The 2-Hour Gardening Week

The 2-Hour Gardening Week

In the midst of a busy, bustling life a garden can provide relaxing respite from life’s demands. And yet, a complicated finicky garden can quickly become overwhelmingly high-maintenance. Installing a low-maintenance garden allows you to really enjoy your time spent tending the trees, shrubs and lawn that make up your landscaping.

Spending 2 hours gardening each week has many known benefits, including exercise and stress-reduction. So, how can you transform your garden into a beautiful, low-maintenance yard? Let’s start with reducing watering, weeding, pruning and mowing tasks. How can you effectively achieve all of this, you ask? Plant selection is a great place to begin.

Choose plants that are drought tolerant, require no staking, need deadheading only once per year and are cut back once in the spring (e.g. ornamental grasses) or once in the fall (e.g. perennials such as hosta). The same applies to turf grasses.

Select the type of grass to suit the conditions in your yard along with the use it will be subject to! Will your lawn be used as a play area by kids or dogs? Is your lawn shaded by trees or buildings? Start with the right grass in the right place. Then, keep your turf at a height of 3-4″.

When your turf grows an inch (or the equivalent of one third of its height) cut it back with the mower to 3 or 4 inches height. Using a mulching mower saves you the time and money required for fertilizer. The clippings left on the grass provide nutrients to the lawn as they break down into soil. So, how much water does a lawn really need?

Water your lawn deeply once per week. Long, sturdy roots that have to reach deeply into the soil for water not only create a healthy grass, but they hold water longer during summer drought periods.

And then there’s the option of replacing your lawn altogether! Many homeowners are turfing their grass to make way for garden beds, decks and patios or even raised vegetable gardens. Seed suppliers are offering native grass and wildflower blends for a natural field look that’s bee friendly and low-maintenance. And what about all those pervasive weeds in the garden beds?

Applying a layer of mulch to your garden has to be one of the most time- and cost-effective things you can do in your garden. Bark mulch is actually partially decomposed bark that can be chunky or ground up to a fine texture. The colour ranges from orange to black to suit everyone’s tastes. The benefits of using bark mulch are many: it reduces weeds; it conserves water; it provides nutrients as it further decomposes. Bark mulch truly makes any garden low-maintenance. By conserving water, and reducing evaporation during hot summer months, bark mulch works in conjunction with your watering to keep plants happy and healthy.

Installing an irrigation system helps save time as well. A well-placed soaker hose watering needy plants or winding its way through a vegetable garden makes watering simple. Inexpensive timers can be attached to a faucet and hose for automatic watering early in the morning – the ideal time to give plants water.

Plant selection, turf grass maintenance practices, bark mulch and irrigation are the four pillars upon which to build your low-maintenance garden. Spend more time de-stressing in your garden with these 2-Hour Gardening Week practices.

So, with all this work reduction in place, what’s there left to do in the garden? Small, fussy projects such as abundant container plantings or fruitful vegetable gardens are great projects you can spend your 2-Hour Gardening Week on. Or, perhaps a couple of diva roses can be showered with all the attention they demand.

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