Picture the perfect garden, and there’s a good chance it will involve a perfect lawn, tended flower beds and some interesting water features. In reality though, most of us are grappling with a garden that looks more like a scene from a disaster movie. Although it’s unlikely that there really is a crashed plane in the flowerbeds, you can’t help thinking it’s doubtful you would have even noticed, so seldom do you manage to do any actual gardening.
So how can you create a perfect garden, with only the minimum of work?
Create a Central Feature
This can be anything that draws the eye to a focus point, and the rest of the garden can be planned around it. Try a raised flower bed built out of stone, and plant with easy care perennials such as hostas, or peonies. These will flower every year with the minimum of maintenance. Alternatively, positioning an urn, statue, water feature or pagoda will also create interest, and can help you plan a theme for the garden.
Box is a very easy to care for evergreen, and can be used in a variety of ways to create classical and formal features in the garden. Try planting box in attractive pots to position around a patio or decking area, or use box to design low level formal looking hedging, to contain other plants.
Laying a path or walkway is a very easy way of creating visual interest within a garden. The effect is to produce definition within a garden by making a clear division between soft planted areas or lawn, and draw our attention to other features by literally leading us there. A path can be edged with low maintenance lavender, for a romantic effect, or simply edged with lawn for a crisp and clean design. A path can be made from gravel, paving stone, brick, cobbles or even wood bark, but remember that weeds will sprout through any gaps and will need attention!
Artificial grass has moved a long way from the lurid plasticky stuff once used by greengrocers, and is now being embraced even by garden designers. Realistic and natural looking, artificial turf can now barely be distinguished from the real thing. As the lawn is one of the most time consuming garden tasks of all, installing artificial grass will seriously cut down time spent on mowing, watering and looking after a lawn. Even better, it lasts for over five years, and will remain spruce looking despite heavy foot traffic, children and animals. It can be easily laid yourself or by an artificial grass company, and come in a variety of different piles for uses and effects.
Weeds are the enemy of the time pressed gardener! Keep them down by covering areas of bare soil around plants with a mulch of wood chippings or landscape fabric. A mulch will also preserve any moisture in the soil, and so cut down the need for watering.