How to create a low-maintenance kitchen garden

Ever wanted to have a gorgeous garden full of foliage and beautiful blooms that takes no time at all to maintain? That’s my plan and it’s exactly what I’m blogging about today! Read on to find out some handy tips to create a low-maintenance garden with plants and veg that take no effort to grow…

I had high hopes for my garden this summer. I’d planned to install a patio or decking to make an al fresco dining room. I wanted to level the lawn and create a country cottage garden around my little vintage caravan. And I want to add more storage. Well, we’ve achieved one of those tasks – check out my upcycled shed blog post – but it looks like the rest of the garden makeover will have to wait.

The reason for the delay is because my husband fell down the stairs. The poor fella fractured his elbow and dislocated his shoulder so DIY projects are off the cards for the while. As is any activity that involved two arms, such as bike-riding, tennis or swimming. Sure, I can still do some of the work on the garden myself, but it’s a much longer process when there’s only one of you working on it! Plus, there are some things that i just can’t lift on my own: Pallets? Yes. Fence panels? No!

I made this planter from pallets – check out the step-by-step guide here!

So, instead of thinking about all the thing I haven’t been able to do this year, I’m going to make plans for my future garden instead. That’ll give us a head start when we can crack on with our landscaping projects again in the autumn. The key thing that I want my garden to be is low maintenance, for the obvious reasons that I want it to look good but not take too much of my time to keep it neat!

LOW-MAINTENANCE LAYOUT

I read an article on low maintenance gardens by garden specialists Oeco Garden Rooms and that really clarified how to get the right balance between design, maintenance and effort. It’s not just about removing everything that grow and replacing it with paving and gravel! It’s simple things that can make maintaining your garden easier like putting a veggie patch near to a shed so that you don’t have to carry tools far.

Another idea is keeping higher-maintenance plants closer to the house so that you can keep an eye on them and tend to them as needed. Even something as easy as keeping a water butt near to the veggie patch so that you can water your kitchen garden will be a big help as it takes the effort out of maintaining your patch. It seems obvious now but before I read the article I hadn’t considered how the layout would make garden maintenance so much easier.

LOW-MAINTENANCE PLANTS

I’m notoriously bad at looking after plants. I don’t know why, but I just can’t keep them alive. You should see the potted Christmas tree that I planted in my garden after the festive season. The poor thing looks rather brown now! So I was delighted to read about the list of plants that are supposed to be low maintenance. I can now include flowers such as lavender, hydrangea and crocus in my garden. I already know that buddleia will grow in my garden because some rogue plants have just grown by themselves beside the fence!

One way to keep it a garden looking green and lush all year round is by planting hardy evergreens and, if you have a trellis, blank wall or pergoda climbing ivy will make it look lovely (and cover up any messy areas). According to the article fuchsia, mexican orange blossom and gaillardia are all great choices for adding pops of colour throughout the garden and require very little looking after once established.

LOW-MAINTENANCE FOOD

I also want the space to work as a kitchen garden, because I’ve really enjoyed growing my own fruit and veg in previous years. I learnt from experience that I can give courgettes and pumpkins almost no attention and they’ll still grow so those are high up on my list of low-maintenance veggie patch treats. Beans were pretty good growers too, along with onions and potatoes. Soon I won’t have to go to the supermarket at all!

I also grew a rather successful herb garden a couple of years ago. If I keep potted herbs indoors they tend to wilt when I forget to water them, but my outdoor herb planter went from strength to strength. I’ll definitely be planting sage, chives, rosemary and thyme in my future kitchen garden. They’re not only great for adding flavour to meals, they also create a lovely scent when you’re tending to your garden too.

Have a read of my thrifty plant markers project blog post here

Thanks to Oeco Garden Rooms for collaborating with me on this blog post and for allowing me to share their helpful advice on creating a low-maintenance garden. I hope this post has helped and please leave me a comment if you’ve come across an easy-to-grow plant, flower or vegetable – I’d love to include them in my garden too!

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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