Monday, February 13, 2017

How to create a low-maintenance garden

 The secret to establishing an outside space that requires very little upkeep is to combine strong design with hardy, low-maintenance plants

Homeowners pay little attention to their gardens when it comes to adding value to a property. But outdoor space is often a deal breaker when it comes to selling property – especially in cities, according to central London agent Plaza Estates.

If a garden is well kept and designed, it could add up to 10% onto a house’s sale price, says Pimlico estate agent Andrew Reeves. But the many homeowners in London do not have the time to maintain their outside space.

If you would like a garden that requires minimal on-going maintenance, the key often lies in allowing nature to take the lead and going with it, rather than trying to fight it.   

It may also be necessary to reconsider what you believe a garden should look like. Many garden designs that require little or no maintenance do not follow the normal grass, borders and bedding plants lay-out.
Here are 5 pieces of advice about maintenance-free garden design...

1. Include a hard, permanent and maintenance-free surface that can be used as an outdoor living space.

2. While deciduous plants can take a lot of work, evergreens largely look after themselves throughout the whole year. Ground-covering perennials and shrub borders are also easy to look after as long as you match them to the type of soil in your area. Think slow-growing, tough and durable plants at all times.

 Some of the most resilient and low-maintenance plants include:  

  • Yucca. The 40-50 species of yucca are noted for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large white flowers. 
  • Hardy fuchsia. Some varieties of this ever-popular plant will eventually grow to large bushes and can even be used for hedging. 

  • Rosemary. This woody perennial herb has a fibrous root system, fragrant evergreen needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple or blue flowers. 

  • Lavender. A member of the mint family, this is an easy to grow, evergreen shrub that produces masses of scented flowers. 

  • Agapanthus. Also known as the African lily, these are summer-flowering perennial plants that are grown for their large blue and purple flowers. Some varieties have white and pink blooms. 
  • Camellia. A relative of the tea plant, early flowering varieties produce peony-shaped blooms with pale yellow centres among deep green leaves. 

  • Hosta. These easy to-grow, shade-loving perennial plants have colourful leaves. 

  • Fern. Like the hosta plant, most ferns are easy to grow and thrive in the shade. 

  • Snowdrop. Surprisingly varied in height, flower size and shape, this hardy plant grows best in partial shade. 

  • Pieris. Native to mountain regions, these evergreen shrubs have leathery, dark green leaves and small white flowers.

3. Replace flower beds with drifts of plants to create a final effect that is as simple as possible, which in turn translates to neatness and ease of maintenance.  

4. One of the most effective low-maintenance additions you can bring to your garden is a water feature. The sight and sound of running water can immediately transform a garden like nothing else, with quality water features largely taking care of themselves.  

5. London-based skip hire specialist Proskips adds it is not necessary to completely dig up your garden. If you have a large outside space, allow a corner or part of it to be taken over by nature and leave it to its own devices. This will significantly benefit wildlife, while at the same time reducing how much of the garden you have to take care of.