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Creating and Caring For a Low Maintenance Flower Garden

Would you love to add some curb appeal to your home by adding flowers? Or, perhaps you just love the look of a flower garden and would like to have one. Most people are drawn to flowers and love the beauty they create in the world, and while many would love a beautiful flower garden, they just don’t have the time to commit to the upkeep of one. Can you identify with that?

Although, I would love to be able to come along side you and physically help you plant and maintain a flower garden, I can’t. What I can do, however, is provide you with some practical tips for Creating and Caring for a Low Maintenance Flower Garden.

Low Maintenance Flower Gardens Add Curb Appeal

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What does Low Maintenance Mean?

Low maintenance does not mean no maintenance and low maintenance is not for lazy gardeners.  Honestly, I don’t even think there is such a thing as a lazy gardener. So if you’re lazy, you should probably just stop right here, because this article isn’t for you.

For this article, low maintenance means low upkeep. Low maintenance means making wise plant decisions and doing your homework up front, so you don’t end up with a flower garden that requires tons of work to look good. To help you do your homework, I’ve provided a list of helpful articles a little further down in this post.

Just a warning that the initial work of planning out and planting a low maintenance flower garden, will not feel low maintenance at all. It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but I guarantee you that it will be very gratifying work and you’ll love the end result.

Ideas for a Low Maintenance Flower Garden:

  • If you want to create a flower garden in your front yard to add some curb appeal, keep it small.
  • Perhaps just a little ring garden around a tree, or a small garden to adorn your porch or the entry to your home. This isn’t the best picture, but when we were trying to sell our former home, I had to simplify my gardens and landscaping, so I took a big garden down to just this simple one around a tree. 

Tree Ring Low Maintenance Flower Garden

 

  • Or, maybe you just want to add some low maintenance flowers to your existing landscaping to add some cheeriness and pops of color.
  • Or, just maybe you need a hobby and you’re ready to dabble in flower gardening.

Tips for Keeping your Flower Garden Low Maintenance:

  • The first rule of thumb in creating a low maintenance flower garden is to keep it small.
  • Don’t go crazy when you’re picking out flowers, stick with 3 or 4 groupings of 3 of the same perennial, and then fill in with annuals.
  • The most important tip of all in creating a low maintenance flower bed is mulch. If someone asks me for my number one most important gardening tip, it’s always mulch. Mulch is a gardener’s best friend. After planting your flower garden and watering it well, always apply a 2 – 3 inch layer of a good, shredded mulch. If you can’t afford mulch right away, shredded leaves and untreated grass clippings will do the trick. Mulch is your #1 defense against weeds and it helps the soil retain moisture so that your plants don’t dry out.  Skipping mulch in a low maintenance flower garden is not an option.
  • Another important step to keeping your flower garden low maintenance is to install an edging of some type. We’ve used this Pound-In Landscape Edging and it’s very easy to install and keeps a nice clean edge to our flower beds.

Shasta Daisies, Stella Supreme Daylilies and Vinca Flowers in a Low Maintenance Garden

Flowers that Require Low Upkeep:

Flowers that Require Low Upkeep are flowers that don’t require deadheading, or very little deadheading. And just in case you don’t know, deadheading means removing the spent blooms of flowers.

Don’t mistake flowers that are easy to grow with flowers that don’t require lots of care. A great example of this is marigolds. Marigolds are one of the easiest flowers to grow, but not necessarily low maintenance, as they require lots of deadheading in order to keep them looking good.

When you start thinking about creating a low maintenance garden and which plants to select, be sure to stay away from plants that are described as “invasive,” “vigorous spreaders” or “aggressive.” See Plants Not to Grow In Your Garden (Even if they Are Free). You definitely don’t want to have to deal with cleaning out a bunch of weedy plants in a few years when all you want is low maintenance.

In making up this list of Low Maintenance Flowers, I kept to flowers that:

  • aren’t vigorous spreaders,
  • aren’t too picky about the soil,
  • will survive a wee bit of neglect,
  • don’t require deadheading or minimal deadheading,
  • don’t require staking, and
  • are not prone to pest problems or diseases.

Keep in mind that Perennials are the backbone, so to speak, of a Low Maintenance Flower Bed, because they come back every year. Annual flowers, on the other hand, have to be replanted every year, but are great for adding constant color throughout the growing season.

Here’s a Pin to Save to Your Gardening Board on Pinterest for later reference!

The Best Easy Care Perennials for Sun or Part Sun:

  • Ornamental Grasses (stay away from varieties that spread rapidly)
  • Coneflower
  • Yarrow
  • Catmint
  • Salvia
  • Daylilies
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Shasta Daisies
  • Veronica
  • Blanket Flower
  • Perennial Geranium (cranesbill)
  • Russian Sage
  • Penstemon
  • Autumn Joy Sedum

Low Upkeep Annuals for Sun or Part Sun:

  • Vinca
  • Moss roses
  • Calibrachoa
  • Angelonia
  • Supertunias
  • Lantana
  • Cosmos
  • Alyssum

Low Maintenance Perennials for Shade:

  • Hosta
  • Ferns (not ostrich)
  • Coral bells
  • Astilbe

Low Maintenance Annuals for Shade:

  • Impatiens
  • Polka dot plant
  • Begonia
  • Coleus
  • New Guinea Impatiens

How to Take Care of a Low Maintenance Flower Garden:

Watering

Watering is one of the biggest chores in maintaining a flower garden. If you really want low maintenance, I would highly recommend installing a simple Drip Irrigation Watering System. You can connect your hose, set a timer and let that chore take care of itself. If you don’t want to have to remember to water, I would recommend a timer for your outdoor water faucet. Timers also work well if you’re going on vacation.

Weeding

Weeding is a gardening chore that lots of people hate. I am one of the odd balls that likes to weed my gardens.

  • The very best way to keep weeds at bay in the first place is to use mulch like I stated above, but even with mulch, you will still have weeds. Unfortunately, it’s just part of gardening.
  • My very best advice for dealing with weeds is to simply pull them. If you stay on top of weeding, over time weeds become less and less.
  • Just a few side notes here, do not use landscape fabric or weed cloth, it does not work. If you want to lay down a barrier, use cardboard. Also stay away from weed killer (even the so called organic ones or home remedies) it does more harm than good in the long run.
  • Simply set aside 15 or 20 minutes a week to take a weed pulling pass through your flower bed.
  • My CobraHead weeder is my favorite tool for weeding.

Deadheading

Deadheading is a gardening chore that is often neglected or overlooked. Although the flowers on the list above are either self-deadheading (where the spent blooms just fall off the plant) or need very little deadheading, it’s still a good idea to tidy things up and keep your flowers looking their best.

  • Again, just set aside 15 or 20 minutes a week to deadhead your flowers. You can combine weeding with deadheading and get the chores done at the same time.
  • Simply grab a pair of gardening shears and clip off the spent flowers from your plants.
  • This will keep your flower garden looking beautiful and will help the plant produce more blooms.

That’s it, folks! Make plans now to create your low maintenance flower garden this spring. I just want to warn you, gardening can become very addictive! Just ask me!

Other posts on Gingham Gardens that will help you Create and Care for Your Low Maintenance Flower Garden:

Flower Gardening 101
Made in the Shade Gardens
Flower Garden Design
Flower Garden Maintenance

Better Homes & Gardens also has an interesting article on creating a low maintenance backyard. Although I believe their approach for low-maintenance is a bit overzealous, they do make some good points.

The Best Tools for Maintaining a Low Maintenance Garden:

I would love to be able to magically plop down in your garden or yard and physically help you create the garden of your dreams, whether it’s a low maintenance garden, a huge vegetable patch or the most beautiful yard on the block. But, since I can’t do that, please ask questions. You can do that by simply leaving a comment at the end of the post and I will reply just as soon as I can. Really, that’s what I’m here for, helping you create your best garden ever! Plus, I love hearing from my readers.

Happy gardening,

Joanna

p.s. Please help me out by pinning some of the pictures in this post. If you hover in the upper left-hand corner of the picture, you’ll see the Pin icon. There are more pins to share at the bottom of this post. Thanks so much!

p.p.s. For more awesome gardening ideas and some beautiful gardening eye candy, follow Gingham Gardens on Pinterest.

Pins to Share:

Image of a Flower Garden with text overlay - How to Create and Care for a Low Maintenance Flower Garden

 

Image of a Flower Garden with text overlay - 13 Tips for Creating a Low Maintenance Flower Garden

16 Comments

  1. Love your blog!! I am gardening again in Mich. after moving Back home after spending 16 years in Florida. Not much gardening there for me, Too hot and sandy soil.
    Late winter of ’18 I started daisies from seed in an egg carton. Seven survived an I transplanted them in various areas around my yard. Last summer they took root but no flowers and never got any taller than maybe 6 inches tall. All that fussing over them seemed a waste. Surprise, and today they are almost 4feet tall and so many blossoms I been able to cut and share. Several are crowded and would like to transplant some to an area where they can spread but I am afraid they may be bi-annuals.If I move them this Fall will they continue to spread and reproduce? That is my hope. I would love to see them blossoming at the base of donated lilacs I started at the edge of my back yard. Will they perform next year or are they like hollyhocks that are done after the second year except for seeds produced?
    Sorry for my wordy question and I cannot remember if these are Shastas or if there is even a difference.
    Bought some close-out ‘mums’ for color last Fall and am surprised to find all have over wondered and will be blooming for me this fall! Yea!

    1. Hi Ellie – it does take awhile for perennials to take off when they are planted from seed. Since I don’t know what type of daisies you’re referring to, I would say go ahead and try to transplant them this fall. Make sure to get them in the ground and keep them watered so their roots can become established before winter sets in. I love your excitement! Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  2. Have just joined your gardening site. Wow! lots of great tips. The pictures are beautiful. Thanks for all your good info.

      1. Found your site a couple of years ago. Have been enjoying all your lovely flowers and info. Thanks for sharing and happy gardening to you. I have arthritis and not able to do as much gardening as I would like but keep at it as much as my body will let me.

  3. Hi Joanna,

    I’m a fairly new subscriber and I’m loving every one of your posts. You do a really nice job of topic selection and your points are very sensible. The beautiful photos are icing on the cake. Keep up the good work!

    1. Wow, Paula, thanks so much! I’m so happy you are enjoying Gingham Gardens. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave such a beautiful comment.

  4. My flower beds will be smaller this summer and your ideas are very interesting to me. Please continue the ideas
    and suggestions.

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