Many of us lead such busy lives these days that we barely have time to keep a clean home, let alone a garden. Whether you are a single young professional or a couple with a young family, it’s often the backyard and garden spaces that get neglected. There’s a good reason why so many seniors have such amazing, beautiful outdoor spaces. It’s purely down to the fact they have a lot of free time on their hands.
However, it is still possible to achieve garden perfection without having to commit every second of your spare time. And in this guide, we’re going to show you how to get your outdoor space in perfect condition - and keep it that way. Read on to find out our ultimate gardening guidelines for super busy people.
The big clearance
If you’re reading, there’s a good chance that two things are true. First of all, you are a busy person or couple that just does not have time available to spend working, looking after your home, and gardening. Something has to give, right? The second thing is that there is a high probability that your garden, right now, is in a state of disrepair. It’s OK - don’t panic. We’re going to talk you through how to clear things up in the quickest possible way.
Choose a day that you have some time free - weekends are perfect. Ring around friends and family and see if anyone is available to help you out for the day. Team efforts are fun, and you will finish in half the time, minimum. Ask any helpers to bring a few garden tools, and get all yours together so you are ready to tackle the mess. Bear in mind that there is going to be a lot of debris involved, especially if you haven’t touched your garden for a year or so. You will need some heavy duty gardening bags as a bare minimum. You might even have to consider skip hire if there is a lot of mess out there.
OK, so once everyone arrives, it’s time to get started. Remove everything from the ground and either bin it or store it somewhere suitable. There’s be plenty of organic matter and kids toys - maybe even some long lost household items. Start filling those bags up with the organic debris and either put it in a pile for composting or put it to one side to take to your local refuse center.
Next, take a long walk around your garden and check the integrity of your borders. Fences and hedgerows can all suffer damage if left alone for a long time, and will need repairing. Fences are a particular problem. They can be susceptible to rotting, and you might want to consider hiring a fencer to replace weak wood with stronger alternatives. Then it’s time to tackle moss and lichen. It can get everywhere when untended, but it’s easy enough - and fun - to get rid of. A high-powered hose is cheap to hire, and highly effective at moss and lichen removal. Invest in an acid wash for any areas that refuse to budge.
The final step is an important one. Weeds will grow like wildfire in an untended garden, and if you don’t take them out, they will cause you more problems. Look at contact killers first. But if your weeds are widespread throughout the garden, you might want to think about something like Weed B Gon or Ground Clear. The former will kill all weeds without harming your grass. The latter will sterilize the ground entirely - use it, and you will only be able to grow transplanted seedlings rather than seeds.
OK, so now your garden is clear, what are you going to put in there? Well, the good news is that there are plenty of easy maintenance plants, flowers, and veggies that thrive with little attention. Perennial plants are an obvious choice. They are hardy and will last throughout the year, adapting to the temperature and weather changes. When it comes to flowers, Marigolds are an easy plant to start with. They are excellent border plants that grow well and spread fast. Not only that but if you are planning a low-maintenance veggie garden, they are the perfect plant for fending off bugs.
Petunias are another lovely flower that requires little attention. A simple watering during the summer months is all it takes to keep these cute little flowers blooming. You could try Zinnias, too. They come in a wide range of shapes and colors and make beautiful additions to borders. Plus, they reseed themselves every year, so you don’t have to worry about replacing them.
Let’s move onto vegetables, now. You are probably thinking that if you don’t have much time for cutting the grass, where will you find it for growing veggies? Well, it’s possible to produce them without much effort or time at all. You’ll need to do a little prep work, first, of course. The idea is to build a raised bed close to your back door, but with enough exposure to the sun. Next, investigate the ‘no dig’ technique of growing veggies. It’s a simple case of planting your favorite veggies and covering them with mulch. Maintenance is dead easy. All you need to do is check it over every morning and pull out any new weeds, and you should have a nice little crop within a few months. It takes thirty seconds of your time every day - you can even do it on your way to the car before leaving for work.
lt; So if you have all your perennials and hardy plants in place, there’ one last thing to think about. Of course, the real time killers in your garden are weeds and lawn maintenance. It can take a considerable level of input to keep it in excellent condition. You have a few choices, however. If you want a pristine lawn at all times, it’s worth hiring a professional gardener. According to lawn experts Atkins Inc, there is so much to consider, and it is just too time-consuming if you have a large garden space. You'll need to keep track of the weather, learn about local insects, and understand how fungal diseases work, for example. And then there is putting all that theory into practice to keep your lawn in tip-top condition.
Another option is to go for the more rustic, unkempt look. You will still need to mow your lawn, but once every 3-4 weeks rather than weekly. It can add a lot of character, though, and the longer grass can add impact to your borders. What about reducing the size of your lawn, or removing it altogether? A few years ago, the idea of synthetic grass would make a gardener curse. But these days it is a lot more acceptable. You can get artificial grass that allows rainwater to seep through to the soil underneath. It’s also a lot more eco-friendly than it was just a few years ago. And, of course, it needs zero maintenance other than a few regular checks for integrity.
Finally, you can try hardscaping. A large decking area is more suitable for year round use, and can cut out a lot of your mowing woes. Choose the right materials and design and it can be a stunning addition to your garden that links your home with the outdoor world. Consider creating footpaths through your lawn, too. Paving slabs or loose stones can create unusual patterns that need little maintenance. Again, it's a significant cut back on the time you need to spend mowing.
Investments worth the money
If you want to cut the time you spend tidying up your garden, a shed is an absolute must. Make sure it is big enough to store all your tools and other garden equipment. On the subject of garden tools, always go for as much quality as you can afford. If you need to save time in the backyard, excellent tools will get the job done twice as fast. Keep them in good condition, too, and you won’t have to replace them for many years to come.
If you have children, get them in the habit of putting their garden playthings away once they are finished with them. There are some incredible garden storage ideas out there these days, so take a look around and see what you can find.
OK, so that’s all for now. I hope you get something out of these guidelines and that we have shown you how a stunning garden isn’t just a pipe dream for busy people. Sure, you will have to spend a little time in preparation. But it only takes a weekend or two to set you up for the future in a spectacular, easy maintenance garden space.
Do you have any tips to add? We would love to hear from you if you have any experience tending a garden while living a super busy lifestyle. Why not drop us some advice in the comments section below?