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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Time Poor – Low Maintenance Plants NZ

Surfaces opIf time and lack of experience are the biggest stumbling blocks to starting your garden, then here are a few tips to help you get paper writing service started with your low maintenance garden. Even a low maintenance garden can bring you joy, and respite from the busyness of life; the effort will be paid back tenfold!

But where do I start?

Even a tiny corner becomes a maze of possibilities… or impossibilities! Even for a designer such as myself, the blank canvas requires a deep breath, extra thought, experience and strong commitment to a particular outcome. As with any accomplishment, building a garden first requires a goal, some initial research, and the formulation of a plan. The choice of plants, for an easy-care garden will be crucial to its success.


Layered, New Zealand native textural planting including; Cordyline australis, Muehlenbeckia astonii, Coprosma virescens, Libertia peregrinans, Xeronema callistemon and Metrosideros species

A typical low maintenance plant has to have:

  • A high disease resistance, so it will not require spraying or any preventative approaches
  • A high tolerance of varying conditions
  • A fairly vigorous growth habit to allow quick ground coverage for weed suppression, but not so much, that constant clipping is a problem
  • Limited leaf or flower drop
  • Good foliage texture and colour. Flowers are an added bonus and add a seasonal quality to the garden. Some low maintenance plants are themselves too static; a garden without seasonal change may soon become boring to you.



Choose plants carefully for their ultimate size, and take into account the growth rate, so pruning doesn’t become an arduous task.  Remember… even low maintenance plants need pruning to re-invigorate them. Also, consider the growing environment and choose accordingly. A checklist covering wind, frost, humidity, salt tolerance, drainage, sun or shade must be considered for every plant.

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Design tip:

Reduce weeding and clipping by planting one species in groups, opposed to one-off mixtures. If you plant multiple plants of the same species the ground will be covered and require less weeding. Clipping over large massed areas will reduce the time needed for individual shaping. Large groupings also allow wonderful artful showcasing of texture and colour that is lost in a busy garden of specimens.

For plant lovers 

Remember each time you go near a plant nursery how seductive and beautiful flowering plants can be. Nurseries will capitalise on this, making beautiful displays in prominent places so we can’t help but fall immediately in love with the plant, and buy what may be an impractical choice. For a plant lover, this is often a stumbling block.

To avoid the rigors of too much discipline or too many disappointments, set aside an area as a ‘play garden’ where you can put these treasures without disrupting your careful plans of easy-maintenance design. Incorporate them in an area similar to where you might have put a vegetable garden, semi screened and separate so that your all-year round good looks are not an issue.

Doing the work

Setting yourself up

As there is no such thing as a no-maintenance garden, it is most important to set yourself up well to deal with the jobs that still exist, such as pruning and fertilising. Make sure you:

  • Purchase good quality tools
  • Design a convenient service area where storage of tools is easy
  • Simplify the task of disposal of clippings:
  •  Use a removal bag that is regularly collected.
  •  Build a weed free compost corner that looks after itself. (Don’t expect major compost reward unless you put the time in, but it is surprising how nature will take care of the decomposition process when left to its own devices).
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