Even though it may be the start of winter here in the northern hemisphere, my friends in the southern hemisphere are just starting their summer, and a dear friend of mine just moved into a gorgeous little home in the country with a beautiful yard. This one is for you Ms. Chickie!
Having a garden that you can’t look after can be heartbreaking. When the garden isn’t maintained, it is unusable. You can’t enjoy your outside spaces. Instead, you’re left looking out of the window dreaming of an opportunity to make the most of that sunshine.
When the garden is a bit beyond our capabilities to keep up, and we can’t stretch the household budget, to a gardener, things can quickly spiral out of control. It only takes a few summer weeks for a garden to look so overgrown and shabby that the neighbors start to complain.
More and more people are looking to low maintenance gardens. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy planting and the scent of your flowers. It is a way for you to have your cake and eat it too. Raised flower beds have been popular for years, but can be back-breaking to install. Once they are in, they are fully accessible by gardeners who don’t want to be on the ground to tend their beds. They are also great for wheelchair or mobility scooter users. Being raised up by a couple of feet, and enclosed by sleepers or brick, planting can’t run wild, and slugs find it more difficult to invade.
Paving and decking can give you mud free outdoor space that is perfect for dining or for kids to play. Railings provide extra support to get around and safety at the edges of raised decking. Surfaces can be in a variety of wood or composite materials, and can easily be maintained. Most importantly, they are slip free and don’t require a lawn mower! You can find suppliers of wood for decking online at sites like Softwoods.
If you do have decking installed, it is easy to use potted planting to add a splash of colour. Be careful where these are placed, and don’t use any that are big and heavy. They need to be moveable. Think about a parasol for your outside dining suite to provide some shade when you need a break.
While a lawn makes a garden, mowing can be soul destroying when it gets physically too tough for you. There are some excellent brands of ‘fake’ grass out there. They may not have the scent of real grass, but they look exactly like the most common species. They are not too expensive these days, particularly if you only want to cover a small area. Artificial grass is particularly popular for families with young children as it can be less hazardous than the real thing.
There are some lightweight and ergonomic gardening tools available now for those suffering from arthritis. Things like trowels, scissors and watering cans are available from good retailers. There are also standard accessories from garden centers that can help, like garden stools and lightweight carts.
When you are designing your low maintenance garden pick planting that looks after itself rather than requiring seasonal tending. Choose a hose set that self-retracts to avoid bending over to pick it up. Hoses can be a trip hazard, particularly for those who are sight impaired.
Enjoy that summer sun my friends while I’m braving the sleet, snow, and frigid temperatures!