The garden can be a fantastic place to relax and unwind, but unfortunately, it can also be a source of great stress. Cutting the grass, pulling up weeds, restaining the deck…these are all things that need to be done regularly if you want your outdoor space to look its best, and staying on top of it all can be positively exhausting!
That being said, there are several steps you can take to minimise garden-related stress and dramatically shorten your to-do list. Here are a few suggestions from low-maintenance decking specialists DeckPlus…
The more things you put in your outdoor space, the more work you’re making for yourself. Strip your outdoor design back to basics and try something a bit more minimal—not only will this reduce your workload, it will also look very striking if you do it right!
Here are a few suggestions to get your inspiration flowing:
- Don’t overload on garden furniture – pick one or two particularly lovely pieces that will stand out.
- Try not to combine too many different materials. Stick with just one or two to keep things uncomplicated and give your garden design a consistent style.
- Don’t be afraid of space! It’s easier to relax in a garden that’s nice and uncluttered.
Swap your lawn for artificial grass…
Walking barefoot on a lawn in the summertime is one of life’s simplest pleasures, but taking care of a lawn is neither simple nor a pleasure. You have to mow it frequently, aerate it on occasion, keep an eye out for weeds and pests…what a chore!
So why not get rid of your garden turf and swap it for artificial grass? A fake lawn has many advantages over the real thing—never again will you have to drag the lawn mower out of the shed or spend an afternoon yanking weeds out of the soil!
Artificial grass is an especially good investment if you regularly leave your property unoccupied for long periods. A real lawn can get out of control when left to its own devices, but a fake one will look just as good when you get back as it did when you departed!
…or pave over it…
Replacing your lawn with a paved area is another great way to minimise your garden’s maintenance requirements. Porcelain paving is an especially savvy choice because unlike stone, porcelain has very low porosity and thus doesn’t have to be sealed to prevent staining.
Installing paving in your garden is also a great way to exercise your creativity. Why not personalise your patio by laying your pavers in an eye-catching pattern, or even by combining two different colours to create a striking contrast?
…or let it grow wild!
Alternatively, many people are now choosing to let nature claim their lawns. This is particularly recommended if you pride yourself on being eco-conscious because all those daisies, dandelions and other wildflowers you’re no longer pulling up will attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Turning your lawn into a wildflower patch can add a lot of extra colour to your outdoor space, and you can feel good about it because you’re doing your bit for the environment. Insect populations are in decline right now, and if this continues, it could have dire ramifications for all forms of life on this planet. So creating a miniature insect habitat in your back garden—one with plenty of flowers for small creatures to enjoy—is a very green choice!
Oh, and speaking of flowers…
Plant flowers that don’t require too much attention
Plants are the lifeblood of many an outdoor living space, but certain species require a lot of care and attention to flourish. But if you can’t be bothered with all that, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are also plenty of pretty flowers that are happy to do their own thing without demanding too much work from you.
Try the following for starters:
- Lavender is an evergreen shrub with attractive purple flowers. You’ll need to water your lavender regularly during its first summer, but from then on, the plant should be fairly drought resistant. Once it’s established, your lavender will only need watering during extremely dry periods.
- Bergenia is another evergreen option. They can grow even in low-quality soil, and they aren’t too fussy about where you put them—they can get by whether they’re fully exposed to the sunshine or partially in the shade.
- Star jasmine (Trachelospermum) can be recognised by its sweet-smelling white flowers. It likes mild weather and can grow in soils ranging from slightly acidic to solidly alkaline.
Switch to capped composite decking
Traditional timber decking requires quite a bit of maintenance. Composite decking boards, on the other hand, generally need very little attention and will last for years with little more than an occasional clean.
Many composite decking suppliers now offer ‘capped’ deck boards, which are protected by a sort of moisture-resistant sleeve. These capped boards can be wiped clean, making them a superb choice for those who prefer a low-maintenance lifestyle. And they never have to be treated!
That said, as with any product, it’s important to shop around and make sure you’re buying high-quality decking. Paying a little bit extra upfront may save you an awful lot of stress further down the line—cheap deck boards may seem like a good bargain at first, but you probably won’t feel that way when they start falling apart and you have to repair or replace them!
Spending time outdoors should be a purely pleasurable pastime. If your garden is giving you more grief than good times, think about what you can do to change that—the tips above are just examples.
And perhaps you’re thinking, ‘yikes—I can’t be bothered installing new deck boards and putting down artificial turf and all the rest of it’. But while these suggestions may sound a lot like hard work, putting in a little bit of extra effort now can save you an enormous amount of time in the future. Your garden is for enjoying, not for worrying about, and anything that tips that balance has got to be worth your while!