Low Maintenance Garden Design For A Handy-Dandy Outdoor Area

Many people would like to adopt low-maintenance gardening due to circumstances or choices. In most cases, they lack time to spend weekly gardening and managing a time-consuming outdoor area.

However, not having enough time does not suggest you can’t have lovely garden beds and borders brimming with colour and appeal. No garden is zero maintenance, though most green exercises have a lower input answer or option to consider. With careful planning and design, enjoying the garden with many plants and perennials all year round is still possible, but with minor upkeep needed.

Working On Your Low Maintenance Garden Designs

  1. Take some time to plan your garden – what you’ll be building or planting, and how it will all come together. Explore your area to locate what sites receive the most sun and water, so you can arrange for what variety of plants you need. And measure up your property. Get some drawings down on paper with the correct measurements.
  2. Decide on a budget for the entire project; estimate what you can afford to spend on your outdoor area. The whole design process is centred around that budget, so having the numbers right is a necessary effort.
  3. Prioritize those dislikes and focus on the likes. What aspect of gardening do you despise the most – the new garden design has to guarantee you won’t be performing them. If the garden activity you must do is something you couldn’t care less about, it won’t feel like a backbreaker!
  4. Opt for hardwood if you want to add some garden furniture or fencing to your garden. Garden furniture is the largest space taker you will have; thus, you need to determine where to put them first. Leave them, and then they will need low maintenance.
  5. Now, you may be sure about what you want, or perhaps you still don’t have any ideas. Begin browsing online to gain low-maintenance garden ideas and suggestions. And by searching, you can start by checking our list of low-maintenance garden ideas here and prepare to be amazed by how easy it can be!

17+ Low Maintenance Garden Ideas

Creating a low-maintenance garden is ideal for those who adore landscaping garden ideas despite not having the time or perseverance to cultivate one in the standard method.

The optimum contemporary low-maintenance garden ideas enable you to take full advantage of your outdoor space with little effort. The key to a low-maintenance garden is working with the land’s natural beauty rather than doing a whole makeover on the yard or cultivating too many plants. And with a few simple replacements, you can transform your low-maintenance garden into a place you genuinely adore and find happiness in using or looking.

Ditch The lawn

No landscaping ordinance states you must have a lawn to appreciate a stunning outdoor space. A dense green lawn looks breathtaking, but it is the highest-maintenance feature of any garden. It requires regular trimming and mowing, next to periodic aerating, weeding, and seeding, to maintain its abundance. Thus, if that’s a chore you’re incapable of doing, consider removing your lawn or reducing how much you have.

Cutting lawns less frequently or on a higher cut will give the wildflowers a chance to complete their cycle of germinating, flowering, and developing seeds, turning your overgrown green monoculture into a colourful, flowering carpet that attracts pollinators.

You could also invest in a robot lawn mower to mow the lawn regularly into small patches. And those cuttings serve as a mulch and help nourish the grass, so piling grass clippings is needless.

Another great approach is replacing grass with hard surfaces that are easy to manage and groom without requiring ongoing expenses. Low-maintenance surfaces include:

Hard landscaping

The hardscape is all the inanimate elements of landscaping. Any solid construction in an outdoor area that is non-living is considered hardscape, like stone, pavers, woods, brick, and gravel. It helps define space for outdoor entertaining, or it can lead guests through different sections of softscaping and lessens the amount of greenery you’ll have to trip and weed.

Stone Paving

Spaced-out pavers or stepping stones present an economical substitute for hardscape. The pavers’ pattern, material, and structure will also help shape the appeal of your garden, whether you’re opting for a more recreational or coordinated ambiance. To ensure a lasting, low-maintenance garden, choose pavers built from more durable, non-permeable materials; place them on a solid base such as compacted sand to hold them securely, and set pavers equal to the ground for easier mowing.

Add Gravel

Gravel landscaping is a clever alternative to grass, especially where periodic heat and drought make artificial grass ineffective. It’s a low-maintenance option for beautiful, porous hard landscaping that lets rainwater subsides safely. It can look fabulous if packed with sun-loving plants. But make sure to use a weed-suppressing barrier beneath it to ensure minimal maintenance.

Artificial Grass Lawns

Synthetic turf is a perfect choice for anyone who likes the appearance and mood of a natural grass lawn without the dire water consumption, chemicals, and maintenance necessities. This low-maintenance alternative enables you to revel in a green lawn that you can leverage just as you would, without the regular, continuous water usage and high level of maintenance.


Consider noninvasive ground cover instead of high-maintenance grass, mainly if your lawn is patchy. These small plants will save time from mowing while providing colour and retaining moisture. They will also add texture and depth to your garden.


Mosses are trouble-free plants that can be planted as an alternative to grass. It provides excellent springy groundcover, and they’re specifically suitable for zones that receive partial shade where most grass varieties refuse to grow. Since moss is short, typically 4 inches, it does not need mowing. And this not only saves you time but is also more manageable.

Build Garden Beds

A low maintenance garden filled with lots of different types of vegetables.
Elevated gardening makes life more comfortable over time, especially if you’re immersed in your garden. Raised beds can help you have more control over your plants, preventing them from spreading and creating attraction by adding altitude to your garden.

They will also make planting, cultivating, weeding, and watering painless – you won’t have to bend down or kneel to take care of your plants. Raised beds need less maintenance; they will not splinter, warp or deteriorate and are guaranteed long-lasting.

Create An Outdoor Living Area

When it comes to low-maintenance garden ideas, a sure way to make your garden captivating yet subtle is to have a welcoming gathering area. Even a dedicated gardener must have a place to relax.

Take outdoor entertaining to the next level with outdoor living and dining spaces, lounges, and seating nooks near water features or fire pits. Balcony, patios, and decks extend your living area while having lesser grassy zones to manage. These seating spaces usually invite you to go outside and appreciate your garden more often, but they also commonly need less maintenance than landscaping beds.


Decking is a must for modern and classic style low-maintenance gardens as it reduces the amount of work needed in the garden, expands your seating areas, and looks sumptuous. By somewhat raising the area’s height, they add a unique dimension to your outdoor space and are presently trendy and sought-after.

Composite decking is the best choice as it can stay free from cracks and splinters, and resists fading, staining, scratching, and mould. But if you prefer the feel of wood decking, keep it in good condition by applying a sealing product to waterproof it. And this will lessen the amount of time you need to allot to yearly maintenance.

Get Rid Of The Weeds

Weeds are invasive plant species and can devastate your garden. So, it’s best to eradicate them permanently. Rather than pruning them, taking the roots of the weeds is the right way to address them. Uproot them immediately after watering or rainfall when the ground is soft.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, concentrate on a small area daily. It’s easier to deal with weeding in small increments than managing weed control in your entire property as one.

Choosing The Best Low Maintenance Plants

Choose plants that take care of themselves and don’t need much attention – no annual or tender plants.

When picking plants that are lower maintenance, the first thing you must do is follow the “right plant-right place” concept. Analyze the conditions, sunlight amount, ground, and moisture, and choose plants well-matched to the site.

Plants that complement your climate offer you a better possibility of ending up with a healthy well-established landscape without the additional time and resources. That is a more workable, permanent garden.

Native Plants

Native plants are the best choice for both a low-maintenance and sustainable garden. They have a much higher survival rate as they’re adapted to local growing conditions and don’t need much nurturing, unlike exotic plants. Non-natives require significant amounts of water, fertilizer, and fungicides to keep them healthy.

Climbing Plants

a low-maintenance garden filled with lots of pink flowers.
Climbing plants are the versatile masters of a low-maintenance garden.

Easy to grow and resistant to harsh conditions, climbing plants can tolerate the cold mornings and the humid summers. With minimal pruning, climbing plants can add colour to walls or act as a natural form of privacy to protect your yard.

Drought-Tolerant Plants

Nobody likes to spend the summer doing more gardening than required. Even the avid gardeners will say that watering twice daily is exhausting. But if your garden soil tends to bake dry, as frequently arises with clay, take it as an advantage instead of a negative. Rather than straining to keep it moist, load it with drought-tolerant plants that will flourish without extra watering.

Hardy Plants

Forget the annual bedding plants that wither after a season and opt for hardy plant varieties, like hardy geraniums, that will have a promising chance of outliving any windstorms, sudden shifts in sun exposure, and temperature.

Hardy Geraniums are the true perennial geraniums, with long bloom seasons and dense, carpet-like plants with flower stalks. Additionally, most hardy perennials provide more pollinators in pollen and nectar than bedding plants bred for colour. Wonderfully aromatic, attractive all year round, and highly sturdy, they require nothing from you! There’s a feeling of new life when something’s always blossoming in the yard.

Succulent Plants

Succulent plants require very little attention – those plants with exotic shapes and various forms that are easy to maintain and make a bold statement wherever they grow. Some people love them because propagating succulents is as effortless as caring for them.

They look lovely in a garden, even when you fail to water them. These plants are primarily native species to drought-prone areas, so they conserve their own water for use over a prolonged period. They naturally have thickened and fleshy parts where the water is stored, such as the leaves, stems, and roots.


People tend to ignore ferns when choosing plants for a low-maintenance garden, but they make a brilliant option. Whether fine and feathery or lush and exotic, they will grow happily in your garden and make a tremendous raw background filler for flower beds.

Ferns will look great if older fronds are cut off in late winter or early spring to clear the way for new growth.

Plants That Make New Plants

Some plants produce new plants by germinating flowers that make new seeds. You may conserve time by allowing them to self-seed, so they merely arise from the ground spring after spring.

Simplify Your Planting Colour Scheme

Having a vast range of different plants on every border is unavoidably backbreaking. With that, choose a subtle planting palette, with swathes, drifts of the same kinds, or combinations repeated through the border. The effects are often more satisfying when the shades are combined in twos or threes. Not only will it look amazing, but it will also enable you to manage all the plants all at once.

Swap A Flower Border For Shrubs

Rather than having traditional flower beds and borders, why not consider planting shrubs and hedges, such as Hebe rakaiensis and Mexican orange blossom? Shrubs are unique flowerheads that will add glamour and loveliness to any oasis every year. For a more minimal tack, choose variegated pittosporum with its beautiful leaves.

Once established, shrubs will generally only require watering in the aridest summers. In all other respects, periodic light trimming is all this plant needs.

Opt For A Simple Water Feature

Maintaining monumental water features can be labour-intensive, grimy, and gross. If you genuinely want to build a water element to your landscape without the trouble, opt for a simple design that’s easy to decontaminate. For instance, consider creating a serene koi pond, a birdbath to attract wildlife and enjoy watching birds get a drink or a simple recirculating fountain for the soothing sound of water.

For a trendy, contemporary garden, ask the help of a garden designer or architect to install a lasting, built-in water feature.

Install A Watering System

Automatic Irrigation System

Forget the maintenance of dragging a garden hose around your yard and invest in an automatic irrigation system. These systems make watering your plants handy and spot-on. You can target specific locations that require more water for ultimate productivity. Once you set the system, it’ll do its job of watering your plants on its own, indicating your plants won’t go dehydrated if you travel.

Drip System

Drip irrigation is an efficient and economical way to water your yard and garden. Drip systems use soaker Hoses with tiny perforations for water to drip out of the hose slowly at the root zone.

The analysis shows that drip systems use water far more efficiently than sprinklers as the water is supplied slowly, just enough for the soil to absorb it 100% with zero run-offs and evaporation. They also reduce the risk and spread of disease by preventing water from settling on the leaves of the plants.

Use rain barrels

A low maintenance barrel in the middle of a garden.
Collecting water with rain barrels is a straightforward (and eco-friendly) way to water your plants and reduce run-offs. Connect your rain barrel to the downspout to collect rain as it runs off a roof. Or it could be as easy as allowing a trash can to fill up with water.

Invest In Mulch

Using mulch can remarkably lessen the time and money you need to spend to keep your garden in good shape since mulch breaks down and fertilizes your plants. The mulch also prevents weed growth and promotes the blossoming of the plants you love.

Spreading a good layer of wood chip or bark mulch over planting beds indicates you don’t spend hours every weekend weeding and immediately showers your landscape a well-kept impression with less effort.

Add Evergreens

Low-maintenance evergreen trees are perfect for your garden as they maintain foliage year-round. These are unlike deciduous trees that change alongside the seasons. They look elegant and offer a refreshingly green setting for your landscape layout.

Evergreens are typically breezy shrubs, fitting in almost any soil or place in your garden with less hassle. Sit back and relax since you don’t need much plant expertise to gain stunning results.

Choose The No-Dig Method

Keep your life simple by spreading ordinary compost on the soil surface and allowing the soil-dwelling organisms to manage the rest. Those essential micro-organisms – fungi and worms – help nourish plant roots. The easy no-dig gardening method demands less time, effort, and strain, so it must be among the priorities of the low-maintenance garden border ideas.

The no-dig method provides a rich soil to thrive in, and it’s a brilliant method to suppress weeds within your space while you protect the micro-organisms.

Invite Natural Predators

Do your best to invite natural predators to visit your garden and take care of unwanted pests that destroy precious plants. Attract beneficial bug-eaters like bluebirds, chickadees, and sparrows by offering water in a birdbath and suitable sanctuaries, such as nesting boxes or twiggy shrubs. They will prosecute most of the pest control, which means less trimming!

You can likewise try attracting lady beetles, harvestmen, or other beneficial insects into your terrain and wish they stay. Include pollinator garden plantings near your orchards.

Remove Leaves In The Fall

Failing to remove fallen leaves from your yard suffocates your lawn and kills it, hinders water evaporation, and hides damaging pests. Rake all the leaves off your property so they don’t spoil the grass throughout the winter. You may also run over leaves with the lawn mower. Leaves will decompose more quickly if they are shredded.

Compost any leaves you collect, then utilize them next year as soil for your garden. Composting leaves makes a dark, nutritional, earthy, organic matter that provides all-natural fertilization during the autumn and winter seasons.

Make Use Of Pots And Containers

Working with pots eliminates weeding, ousts the necessity for durable gardening tools, and reduces watering time. Some modernistic pots also have a built-in reservoir, which keeps your plants quenched for a certain period. You can also have drip apparatuses that you introduce within the pot.

Incorporating potted plants into landscaping makes a garden lower maintenance and more adaptable. Furthermore, pots are easy to carry around. If you’re having a simple gathering on your patio space, you can transfer them to that spot. For an extra pop of colour, match the flowers to the season and select greeneries of varying heights to convert your outdoor space like a flash.

Build A Spot To Relax

No matter the size, gardens are meant to be a place to relax and enjoy the surroundings. Hang a swinging bench or hammock from a sturdy tree, or grab a sofa and some large, comfy pillows on your deck. Then relax and ease up yourself.

Wrap Up

So, low-maintenance garden ideas are abundant.

Building a low-maintenance garden means reducing the workload without merely concealing your garden in unsightly concrete. Keep it minimalist and choose low-maintenance plant varieties.

If you need to save time, consulting with a local landscape and garden designer can unravel the capability of your outdoor space without turning your garden into a headache.

Curb Wise