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5 Low-Maintenance Garden Ideas

Gardening is a fun hobby, but not if it feels like it’s a second job. Sometimes people get caught up with high-maintenance plants or landscaping without realizing it.

If you’re thinking of starting a garden this year, check out these five low-maintenance garden ideas to grow beautiful plants that don’t require all of your free time.

English garden
English garden

1. Limit the Garden’s Size

Moving into a home with a large yard makes it tempting to cover your lawn with plants. You might have specific ideas about which flower would look best around your porch or how many bushes you’d love to plant along your fence.

Although you could have all the gardening skills needed to keep up with those plants, keeping up with so many will quickly take over your daily routine. Instead, limit your garden to only a handful of plant varieties. You can always add more if you want to give more of your time to your landscaping.

There’s no rush to fill empty yard space, so find a few plants that catch your eye and figure out how much time they require before expanding your roster of flowers, shrubs, or vegetable plants.

2. Choose Plants With Similar Care

Gardening tools and spring flowers in the garden. Gardening concept.
Gardening tools and spring flowers in the garden. Gardening concept.

Some plants need very different types of care to thrive. Others need precisely the same amount of water and sunshine. Your garden won’t grow to its full potential if you plant flowers that need full shade in a sunny spot next to marigolds or zinnias.

While you’re still picking plant varieties, research each type to determine what kind of care they need. Plants that require the same watering schedule, sunshine exposure, or soil nutrient content will thrive without any extra time or effort on your part.

3. Grow Native Plant Species

Plants that do well in cool, dry climates will struggle in regions with consistently hot weather. Instead of watering them twice a week, you might need to water them twice a day. It’s always best to find plants native to your environment, especially when you’re trying to stick with low-maintenance garden ideas.

Native plants don’t need to adapt to where you live, so they require less water and make any garden more sustainable. This is especially important for homeowners in delicate ecosystems, where water conservation and environmental protections are important for the plant and animal species in the area.

Not sure how to start with native landscaping? A local plant nursery can help you pinpoint regional species or provide suggestions to aid your research as you match plants with your property’s shape and soil makeup.

4. Replace Grass With Mulch

Grass is a gorgeous addition to any garden, but it’s also going to compete with your plants for water and nutrients. You’ll have to spend more time fertilizing and watering if grass surrounds the base of your flowers or bushes.

It’s much easier to cover the exposed soil in your garden with wood chips. It will insulate the roots to keep your plants alive during cold snaps or winter weather and prevent the water from evaporating too quickly in the summer.

5. Avoid Climbing Plants

Spring garden
Spring garden

Leafy vines or climbing flowers can add a romantic touch to your garden. You might daydream about helping roses grow over a trellis or along the fence in your backyard. They can be easy to grow, but that doesn’t mean they’re low-maintenance.

Climbing plants steal time away from gardeners because they need pruning so often. They’ll quickly grow over your fence, trellis, or the sides of your home. Many gardeners have to use ladders to cut them away from tree trunks or rooftops. Keep that extra effort in mind while you’re thinking about what you want to plant this year.

Discover Low-Maintenance Garden Ideas

There are many low-maintenance garden ideas for homeowners who want to grow beautiful plants but always have busy schedules. Use these tips to find the best plants for your property and skillset. You’ll create the perfect arrangement for your needs without sacrificing your gardening dreams or free time.


Evelyn Long is a Baltimore-based writer and the editor-in-chief of Renovated. She publishes home decor advice and product roundups for readers in spaces both big and small.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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