How to Create a Low Maintenance Garden

28 October 2021

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Everybody dreams of having a beautiful outdoor space to call their own. But keeping gardens tamed and tidy takes time, with elaborate schemes often demanding more upkeep than many people can afford to offer.

If that sounds familiar, why not try growing a low maintenance garden? It’s an excellent solution if you own a holiday home — especially if you don’t plan to stay year-round. By finding a few clever workarounds, you’ll soon have an entertaining, therapeutic outdoor space that feels like a blessing as opposed to a burden.

Wondering where to start? Let’s find out.

Designing and planning low maintenance gardens

Planning is key to pulling off a successful low maintenance small garden design. It’s important to think about the space available, and how you could use it in the most effective way. At all times, think about whether your plants and materials will keep maintenance to a minimum.

Let’s talk about some of the clever ways you can do this…

Keep plant variety low

All plant species have a distinct set of needs. From watering frequency to light and temperature control, the more varieties you have, the more you’ll have to worry about. Therefore, by focussing only on a handful of plant species, you’ll keep maintenance to a minimum.

Plants like daffodils and anemone look beautiful in great numbers and will largely look after themselves, coming back each spring. Meanwhile, shrub plants like magic carpet (spirea) and ribbon grass are excellent space fillers that do well in both sun or shade.

Opt for hard landscaping
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A general rule for gardening is the softer the landscaping, the more work is required. Naturally, lawns look the part, but they’ll need regular cutting and weeding to stay at their best.

Timber decking is an excellent idea as it’s reasonably hard-wearing and may only need cleaning each spring. Likewise, gravel and large flagstone paving typically sit pretty for a couple of years without needing attention.

Looking for a low maintenance landscaping option that’s a little softer? You could try artificial grass. This is a great solution for small or shady spaces where keeping natural grass is too much of a challenge. There’ll be no cutting required or weeds to kill, and many of the latest artificial grass products really do look fantastic. The only downside is that you may miss the feel and comfort of sitting on real grass, which is practically impossible to recreate.

Top-dress flower beds

Any green-fingered gardener will tell you that controlling weeds is the most challenging part of maintaining flower beds. But it needn’t be. By spreading a top layer of gravel, wood chippings or slate around any exposed soil, you minimise any travelling weeds from settling in among your finest floral displays.

Install permanent garden edging solutions

Boundaries between stone, gravel, grass, or soil are where low-maintenance gardens can quickly come apart. Hand-edging plants, weeds and grasses are often labour intensive, so look at garden products like interlocking timber, steel divides, or raised planters for your flower beds. These should help keep a crisp, clean line finish all year round.

Go wild
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Wildflowers are all the rage. Not only do their kaleidoscopic colours look the part, but they’re excellent for supporting wildlife like bees and insects. If you can let go of the idea of having a perfectly preened garden, you could always hand over part of your space and let nature run its course. Before long, plants like honeysuckle, water avens and corn chamomile make themselves at home, with next to no maintenance required.

What are some low maintenance plants?
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Picking the right flowers is key to achieving a good-looking garden that requires minimal tending throughout the year. Among the most popular plants for a low maintenance garden are:

  • Peonies – resistant to drought and pests, these long-lasting plants stay in bloom for long periods.
  • Shasta Daisies – perfect for borders, these perennial plants still look their best as late as autumn.
  • Coneflower – known for attracting bees, these come in lots of colourful varieties.
  • Hibiscus – while these plants die in winter, they should come back stronger in summer.
  • Hosta – ideal for small gardens, this plant thrives in areas with little light.
  • Iris Reticulata – wonderful for adding a splash of colour, this hardy plant blooms in beautiful blues for much of the year.
  • Succulents – popular as an indoor plant, succulents perform just as well outdoors and require almost no watering or tending.

If you’re willing to put in a little more work, you could opt for some spectacular exotic plants, including:

  • Cistus.
  • Sedums.
  • Pittosporum tobira.
  • Sea campion.
  • Mallow.

Finishing touches for easy maintenance garden ideas
Design complete? Plants settled? It’s time to make your low maintenance garden feel like home. Here are a few ideas that will add an extra sparkle to your space:

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Plenty of outdoor lighting solutions are available today, but standalone solar lights should prove the most fuss-free. Solar-powered lights require no wiring, charging, or switching on and can be fixed to walls, floors or staked into the soil.


No garden feels like a part of the home until you’ve somewhere to sit and enjoy it. To keep maintenance to a minimum, you should opt for garden furniture made of materials that won’t need much upkeep. Plastics are typically hard-wearing and easily wiped down, while wood looks more premium but may need treating each spring. If you’ve got your heart set on some soft furnishings, remember to buy cushions and covers that are easy to bring inside once the elements turn.


Artwork is a wonderful way to personalise your outdoor space. Find products like steel sculptures, outdoor mirrors, and animal figurines for something that adds individuality to your maintenance-free garden. Just remember to focus on materials and consider how well they hold up throughout the seasons.

Find your new home

We’re lovers of the great outdoors at Willerby. That’s why you’ll find our bespoke park homes and lodges at much-loved locations right across the UK. Try out our find a park tool today, and look forward to settling into your new scenic sanctuary.