When you’re lucky enough to have a big garden bursting with plants and flowers, it can be hard to keep on top of it all. With our modern busy lives, it can be hard to keep on top of all the weeding, mowing, watering and planting.
So, how do you maintain your garden when you’re short on time? Here’s some time-saving tricks to help you stay on top of the gardening.
Hire a gardener
OK, so this sounds a little bit like cheating, but there’s a good reason to consider this option. Even if it’s just for a few hours a month to tackle the bigger jobs whilst you do the easier ones, it’s going to save you valuable time.
Check what services local gardeners in your area offer and have a think about which jobs you struggle to get done. It may be just a bit of lawn cutting and hedge trimming you need help with, or perhaps help for part of the year when plants are growing quickly.
Do a few minutes each day
When you don’t have hours and hours to spend in the garden weeding and pruning, you need a different plan of attack. By doing a small task each day, you’ll find it easier to keep on top of the whole garden.
For example, why not do a quick sweep of the garden for weeds? It’s quicker to pull them up with your hands while they’re small, than spending lots of hours digging once the weeds have taken over.
Invest in the right tools
If you’re doing all the gardening yourself, then it’s worth investing in the right tools to get those time-consuming tasks done quicker. Make sure you’ve got the basics, like a wheelbarrow or handcart, and a good quality shovel and hoe, so you’re not struggling with carrying rubbish or trying to garden with small hand tools. To save even more time, upgrade shears for electric hedge trimmers, or go all out with equipment like garden mulchers and ride-on mowers.
With equipment such as strimmers and lawn mowers, book them in for servicing to keep them in good condition. That way they’re always ready to use and less likely to break when you’re half-way through a job.
Add more low maintenance elements
Adding mulch to the beds and borders will help keep weeds down, so you won’t need to spend so much time on this arduous task. Add gravelled or paved areas, such as winding paths or seating areas. This will decrease the amount of greenery you need to look after, without making your garden look like a concrete jungle.
Over time, change your planting to hardy and low maintenance species. Go for shrubs instead of bedding plants for example. Improving the irrigation throughout your garden will help lower the time spent watering. Equally, making sure your drainage is working properly will help your plants stay healthy without requiring too much attention.
Water more efficiently
Watering gardens, especially in dryer, warmer climates, can be quite hard to keep on top of. Although there’s no way to completely cut out your garden’s need for water, there are ways to water it more efficiently.
Avoid watering during the daytime when the sun is at its hottest, as some of your effort will simply evaporate in the heat. Water during the mornings or in the evening. You could change your watering pattern further and only water every few days instead of daily. You will need to make sure you’ve thoroughly watered the garden though, getting water to the plants’ root systems.
And if you really want to cut down on time watering the garden, you could go for the high-tech option and install an automatic irrigation system.
Make a wildlife garden
Adding a wildlife area, not only brings more nature into the garden but can also be much less time-consuming to look after. Having just one section of the garden that you don’t need to be so fussy about weeding and deadheading will save you time. And with a bit of luck, it will attract some natural pest control to your garden too.
Creating a wildlife area can be really simple, with plants just being allowed to grow more naturally. Allowing flowers to go to seed, rather than deadheading, creates a food-source for birds. Similarly, allowing leaves and dead wood to accumulate provides a great habitat for beetles and other insects. In turn, these creatures will help improve your soil quality without you having to dig over or improve with feeds or compost.
Improve the hardiness of your lawn
Are you finding your lawn is taking a lot of maintenance, with mowing, feeding, watering and reseeding bare patches? Perhaps it’s time to make the switch to growing a hardy grass seed mix or an eco-turf.
You can now buy fescue grass-seed mixes that require less frequent mowing and are far more tolerant to drought. Making the switch will require a bit of time and effort, but in the long term you’ll find there’s much less work involved in keeping a lovely deep-green lawn.
Get the family involved
If you live in a large family household, then why not get everyone involved with the gardening? The more pairs of hands you have working on it, the better.
Even young children can carry out small gardening tasks and it’s a great way for them to connect with the outdoors. Assign simple weekly tasks to the children and hand out gold stars for each job that’s completed.
Let the kids have their own vegetable patch, so they can see how their food grows and have a sense of pride in producing something themselves. Stick to things that are fairly simple to grow such as salad leaves, herbs, sugar snap peas, beans and squashes.
I hope you’ve found these time-saving tricks helpful. Now you can stay on top of your gardening jobs and enjoy the result!