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How to Create a Simple Low Maintenance Garden – 20 Tips from the Pros

We have been professional North East landscapers for over 30 years and have seen virtually every kind of garden there is. Over the last few years, the demand for low maintenance gardens on a budget has gone through the roof. Below we share our top 20 lowcost garden ideas and how you can create a great outdoor area without breaking the bank.

Budget Gardens Can Still Be Gorgeous Gardens!

We would all love to have a beautiful and traditional English garden that everyone would be green with jealousy about, but not all of us have the time it takes to turn that dream into a reality. 

There is just a ton of work that goes into not only the planning of a garden of this scale but also the upkeep can become so tedious that you neglect it and it simply fades away into memory. Instead of being worried that you do not have any other options, how about trying a no-nonsense approach to beautiful garden spaces that is high in the beauty factor and low in the upkeep department?

You do not have to have full grass and a thousand plants to define a space and make it beautiful. Instead, you can use modern and old fashioned products that will make your space pop and also make you feel like you are living in a lush wonderland.

All you need is an excellent plan and a budget in mind to transform your garden from drab to fab. We’ve put together 20 beautiful tips that will help you to get some great ideas for your outdoor space.

Our Top Low Maintenance Garden Tips

Know your space

What kind of garden do you have? What sort of lifestyle do you live?  Well, these are questions to ask yourself because if you are single and looking for a place to entertain or you have a family and are looking for a quiet retreat you will want to know this ahead of time so that you can put your plans into actions. You will want to look around your garden right now and find out exactly how much room you have to go with and then start sketching out garden landscaping ideas either on paper or in your head about how you think you want things to look.

What do you want to use the space for and go from there?

It all costs money

If you are choosing low maintenance gardens because you are on a tight budget, then start there. Imagine that everything in your garden will cost money, the plant pots, bird feeder, the water that you will use to water everything to keep it alive.

Even the time that it will take you to clean up everything or to tend to the garden all costs money and if you are not interested in investing that much money in it remember that when you are picking out things for your garden itself. Do not get in over your head on the garden design thinking that you will take the time or make more money instead follow your instincts.

There is such a thing as no maintenance plants

Garden landscape ideas can be challenging, but if you do your homework, you will find that there are some truly low maintenance plants on the market that you plant and leave and mother nature will do all the work for you. You can buy things like ornamental grasses that need a trim once a year or trees or shrubs that if planted in the right spot can do just fine on their own with natures help.

It means that having that smart plan in place will prevent you from actually buying things that will keep you constantly tethered to the pruning shears.

Fill it in

If you have dirt or grass that you do not want to deal with anymore consider filling in this space with something else. How about doing block paving that will turn a dull looking yard into something defined and beautiful. You can find block paving products that fit any budget, and they look gorgeous when laid into place.

Once they are laid down and filled in with kiln dried sand you shouldn’t have to do anything but clean it off once a year and be done with it past that point.

Decks are in

Even if you have a tiny garden space, a deck well placed can add not only height and beauty but also fill in spaces that would have been otherwise dead in your garden area. 

Decks can be built for a little bit of lumber, and it doesn’t take a carpenter to do the work. Just a few planks of wood and screws and glue and perhaps a weekend and even the most novice of DIY’ers will be able to put something up that will look beautiful in their garden or patio area.

Rock and roll

There is absolutely nothing with less maintenance than having a rock garden. You do not have to do anything other than lay down a weed membrane so that grass and weeds do not grow up between the rocks and then lay the stones out and you will be done. To see a list of the best weed control fabric to buy thats here.

You do not have to do any watering or upkeep about it at all. You pour it, and in no time you will have a beautiful no-fuss way of adding beauty to an otherwise bland back garden.

Yard without yard

Do you love how the grass looks in gardens but have zero desire to keep it up so that it looks nice all year long? Well, how about investing in professionally installed fake lawn instead. Long gone are the days of the AstroTurf looking grass that was the bright crayon green.

Instead in its place is fake grass that looks real unless you reach down and feel it. The only thing you have to do to upkeep this grass is spray it off now, and then in case your pets or other people’s pets have come to visit your yard.

Succulent plants

Landscaping ideas come in all forms, and succulent isn’t just the way you want your steak to taste anymore.

Instead, it’s a wonderful line of plants that not only do well if you forget to water them. But also come in a variety of kinds so that everyone no matter what taste they have in the way they want things to look will have an attractive choice of plants. One of the best of the succulent plants is bamboo, and this grows in most gardens and will grow back quickly if cut down as well.

It’s beautiful and green, and if you decide that you can spare a bit of time and you cut off the lower foliage, you will reveal the most beautiful stocks that you’ve ever seen.

Planter boxes

Instead of having plants that are growing in the ground, how about using planter boxes. You can use anything as a planter box, and in small spaces, this is absolutely the way to go. You can plant things that do well in little to no sunlight. You can grow anything you’d like in them, and because they are in containers they are easily accessible and they will even if they die you can replace them quickly enough.

It’s an excellent idea for those people who are restricted in room and also limited to a budget. We said before anything that you have could be used as a container, including an old bucket could bring beautiful spots of colour to an otherwise bland space.

Think about the kids

If you have children, you know that they can run your yard ragged in a matter of hours if you are doing this because you have children think about catering to them specifically with some garden ideas. 

How about pouring concrete in your garden and painting play spaces for them to use while they are outside. You could paint things like hopscotch and four square designs so that they can genuinely have an oasis to play in that you know won’t cause them any harm. 

Having a concrete patio as opposed to modern garden patio means that you do not have to do any sort of upkeep other than washing it off with a hose and a brush.

Pots, plants and shrubs are down to personal choice, how much work do you consider high maintenance? The number 1 way to reduce the bulk of the garden work is hard landscaping. By creating paved or decked areas, this will dramatically reduce the size you need to tackle.

Moss isn’t for rocks anymore

Instead of planting grass, how about using moss as a ground cover that will be resistant to most anything that nature might throw at it.

Still, you can plant as little or as much as you want and no matter if you live in an always wet place or a more dry place you will be sure to find one that will do the trick and have bursts of colour that you deserve.

Automatic watering

Now, this isn’t just for the rich anymore. Many DIY projects specifically talk about making your automatic watering systems for your garden that do the work for you.

If you absolutely must have plants, but you are afraid you will forget to water them you can put these systems on a timer and without any fuss at all keep your garden plants well-watered.

Collect rainwater

With the automatic watering systems comes an issue of how much money it costs to water everything. With drip systems at an all-time high demand, if you put a few rain barrels on your patio or in your garden to collect rainwater, you can also have free water that you can water all of your plants with whenever you want.

It’s free, and it’s perfectly legal to do this.

Simple is better

Instead of over-thinking everything, how about just keeping things simple. Instead of needing to make something complicated and time-consuming pick out beautiful pieces that you love that you make work in your garden or on your patio so that you have space all to yourself.

You do not have to spend a ton of money on anything if you find something that you like put it in the garden and see how it works for you. Do not let others tell you that you have to have specific things in your area.

Seasonal plants

One of the most popular cheap garden ideas is picking seasonal plants.

Do not spend your time in speciality garden shops that sell plants from all over the world. Go to your local garden centres and see what they currently have on display.

Borders are good

Define spaces because the more you define, the better looking the place will be. It will look though-out finished, and everyone wants that in their garden area.

So use soft circular edges that will box in beautiful areas and will help to make everything look finished and lovely.

Stepping stones

Did you know that you can make and even go walking and find your very own stepping stones, bring them home and put them in your gardens?

This is a free option for those high traffic areas that need a bit more in the way of paving, but you do not want to spend the money on blocks.

Vines are beautiful

Vines are green and beautiful and can make a great addition to most gardens and outdoor space. No matter how small or large your area having a wandering vine in the garden makes it look almost whimsical.

Music to the ears

Putting in a small water feature or having wind chimes is a beautiful way to add some music to an already chilled area. If you live in a place that hears the sounds of cars over the sounds of anything else, this would be an excellent option for you.

Stay away from ponds

No matter what anyone tells you about garden ideas, ponds are a ton of work, and they aren’t something that you want in your space.

You want to stay away from anything that isn’t nature made in this department because they attract bugs and wildlife that you perhaps might not be ready for.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Landscape My Garden Cheaply?

In need of an idea for landscape garden but concerned at how much it could potentially cost you in the long run, fear not, we have some excellent budget-saving tips to help you along the way.

Using Mulch Alternatives

Mulch is a great way to save time and budget as it is made up of a variety of materials such as:

  • Grass Clippings – When you next cut your lawn, pick the clippings up and spread them evenly onto your flower beds.
  • Leaves – These are a budget-friendly alternative for your plants and provide essential nutrients.
  • Pine Needles – A low maintenance Mulch that is easy to spread and remarkably lightweight.
  • Compost – spread evenly and lightly without putting too much on your plants as it can damage them.


How Do I Make My Garden Look Better on a Budget

Everyone wants an aesthetically pleasing garden; whether you’re having friends round, enjoying a BBQ or just relaxing, you want to be able to look around and be proud of your property. Here are some cost-saving tips to improve the look of your garden:

  1. Add a splash of colour – Perhaps giving your table and chairs a once over or the fence panels will make a difference and brighten up your space. 
  2. Repurpose Old Tyres – Not something you would usually think of, but doing this you can create rustic patio ottomans, decorative planters or build a pond using the tyre as a base.
  3. Build an Outdoor Fire Pit – This may sound challenging and expensive, but on the contrary, it’s relatively budget-friendly and serves as a focal point for your garden.
  4. Another good tip is to seal a patio area. Weeds, moss and algae can be continuous back breaking work. By sealing the paving you can radically reduce the ongoing maintenance needed. Check out the best garden patio sealer here.

What Are The Best Low Maintenance Plants?

In need of some plants to liven up your garden, but haven’t got the time to maintain them as you should, not to worry here are four low maintenance plants that are still at the same time stunning:

  • Coneflower – These long-blooming flowers come in a range of pinks and purples and are also drought tolerant. 
  • Dwarf Daffodils – Wonderful short bulbs that can multiply once they return yearly. 
  • Anemone – These ground cover florals can spread underneath your shrub and look similar to daisies. 
  • Snowdrops – They can bloom as early as January and are incredibly easy to grow, often seen underneath trees and in woodlands. 


What is the Cheapest Landscaping Material?

Here are some excellent budget-friendly materials that can be used for landscaping and help to bring your garden back to life:

  1. Borders – These can include basic plastic barriers, border boxes or planting some garden filler such as wood shavings. These will help to separate garden beds and plants with distinctive lines. 
  2. Modern Fencing – One of the best edging ideas that are always in style, it will help to make your garden more polished with some character. 
  3. Lights – A cheap but classy way of adding charm to your back garden is with decorative lights with most being LED, which adds a terrific glow without adding too much to your electricity bill.