Low Maintenance Gardening Guide Low Maintenance Gardening Guide

Imagine if you could reduce the amount of hard work needed to maintain your garden, and at the same time keep it in shape for longer. Imagine being able to have more time to enjoy relaxing in your garden rather than working in it. Well, here's the good news - you can! By following even a few of the ideas presented here, you will be able to do just that.

Design Considerations: When designing your planting layout, try to cut down on areas of open bedding, in particular those areas which you will regularly change (eg: areas for annuals). When planning borders and beds, allow for easy access to all areas of the bed using paths or stepping stones. This will mean you never need to tread on (and compact) the soil. Choose your plants carefully. Make sure that they are suited to the location they will be planted in. Also try to choose varieties that do not need regular attention to do well.

Soil Preparation: Prior to doing any planting, dig the bed area thoroughly (to as great a deapth as possible) and remove all weeds by the roots. Also remove any large stones, rocks or old roots - remember to leave small stones to assist in drainage. If you have a heavy clay based soil, dig in some washed sharp sand and/or small gravel, shingle or stones (up to about 10mm in diameter). Add to this some fresh organic matter or compost. This should help seperate the soil and improve drainage. Feed and enrich the soil before planting out your beds to provide your plants with optimum growing conditions. Use compost, and dig it in thoroughly - make sure you use a compost suitable for the plants you wish to use.

Weed Reduction: Planting ground cover plants between the main 'feature' plants will help keep weeds at bay. This also gives you an added chance to introduce more colour and texture to your garden. Cover any bare soil areas within your beds with a bark or wood chip mulch. This will help prevent weeds from growing, and additionally will feed your soil slowly over time.

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