Sitting in a beautiful garden is very relaxing – but the maintenance required can be a problem. Make the changes suggested below to save time and labour and, if planning a new garden, keep these points in mind.



LAWNS – Cut down on mowing by reducing the size. Some lawn areas could become spaces topped by bark, slate chippings or other attractive materials. Landscape fabric laid beneath will stop weeds from growing through. Specimen plants can be planted in these areas by cutting crosses in the fabric or pots can be placed there. Lawn edge trimming can be eradicated by siting lawns next to paving laid just below lawn level. Small paving laid around the lawn edge (called a ‘mowing stone’) does the same job.





FLOWER BEDS – Place plants close together to suppress weeds. Fabric can be laid here, also. If the border is well stocked cover it by laying overlapping pieces round the plants. Bark looks good here. Plant low growing evergreens which either do not flower or which leave small dead heads that do not need removing. Good choices are dwarf Hebes and Pieris, miniature and small ground cover roses, rock plants, dwarf Azalias, small ornamental grasses and slow growing spreading conifers (beware – some spread too much!). Save time on pruning by doing two sessions a year. In July prune all shrubs which have already flowered. In winter, prune all shrubs which flowered later.



SHRUBS AND TREES – If autumn leaves are a problem, prune trees back (but check that none have a Preservation Order). Leaf vacs are marvellous. Think carefully about planting new trees. Many taller shrubs reach near tree proportions and can be kept manageable by pruning. The smaller you keep shrubs, the less pruning will be needed. If height is needed in your garden arches and pergolas can be used. Consider climbers for these and fences (strictly non-rampant ones!) When buying shrubs read nursery labels to see ’10 year height’ and ‘ultimate height’ predictions.  If overgrown shrubs have no sentimental value, they can be cut down to ground level. If they re-grow you can then prune them easily. If not, plant new, slower growing shrubs nearby.


Garden tools can save time and effort. The Wolf ‘Push/Pull’ hoe cuts weeds with both actions. A hand held rechargeable trimmer quickly trims hedges and cuts down clumps of old flower stalks and bulb foliage. Glyphosate weed sprays save time if applied to beds to kill small weeds before they grow. If you have large weeds you can pull them out by hand, then spray the smaller ones beneath.

Enjoy your extra time sitting in the garden.

Happy Gardening! from Diane Clay at Picturebook Gardens

01234 352967 – geoff.diane@yahoo.co.uk

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