The sloth’s guide to gardening

Tips on how to create a beautiful ‘designer’ garden with little effort

Planting

Choose a small flower bed close to the house that is easy to manage. This will be the area that requires more attention. You can plant seasonal pretties such as your annuals in this bed to add colour and interest. It is also a good idea to plant your vegetables and herbs in a bed close to the house as they will be easier to access and maintain. Pots can be used as focal features and points of interest these can easily be replanted with perennials and seasonal colour this will create an instant revamp in a few minutes. The area’s further away from the house are great for simple combinations of perennial planting. A beautiful combination to illustrate this would be Strelitizia reginea‘mandelas gold’ carex morrowii and agapantha nana .When selecting your plants always check their growing requirements how big they grow do they like sun or shade this will save you time and money. Plants such as roses and hedging require a lot more maintenance whereas things like grasses and succulents need very little. The same will apply for trees always select a tree that is the right size for your garden and take into account whether it is an evergreen or deciduous tree this will save you from a lot of maintenance in the long run. It is important to take these things into consideration as they will help you create a garden that is a pleasure to look after and be in.

Hard Landscaping

When choosing your hard landscaping materials look for low maintenance alternatives instead of using wooden decking this requires regular sanding and oiling rather opt for composite decking which does not require any maintenance and is just as effective.
When planning your beds always incorporate some form of edging as this will keep the grass and weeds from growing into your beds, it will also keep the lines and shape of your design.
Incorporate pathways of gravel, pavers or brick and linking them to paved seating sections.
If you have an outdoor patio area, look at using an outdoor umbrella. These are an easy alternative to wooden pergolas which need treatment. Remember that water features no matter what kind you choose will always need a lot of care and attention. Rather choose a sculpture or big pot as a focal point.

 

Watering and garden planning

 

Cut down on watering by ensuring that you have a good irrigation system this will allow you to zone your plants according to their water requirements and save you a lot of time. Having your irrigation on a timer will enable you to go away for the weekend and not have to worry about your plants dying and if a rain sensor is installed this will also save money and water from wasting during the rainy season. Pots require a lot of water during the summer month’s water gel can be placed in them and this will slowly release water directly to the plants roots. An important tip is when planning your garden beds get the soil right first add lots of compost and mulch and organic fertilizer then plant your plants, healthy soil means healthy plants and healthy plants means less hard work.

 

Maintenance

 

Lawns need a lot of maintenance especially in the summer months so minimize your lawn area by selecting a section that would be the most functional and plant your lawn there. Always remember to lay weed guard down under your gravel this will help prevent the weeds from coming up. Mulch those beds with pebbles, gravel, bark chips or leaves this will retain moisture and reduce the amount of weeding you will have to do. Mulch, once broken down helps improve the soil. Boiling water can be poured onto paved areas to kill unwanted weeds.

 

Gardening tips when you have little time available.

 

Revamp that section of your garden that has always bothered you. Take out the plants you don’t like. Take a few minutes to plan what you would like to incorporate. Split, prune and cut back the overgrown shrubs or trees. Add some Feature plants like aloes, Strelitzia, Cycads, Agave, Palms and Phormuim. Use the left over fertilizers and compost in the shed. Add some leaves as mulch.

Clean that water feature, water features need a bit of TLC to keep them looking good. Perhaps it’s time to change the water or just add some chlorine tablets if it’s a pot water feature. Water features not flowing correctly? Take out the pump and give it a good clean. Brush the water feature with a stiff nylon brush rinse and refill with clean tap water.

Prune that branch you almost bash your head into every day! Add your vegetable peels to the compost heap or flower beds. Water that hot part of the garden, its helps to relax you after a long day. Harvest a few vegetables out the veggie patch. Pick some flowers; place them in a vase on the dinner table.