Tim Sprague of Kiama Landscapes & Pools shares expert advice on how to create a low-maintenance garden that looks stunning
To build a low-maintenance garden that will endure hot summers with minimal maintenance, there is much to consider but at the top of the list is the right plant selection. If you really require low maintenance and want a garden that needs as little watering as possible, choosing indigenous plants can be a good idea. Initially, they will need to be nurtured but once the root systems are established, they will thrive. Exotic plants, on the other hand, generally require additional watering and fertilising, so will command more time, attention and resources.
Smart plant selection
When choosing plants, personal preferences and garden style play a role but to ensure you make the most suitable selection you need to look at the soil type and micro-climates in your garden; also the anticipated height, width and root growth of the plants. Depending on a plant’s requirements, it will need to be placed in either a sun or shade position if you want to ensure maximum growth and longevity. Working with a qualified landscaper is a great benefit as they will be able to make knowledgeable recommendations and source the best-quality plants from a reputable supplier.
From the ground up
For best growth, plants require well-prepared, healthy soil with adequate drainage to provide for their particular needs. The soil must have the correct pH level, be well aerated, watered and fertilised before planting. Once the plants are in the ground, appropriate irrigation is essential. You can water plants with a hose but the most efficient way is an irrigation system. This should be installed by a professional and checked every few months to make sure your plants are receiving adequate water.
Irrigation can be placed throughout the garden and divided into zones. For example, sunny areas will require more water than shady areas, as will pots and vegetable gardens. All garden beds should be covered with quality mulch to keep soil moist and weeds at bay.
Built to last
There is no such thing as a no-maintenance garden — they all need a little love and attention. However, a licensed landscaper can minimise maintenance with quality construction, suitable plant selection, automated watering systems and a whole lot more, giving you free time to relax and enjoy your beautiful outdoor space. Of course it’s also the job of a landscaper to create long-lasting gardens that function well, which means getting all of the basics right. For example, an experienced landscaper will ensure paths and stone walls are built on a solid base. Structural integrity creates a garden that stands the test of time, is safe to use and easy to care for.
Tim Sprague, along with Steve Lloyd, is the owner of Kiama Landscapes & Pools servicing Melbourne, Geelong and the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas in Victoria.
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