viburnum, rhododendron, lilac or witch hazel.
Evergreen shrubs are also a good choice for low-maintenance gardens. Slow-growing small varieties are advantageous here, as they rarely need to be cut. Here, for example, the small shell cypress or the hardy dwarf sickle fir are suitable. Or you can use ornamental trees such as the ornamental cherry, the ornamental quince, the large-flowered magnolia or the ball trumpet tree. Pruning is also no longer necessary for these plants.
Even rose lovers don’t have to do without this fragrant splendour of flowers in low-maintenance gardens. Robust wild roses are undemanding in their choice of location and require less fertilizer and pruning than other types of roses. They are vigorous, usually bloom once or twice and set many fruits in autumn. Some native wild roses, such as field rose, dog rose and vinegar rose, prefer loamy soils. The potato rose also copes well with sandy and crushed stone soils. Some species of wild rose shed the flower stem along with the flower, so that summer pruning is not necessary.
Wildflower meadow instead of lawn
Maintaining a well-groomed lawn means a lot of work: the lawn must be watered, mowed, fertilized and scarified regularly. You save yourself this effort by switching to colorful wildflower meadows or beds. Wild bees and other insects also benefit from this. Depending on the location, there are very different types of meadows (wet and fat meadows, lean or calcareous meadows), and the seed dealer can help you make the right choice. Wildflower meadows only need to be mowed once or twice a year (once in summer, once in autumn). At this point, the seed heads of early bloomers are already mature and can thus grow again the following year.
If you don’t want to do without a lawn completely, you can save yourself the annual edge piercing by neatly bordering paths and beds. This is given, for example, by natural, edge or special mowing edge stones, which prevent weeds from germinating at the edges of the beds and make it easier to mow the lawn.
On the subject of water: Are there low-maintenance irrigation systems?
Even before the actual watering, you can save water and labor. Each plant has a different need for water. If planted in the right location, it will need less water on hot days. In this way, deep-rooted woody plants also benefit from dry locations and, once they have grown, can get water from deeper soil layers. Particularly thirsty plants such as rhododendron need less water if they are planted in semi-shaded locations with water-retaining soils. Also, a layer of mulch retains moisture in the soil longer and saves water. For perennial beds, shrubs and trees, you should use mulch from bark. The mulch layer not only reduces water consumption, but also benefits plant growth.
Among irrigation systems, drip irrigation is particularly water-saving, as the water is directed directly to the roots. So-called pearl or spray hoses also water beds sparingly and effectively. By the way: Plants can get used to a lot or little water. Some even benefit from dry periods, such as perennials – which form deeper roots, grow faster in the soil and become more drought-resistant.
Mulch and fleece
No garden without weeds? It doesn’t have to be that way. With mulch and weed fleece, you can greatly minimize the amount of maintenance required. Mulch directly brings several advantages for your own garden: A mulch layer of compost, grass clippings or rotting leaves suppresses germinating weed seeds, retains moisture longer in the soil and prevents strong temperature fluctuations in the soil. Thus, mulch keeps the roots pleasantly cool in summer and warm in winter. In addition, mulch gradually provides the soil with important nutrients. In winter, mulch can also be applied to soils as winter protection to prevent frozen ground.
When creating new beds, it is worth using a breathable and water-permeable weed fleece, which can be laid out and cut to size on the prepared area. With the help of plastic anchors, the film can be fixed in a non-slip manner.
Lay out paths and beds sensibly
Clever garden planning should not only refer to the individual beds, but also consider the design of the paths and terraces. These can be applied seamlessly and made of easy-care material, thus reducing the use of high-pressure cleaners and the like. Concrete and natural stones are also well suited, as they cannot rot and require little maintenance.