High-Maintenance vs. Low-Maintenance Gardens
The plants you choose and the way that they are used have an impact on the time you will need to spend caring for them. If you want an easy-care garden, opt for robust, hardy plants that perform year after year and require little maintenance.
If you enjoy being outside and tending your garden, you can choose from a wide range of planting designs and garden styles. Include a lawn if you don’t mind mowing, and try tender plants that require tending in a warm greenhouse or room indoors over the winter. Ambitious gardeners can also sow annuals each year in beds and containers, and plant tender summer bulbs, such as dahlias and gladioli, which need lifting and bringing indoors in the fall. Trees with flowers that require frost protection, such as magnolias, are also options if you are happy to cover them with fabric when temperatures dip.
Moderate Care Gardens
Those who enjoy gardening but only have limited time can still maintain a lawn and perhaps a few large container displays, as well as trees, shrubs and perennials in beds and borders. Any plant in a pot needs more nurturing than one in the ground, where it has access to greater reserves of nutrients and water, but large containers require watering less frequently because they hold greater volumes of soil. You could also plant climbers like clematis that only need to be pruned annually, and some hardy bulbs, which are left in place in the winter.
Small trees and hardy shrubs make life easy for gardeners. Most require very little maintenance if planted in the right conditions. Shrubs may need trimming back every couple of years, while trees shouldn’t require much pruning, except to remove dead or diseased stems. Hardy perennials are also easy; just cut back the dead growth in the fall or early spring. High-maintenance gardens filled with annuals, tender summer bulbs and lawns require constant care in the growing season.