Ask The Expert
I’m looking forward to the sunnier summer days but I don’t want to spend all my time tackling the garden. Can you please help me with some ideas for a garden that needs less maintenance yet still looks great and is a pleasant, green place to relax in the summer?
With summer just around the corner, it seems everyone is eagerly anticipating the warmer days and lighter nights. Here at Greenbelt, we believe a beautiful garden needn’t be a chore. No garden is ever going to be zero maintenance, but with a little bit of thought, you can make the most of your garden this summer – without exhausting yourself in the process.
First of all, it’s vital to look at the space you have, and the composition of the garden. Is it mostly grass, trees, flowers or shrubs? If you are blessed with a large lawn space, then perhaps think about relaxing a little when it comes to cutting and weeding the grass. A bowling-green perfect lawn is one that requires considerable and frequent attention, from watering to weeding to fertilising. Let the grass grown under your feet, and enjoy the daisies that will spring up. Spreading ground cover plants such as low growing sedums, campanulas and nepeta is also a great solution to covering those weeds.
Another crucial element to a low-maintenance garden is a sympathetic understanding with regard the specific needs of different plants. In sunny areas, you should only plant sun-loving plants, such as sunflowers, which will naturally flourish there. The same goes for shady spots.
Bulbs are also a great option and require minimal effort – they reliably come up year after year without much forced encouragement.
And aside from your standard bulb varieties, you may even wish to consider introducing wildflowers to your garden. Not only will you create a beautiful, quintessentially British country garden, but using native wildflowers will help to save and sustain British flora and fauna.
You might even be lucky enough to attract native British wildlife back in to your garden. Ideal low-hassle ones to try include Cowslip, Red Campion, Sorrel and Ox-eye Daisy.
In a smaller garden, three or four well chosen small shrubs will provide colour all year round, and need little in the way of attention. Limiting the number of species means limiting the labour. Ideal shrubs for this include Forsythia in Spring and Hebes in Summer. Herbacious perennials are ideal accompaniments to these too, also requiring minimal care and attention.
Hardy evergreens should also be an essential part of every British garden, particularly given their ability to withstand the changeable summer weather! Ideal candidates include the multi-purpose lavender – attractive, fragrant and medicinal – and Camellia, which boasts beautiful blooms.
A few easy-to-grow salad veggies can also make a huge impact on a garden, and leaves such as rocket, chives and chard will quite happily grow virtually unattended. To brighten up their growing quarters, why not consider using discarded ceramic sinks or even old guttering?
And, of course, it would be selfish to limit the enjoyment of your garden to humans alone, so why not make it a haven for wildlife too. At Greenbelt, sustainability is key. Buddleias are ideal for attracting butterflies and fox-gloves are prime bee territory.
A well-placed honeysuckle bush will provide enough nectar for bees in the summer months – as well as a lovely scent.
So with the smells, sights, tastes and sounds of a low-maintenance summer garden within easy reach, finally, why not invest in a hammock, lie back and enjoy!
Charlotte at Greenbelt