12 Garden Design Ideas Perfect For a Low Maintenance Garden

Short on time? You can still create a beautiful garden. Find out how with these 12 garden ideas for a low maintenance garden!

With the arrival of nicer weather, your attention begins to shift in the direction of the outdoors. After being closed up for so many months of snow, rain, and colder temperatures, you may feel the itch to spend your leisure time around your home instead of inside. Or perhaps it is time to spruce up the exterior of your home with a tidy or the implementation of a garden.  

A garden makes good use of the space around your home. It can be small, elaborate, or something in between! You can choose different kinds of plants and decorations to get the look you want.

But not everyone has the green thumb it takes to keep a garden looking neat and gorgeous. It can feel more like a chore, and that is no way to spend the hours of your summer. So if you are the type that passes beautiful home gardens and despair at the thought of all the work it takes, you may need low maintenance garden design ideas.

These ideas give you the best options. Whether it’s a small garden or one filled with low-maintenance plants, even a non-gardener can enjoy their garden with the least amount of work.

1. A Good Foundation

Start from the ground up and you’ll have a garden that’s sure to impress. And remember, your garden doesn’t have to be just grass and plants. You can choose a large patio stone or paver to claim space in your yard that doesn’t require much care.
Patio Stones

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Bluestone is a popular and durable option for outdoor flooring. Despite the name, it comes in a wide range of natural colours. It’s also produced in an array of square and rectangular sizes, so you can customize this look for your garden while keeping the care needs down. Pea stone gravel makes for a great budget friendly alternative.  

2. Add A Deck

A deck turns your garden into an extension of your living space. It provides a neat and tidy space to add a dining room set or lounge chairs. Wooden decking is easy to keep clean and won’t ever grow weeds that need pulling!

Thinking a deck might be just what your garden needs? Check out this top decking guide to learn more about decking installation and see how a deck can create the perfect outdoor living space for entertaining and recharging.

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Although a deck still requires some maintenance, this is usually on a yearly basis. You may need to stain or reseal it to protect the wood from the elements. Some other options, such as a composite material, require even less care! Plus, you can hire someone to take care of even this small amount of tending if you choose.

3. Mulch Your Garden Beds

One of the biggest areas of frustration can be your garden beds. Although plants are a nice touch for your garden, weeds and stray grass are not the sprouts you hope for! To keep your garden low maintenance, use products that inhibit the growth of unwanted plants. There are a few options to choose from to give you a wide range of choice for the look of your garden.

Mulch is an ever-popular option. It comes in a variety of shades, from deep chestnut to rustic red to natural shades of brown. Keep in mind that a dyed mulch will fade over time. Choose a colour that will help set your garden beds apart from the rest of your yard to keep the lines of your yard clear.
Garden Mulch

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Mulch keeps the growth of weeds down and means you can spend less time caring for your plants. It usually last throughout the nice weather so you are only applying it once to your gardens. Some services may offer to drop off your mulch purchase and even install it for a cost if you are pressed for time.

4. Stone Edging

Not a fan of mulching? You have alternatives! Crushed stone or gravel makes an excellent choice if you want something more permanent in your garden beds. Since stone does not degrade with weather, this is a clear winner for a once and done solution.

cobblestones around garden

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You can also use your stone to line other areas of your lawn. Choosing to install different living areas, or using different surface textures? Use a common pea stone edging to connect each area to create a cohesive looking garden.

5. Clear Out The Grass

Grass requires a lot of maintenance to keep it looking good, so if you have grass in your garden, you can expect a lot of work. Fertilizing and watering are necessary to keep it looking nice and green — and of course, you can’t forget to mow it to keep it looking neat and tidy! This may require more time than you are able to spare. Thankfully, you can take out the grass and eliminate the need for care.
Rock Garden

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Replace grass surfaces with stone, pea stone, pavers, or wood. These surfaces can be just as nice as grass without requiring the constant upkeep.

6. Or Give Turf A Chance

If you don’t want to give up the green look of grass but you’re definitely looking to trade in the care it needs, an artificial option might be for you. This can be a good choice if you have kids or pets in the home that still want to have an area to run around and play.
Artificial Turf

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Artificial turf gives you the perfect shade of green all year — and beyond. It lasts for years and requires little care after the initial installation. There’s absolutely no need to fertilize, water, or mow! You’ll want to make sure it’s installed by a professional so it drains water correctly and prevents problems from appearing down the road.  

7. Paved Pathways

Introduce a section of paving stones or cobblestones in your yard to break up the lines and create areas that don’t require any maintenance! You can choose different colours to suit any decorating preference. Choose a smooth stone for a clean and upscale look or something rustic that will look good no matter how your garden grows.

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If you choose pavers, make sure to choose the proper fill to tamp down the growth of weeds. Gravel underneath pavers will keep the drainage lines clear so that water doesn’t build up to make a mess of your pathways. All of these preparations will reduce the need for care later on down the road.

8. Wildflower Garden

Plants do require a bit of maintenance to keep them looking good. If you’re short on time a wildflower garden could be the perfect solution!

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Most wildflowers simply need water and sun to fluorish how’s that for a low maintenance garden hack?! With these wild beauties taking care of themselves you can simply sit back and enjoy your garden – no work required.

9. Hardy Options

A plant that can stand up to the conditions is simply the best. It doesn’t fuss or demand your time. A garden care or plant centre can point you to the perfect plants for gardens in shade or sun and give you tips on easy care.
But you won’t go wrong with a selection of shrubbery. These give your garden a bit of structure, such as adding height to the borders or filling out the bare spots.

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Shrubs add some vibrancy no matter where you choose to plant them. Mix up your options with different coloured foliage or choose some varieties with flowers for more visual interest. Just remember that you may need to clean up after berries if you choose something like buckthorn.

10. Long Term Plant Planning

Add plants that will give you extra years to be maintenance free! Lavender is a beautiful, attractive-smelling plant with purple flowers. It comes back year after year, making garden care a little less work.

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Other perennials include hostas or ferns. These plants will get bigger over time as they build on roots established in the previous year. You’ll be able to enjoy your garden without worrying about planting new flowers each year.

11. Flowers All Season Long

Want to have beautiful gardens all season? Choose the right flowers! With different blooming seasons, you can have colour from spring to fall. This eliminates the need to tend or deadhead them. A garden centre will be happy to give you advice on the best kinds of flowers for your all-season garden.

Mix and match different sizes and colours of flowers for the best impact. This simple approach makes it easy to replace plants if needed, since anything goes!
Flower Garden

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It also means that you don’t need to try and contain the growth of your flowers to one section of the garden since the mix of colours can be beautiful any time of the year. Some flowers may require a little bit more maintenance than others, so keep an eye out for low-maintenance flowers.

12. Container Gardening

Using pots and other containers keeps your plants tidy and you free from trimming them back. Inside a pot, there is only so much growing your plants can do before they run out of room. Pots can be a great way to introduce some colour into your garden. Choose one colour of pot and stick with it, or choose a neutral shade. White is a great neutral that ties everything together. Matching colours is a sure way to sell the look and doesn’t require much effort to keep up.
low maintenance garden

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Containers are easy to move your plants around as you want them. If you have to clear some space for a get together, it’s as easy as shifting them over and you are set! There’s no need to panic. Your low maintenance garden is ready for whatever comes its way.  


There are many great ideas for a low maintenance garden that will work well for your needs. Best of all, you can get creative and combine a few for the perfect back — or front — garden solution. Choose a deck as your garden’s main feature with potted plants to add some signs of life. Or use a stone ground cover along with one or two plants for a simple look that’s easy to take care of.

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