Low maintenance gardening ideas could save you heavily on your labor in the garden. However, ‚ÄúThere’s no such thing as ‘no maintenance’ gardening. All gardens require some effort,” says Christopher Starbuck, an associate professor with the University of Missouri’s Division of Plant Sciences at Columbia.

Here are some of the most useful and perfect tips for creating a low-maintenance garden:

Raised beds

More crops can be grown — and grown more easily — when concentrated in small areas. That simplifies adding organic matter to the soil, and makes plants more accessible for watering and weeding. Start in one corner and put in a few raised beds per year. Just peck away at it. You’ll find it takes a lot less energy and produces higher yields in the end.

Use less fertilizer

Recycle as many nutrients as possible by leaving grass clippings on the lawn or foliage over plant beds. Base fertilizer use on soil tests, Starbuck says. “Over-fertilization leads to excessive growth that needs frequent pruning or mowing.”

Mulch

“Mulch is the ultimate low-tech, high-impact gardening tool,” says Doug Welsh, a professor and extension horticulturist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service at College Station. “It conserves water, cools temperatures in summer and warms them in winter. It also keeps the weeds down.”

Native plants

“Choose plants adapted to your environment,” Welsh says. “Don’t try to grow bluegrass in Texas or rhubarb in the South. You can always be a pioneer, but it takes more effort to grow plants not native to your environment.”

Containers

You can manage water and fertilizer use more easily in containers, Welsh says. The biggest mistake people make with containers is getting them too small.Start almost at the whiskey barrel size and then scale down to what your plants really need.

Xeriscaping

Choosing drought-tolerant plants saves on water and watering time, two big pluses for busy gardeners. Clemson University fact sheet reveals that all plants within a planting zone should have the same water requirements and be watered as a group.Avoid high-maintenance plants, or put them where they can be reached easily with a soaker hose. Choose daylilies, irises and other perennials that require little attention.

Reduce lawn size

Replace it with perennial beds, decks, trails, sidewalks or mulch. Turf means watering, mowing, fertilizing and pest control.

Naturalize

Incorporate your surroundings and let plants grow wild, says Sydney Eddison, author of “Gardening for a Lifetime: How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older.” (Timber Press, 2010). “If you even own a scrap of woodland, you can make an extension of your garden by edging it with a few berried and flowering shrubs,” she says. “Naturalize daffodils on the forest floor.”

Ease up

Relax your attitude about gardening. “Training yourself to enjoy a more chaotic look is the single most important thing you can do to reduce the amount of time you spend in the garden,” Starbuck says.

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