Easy Gardening?
Make It Low Maintenance!

Hey y'all, welcome to the best secrets on this site! Easy gardening secrets! If you want to sit back and relax in your garden, THIS page is the one you need to pay the most attention to!

This is a picture of my tiny garden at our Washington State Town home. It is about 600 square feet. 

Very, very small!

BeautifulSmall Garden Design

Now if you have been paying attention, you have seen this little garden before...in this picture...

Coral Bells in the garden are an easy gardening dream

And in this one....

Quiet Patio Garden

I've used them because they illustrated ideas, and because they are easy to get! But there is a wonderful quality to this garden that I truly love. Yes, it is beautiful for a tiny garden, and it has some neat plants...but what I love BEST??

It is EASY!!!!

I have lived in my town home with my tiny garden for seven years now. I can count on my two hands how many times I have had to weed it! Don't you want to know THAT secret?

Well, here it is, the secret of easy gardening.

Create a low maintenance garden!

There! That is IT! The secret!

Low maintenance gardening creates easy gardens! Seems anti-climatic doesn't it!

cactus varieties in axeriscape garden

Maybe you have seen "low maintenance gardens" like the one above in the past, but if you are like me, I don't like most of them much. Most have no persona...no glow, no jewel like gleam.

But a low maintenance garden doesn't HAVE to be drab.

That's just the "easy" way out.

With a little research, and little patience, and a bit of hard work at the beginning, easy gardening can describe your garden too, and it can be lush, green, and beautiful at the same time. Easy gardening is not easy...! But a little one time effort can net years of garden relaxation in your own delightful garden environs.

I'm am just going to present these ideas in lists for now, because I want you to be able to see them all in one place, but I have, and will continue to, dealt with these and similar subjects throughout this site.


Here is a great list of important ideas that will net you a green, lush, and easy garden experience! There are also a few great plant ideas for you to get started with.

The Easy Gardening Preparation List

(the must dos!)

  1. Prepare the ground well - Rich nutrients create healthy plants.
  2. Use Mulch to keep weeds down - 3-4 inches of woody mulch does wonders!
  3. Nurture your plants with Compost - repeated applications of nutrients keep plants healthy.
  4. Add Watering Systems to ease day to day care - plan ahead and make your life easier!
  5. Cover every inch of open ground with plants - your weeds will have to move out.
  6. Use Hardscape to eliminate weedy areas - Less is more in low maintenance gardens.
  7. Add Garden Furnishings that bring comfort - If you are in the garden, you see the weeds when they start!
  8. Add Edging Materials to eliminate edging - Once a year edging chores! I promise!
  9. Use Raised Beds and Garden Structures to add interest - steal the stage during winter months with interesting structures.
  10. Use Containers for Seasonal Planting - annuals, bulbs, perennials with fleeting flowers are all candidates for pot planting.
  11. Add interesting garden ornaments to add personality - Easy landscaping at its best!
  12. Don't be afraid to help Nature along. Use Pre-Emergent Herbicides.

The Easy Gardening Abominations

  1. Rock Gardens - nooks and cranny's near rocks and in gravel make GREAT homes for weeds.
  2. Meadow Gardens - Yeah..they look good for a few weeks. THEN figure out how to make them look nice.
  3. Large Lawns - Lawns require mowers, mowers disturb grass, grass throws seeds, seeds sprout...the cycle of life, all in one garden!
  4. Formal Hedges - They have another name....maintenance!
  5. Roses or other high maintenance plants - beautiful prima donnas...they want all of your attention!
  6. Large areas of gravel - Dirt builds up in gravel over time. You will have weeds in rocks! Now that is not easy gardening!

Pick your Plants

The easy gardening shopping list!

  1. Concentrate on a few incredible plants - they provide the drama.
  2. Use Native or Compatible plantings - these are the backbone of your easy gardening experience. Native plants...guess what! they LOVE being in your garden!
  3. Plant for Longevity - flowers, seeds, foliage.. if they shine, your garden shines without effort!
  4. Plant for Garden Conditions - add plants to your garden that will thrive without your attention. That is easy gardening!
  5. Choose Plants for Structure and Habit - Steal the show when most plants are brown and limp by planning for exciting structure in your winter and evergreen plants.
  6. Use Evergreens - Evergreens are always green. 'Nuff said! 

Would you rather be on your knees weeding, or sitting in style in your garden? The Easy Gardening way is the only way. No more fuss. No more muss. Just an easy, low maintenance garden.

Hey! I think this is worth the price of admission....I hope you do!

Here are some great ideas for low maintenance garden plants...THESE will fill the bill for that easy gardening shopping list.

The Skelton List of Low Maintenance Plants

Common Name Plant Type Maintenance Characteristics
Crocosmia Bulb Dig and make divisions every three to five years.  In between?  Easy Care!
Crocus Bulb Consistent water required during dry spells.    Plant leaves must be allowed to die back prior to cutting.
Daffodil Bulb Water and watch them grow!  Leaves must   be allowed to die back to nurture bulb.
Grape Hyacinth Bulb Plant where spreading of bulbs is desired.  Do not plant in areas where spreading is  not desired. Nature takes care of the rest!
Snowdrop Bulb Does not thrive under other the shadow of other plants. Otherwise, a trouble free bulb!
Iris Varieties Bulb/Rhizome Ensure that rhizome is planted so that it lies just above soil surface.    Divide when flowers decrease (every 3-5 years in most situations)
Parthenocissuss Climbing Vine Easy vining plant.  Use care in siting.  This plant can grow very   large.
Fatsia Japonica Evergreen Shrub Must be shaded as direct sun will burn leaves.  Among the easiest of plants to grow and maintain where hardy and shaded.
Miscanthus Grass Little or no maintenance required beyond watering.
Blue Star Creeper Ground cover Plants creep to about 1 foot circumference.    May need occasional trimming along paths or patio edges.
Baby's Tears Groundcover Yearly to twice yearly edging into desired areas.  Then just walk away.  Requires moist shade to shine.
Barren Strawberry Groundcover Little to no maintenance required beyond watering.
Creeping Phlox Groundcover Will grow just about anywhere if basic needs are met. Benefit from consitent watering.
Thyme Groundcover The perfect plant! Nearly trouble free.
Vinca varieties Groundcover Rare occurrences of plant blight, root rot, or leaf spot. Occasional light trimming may be desired.
Cotoneaster Groundcover, Shrub Occasional  light pruning as desired to maintain shape.
African Daisy Perennial Tidy growth habit. May self sow.  Invasive in some climates.  (check your zone!)
Astilbe Perennial No mess, no fuss, hardy...this one must be the perfect plant!
Bleeding  Heart Perennial Plants benefit from occasional light dressing of compost.
Brunnera Perennial Occasional light pruning as desired for shape. Removal of flower stalks may be desired, as they can detract from the striking foliage.
Calla Lily Perennial Requires consistent watering.  Bulbs do not like to be disturbed after planting.
Columbine Perennial Columbine may reseed under some conditions. Self sowing is easily managed however.
Common Fern Perennial Trouble free plant. Stay away from bracken fern as it tends to become a nusiance.
Coral Bells Perennial OK, maybe this is the perfect plant! Some gardeners prefer to remove delicate flowers after blooming, but this is unecessary as the spent flower is lovely.
Daylily Perennial Nearly impossible to kill, but well behaved.  Cut back after flowering.  Deadhead if desired.
Foam Flower Perennial Do not allow roots to remain wet.  Happiest in high humus soils. Very little maintenance.
Hakonechloa   macra"Aureola" Perennial Siting is important for this plant. Does not tolerate dry soil or root competition from trees.
Hardy   Geranium (Cranesbill) Perennial Plant compact varieties in small garden situations. Some varieties may become leggy and require cutting back.
Hosta Varieties Perennial Slug bait is critical in most garden situations. Otherwise a truly trouble free plant.
Lady's Mantle Perennial Little to no maintenance required beyond watering.
Monkshood Perennial Requires consistent watering.  Too much water can cause crown rot.  Taller varieties do need   staking for best appearance.
Peony Perennial Elegant Foliage most of the year; dies back in winter, taller varieties may require staking.  Extremely long lived.
Phormium Perennial Occasional removal of single leaves that die back.
Rodgersia pinnata Perennial Bait for slugs, otherwise nearly trouble free.
Sedum 'Autumn Joy" Perennial Excellent plant which requires little attention. Broken leaves will create new plants easily if tamped into ground.
Shrub Rose Perennial Requires occasional mulching for best health.  Prune for shape.
Euonymous Shrub Can be invasive in some climates.  (check your zone!) Where it is not invasive, one of the most trouble free shrubs available.
Euphorbia Shrub Little to no maintenance required beyond watering.
Heathers - Calluna varieties Shrub Occasional pruning as desired.  Consistent   watering required especially in first year.
Heathers - Erica varieties Shrub Occasional   pruning as desired.  Consistent   watering required especially in first year.
Hebe varieties Shrub Prune as desired for shape. Can become leggy after flowering.
Huckleberry Shrub Prune as desired for shape.
Hydrangea Shrub Benefit from occasional fertilizer.
Japanese Barberry Shrub Occasional pruning of a stray branch may be required. Otherwise a shapely and trouble free choice!
Nandina Shrub Prune as desired for shape, and to encourage dense branching.
Pittosporum shrub Aphids can occasionally be a problem, but are easily eradicated.
Rhododendron Shrub Deadhead as desired to encourage next year blooms, but not required for plant health.
Sarcococca (Sweet Box) Shrub Little or no maintenance required beyond watering.
Artemisia Shrub, Perennial Some varieties can become leggy after flowering, lightly prune for shape, but do not hard prune this plant.
Acer Palmatum varieties Tree Some varieties occasionally self sow.
Evergreen conifers Tree

Water heavily in first year to establish.

Good Luck! and EASY GARDENING!

› Low Maintenance

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