Low maintenance garden ideas are as varied as gardeners who want them. Water shortage problems are one common reason, as is a busy life. Low maintenance garden ideas save money in the long run. Whether the garden you tend is old or new, there are a few ways you can save time and energy and create a beautiful garden.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin describes native plants as those that existed here without human introduction. "They help conserve water, reduce mowing costs, provide habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife, protect the soil and save money on fertilizer and pesticide," according to the University of Texas at Austin. The Center's website provides a search option for plants native to every state and region. Native plants do not need soil modifications, and they are less susceptible to disease and pest problems. Wildflowers native to the local area reseed and quickly naturalize, creating more plants for less cost.
Low maintenance gardening depends on water-wise techniques. The Los Angeles County Smartgardening Program has identified five steps to maintaining a low maintenance watering routine for a garden. The first two steps are grouping plants according to their water needs and selecting drought-tolerant or native plants. Steps three through five include using drip emitters and sprinklers that give plants only the amount of water they need; use compost so that soil retains water easily; and use mulch to conserve water and suppress weeds. Composting is easy to get started at home, and many local city recycling programs have low-fee compost bins for sale.
Lawn is high maintenance. Reducing turf areas in the garden cuts down on the noise pollution from mowing, the waste of water, and the potential for misuse of chemical lawn fertilizers. The University of Delaware's Extension Service estimates that the United States has more than 62,000 square miles of lawn "Most lawns are simply too big to be useful, with high maintenance costs, minimal wildlife value, low aesthetic interest, and negative environmental impact." Turf areas are best used to define the shape of outdoor rooms, as play areas or as wide pathways between planting beds.