When creating a garden from scratch, clear the soil from all weeds. The best way to do this is to dig the soil well in all planting areas, apply weed killer and trench in mulch. This pays off in the long run as you will not have to spend vast amounts of time weeding.
Decide on where you want your beds and mark them out. Perfect for low maintenance garden are a brick on edge design or border made with cobbles or even railway sleepers which define planting areas. This gives the garden formality and neatness.
Have all your hard landscaping carried out such as pathways, terraced areas, pool area, barbecue area and water areas.
MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR SPACE
When designing a garden on a narrow plot, one can create the illusion of a wider area by installing features and planting in lines which will lead down the garden away from the eye. Create areas on interest like an urn, gravel area, flag stone area with containers, a circular rose garden. Once all the hard landscaping has been completed, concentrate on the planting areas.
Grasses and ground covers are your principal choice for covering large areas quickly. Ground cover plants are a must, they spread out like a carpet, cover the soil, strangle weeds and provide areas of greenery and colour in the garden.
When planting make a generous sized hole for each plant and put compost in each hole. Plant at fairly close intervals of 30 to 50 cm. apart. Knitting will be rapid and areas will be weed free. Select a variety from your local nursery, experiment with colours and different shades of greens and greys.
Make sure the ground is level, use a tough, hard wearing turf that can take traffic and which will remain green throughout the season.
If possible, select large sized plants, the initial cost will be more, but you will have an instant garden effect. A low maintenance garden has fewer plants than a busy garden. Select with care. You need maximum value in terms of form and colour. Ask for advice on plants which require the least pruning and clipping. A high percentage of evergreens will provide interest in winter and will take up less time as you will not have masses of falling leaves to clear up.
Arrange plants so as to have always something of interest in the garden at different times of the year. Heather of cuffia borders can be cut into hedges. They provide colour and are relatively maintenance free. Place trees and shrubs, then choose under planting in the form of low growing plants and ground covers.
Acacia, Acer, Albizia, Betula, Pendula, Cypress, Oleander, Gingo Biloba or European Birch.
Shrubs, Camellia, Erica, Euonymus, Fuchsia, Magellania, Griselina, Hebe, Hibiscus, Hypericum, Lavendula, Nandina, Pittosporum and viburnum.
Ideal for covering walls or on pergolas. There is no easier or cheaper way of providing mass colour and interesting foliage to a low maintenance garden. Bignonia, clematis, jasmine, plumbago and wisteria.
Plant in small areas, remember this is a low maintenance garden. Agapanthus, Anemone, Arabis, Asters, Dianthus, Geraniums, Impatients, Primulas, Salvia, New Zealand Flax and Veronica.
Not for a low maintenance garden you may say, but they are great for introducing colour at certain times of the year and to create pockets of colour. Dianthus, Viola, Calendula, anchusa, phlox and marigolds.