Why is care separated from nature

Make the garden easy to care for

Can you actually create a garden that - once laid out - keeps itself in good shape? And how much effort is actually in the little word "easy to care for", even if seed bags or garden literature promise heavenly flower paradises without effort? Those who are passionate about gardening are not afraid of cutting roses or picking weeds. But there are tricks that reduce maintenance. Garden connoisseurs, for example, put extravagant plant wishes on hold. If you know the light and soil conditions in your garden, you can choose easy-care garden plants that are naturally made for these conditions.

Whether ground cover or weed fleece - many measures have the same goal, namely to curb weed growth. Path edging towards the lawn saves the annual edging. If the bed and path are separated by charming natural stones, the latter prevent seed weeds from germinating on the edge of the bed. Low-maintenance beds are characterized by slow-growing trees and shrubs, which, when planted in larger groups, create calm gardens. The fact that perennials are not planted fresh every year, but rather take root in the ground over the long term and therefore cope better with dry periods than annual summer flowers, can make plant selection much easier.

Listen now: garden design for beginners

Anyone who wants an easy-care garden should value good planning! Since gardening newbies in particular are quickly overwhelmed with all the ideas and possibilities, our editors Nicole Edler and Karina Nennstiel have taken up the topic in this podcast episode of "Green City People". Together they will explain to you what the first planning steps should look like and give you tips on how to keep the garden easy to care for. Listen in now!

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More tips for easy-care gardening

Anyone planning paths or terraces can rely on helpful products. The high-pressure cleaner is used less often for coverings with special surfaces, for example made of Teflon, because hardly any dirt adheres to them and they can be laid without joints. The following applies here: Little care afterwards has its price beforehand. There are also tricks when it comes to garden equipment. Garden furniture or arbors made of hard woods such as robinia last a particularly long time outdoors without care, fences made of powder-coated aluminum or hot-dip galvanized steel are durable and protected against corrosion even without care.

Neatly bordered beds, for example with clinker brick, do not get out of shape. As a design element, they can also be a low-maintenance replacement for topiary figures. Potted herbs near the house also accept pauses in watering and thus minimize maintenance. You can achieve a pretty and easy-care flower dress with ground cover such as cranesbill or carpet Waldsteinia. This is a great alternative to grass or bare earth, especially for root-penetrated areas under trees or bushes. Because easy-care gardening means: tapping the richness of nature.

The fact is: A garden is too lively to do without horticultural efforts. Who can curb the next autumn breeze, which is constantly blowing more leaves on the lawn? And because there is no such thing as a completely maintenance-free garden, we learn to love extensive cleaning of flowers or meditative painting of fences as relaxation.

The best plants for the easy-care garden

Some shrubs are best left alone, such as witch hazel (Hamamelis), snowball (Viburnum plicatum), bell hazel (Corylopsis) or Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa var. Chinensis). Even evergreen rhododendrons are only trimmed for visual reasons.

There are roses that clean themselves, for example the pure white Escimo ’variety. The double-blooming, pink small shrub rose ‘Larissa’ throws off the flower stalk with the entire flower: there is no summer pruning.

Plants for the easy-care garden: purple coneflower (long flowering, left). Small shrub rose ‘Escimo’ (self-cleaning flowers, right)

Ornamental trees that do not have to be cut are, for example, Japanese maple, Japanese maple, ornamental cherry, ornamental apple or large-flowered magnolia. Ball robinia (Robinia ’Umbraculifera’ or Ball trumpet tree (Catalpa ‘Nana’) keep their round crown even without a regular cut.

Perennials that bloom for a particularly long time, such as the yellow coneflower, needle-leaved girl's eye, lady's mantle, scabies, sun bride or cranesbill varieties look decorative for several months without needing care. Long-lasting perennials such as daylily, peony, funkie, white forest aster or forest goat's beard remain reliable garden ornaments for many years.

Funkia (left) are particularly long-lived, maple (right) does not need a cut

Easy-care garden: tips from Christian Meyer

Anyone who cleverly equips their garden with plants can look forward to relaxing hours of leisure. Christian Meyer is a garden and planting planner in Berlin. We asked him how even beginners can make the garden easy to care for and what you should pay attention to when designing it.

Mr. Meyer, what is the best way to proceed as a beginner if you want to create an easy-care garden?
Include the location: what floor is there, what are the lighting conditions like? What knowledge of plants do you have - and what can therefore be easy to care for for you personally? Start with compact areas, such as 30 or 40 square meters. It is often worthwhile to first create a lawn next to a small bed and then redesign the garden piece by piece. If the property looks at least a little like a garden, beginners in particular find it easier than if they have a complete wasteland in front of them.

What mistakes are common?
Many people have no idea what it will cost to implement their plans. Some people think too short-term, always have the garden pictures with roses and companions or topiary in mind. If you want it really easy to care for, you have to get rid of it.

What are the alternatives?
A bed becomes easy to care for if you start cautiously with the flowering and grow in the course of the season. A few splashes of color in spring are enough and after blooming does not leave any unsightly stains in the plant carpet, which has its flower peak in September. For example, larger groups of pillow asters could be planted, from which ornamental onions and tulips, later small islands of catnip and candlestick knotweed, but also individual sedum hens and tall grass protrude. Variety-dependent fertilization and pruning are then not necessary. Sprinkle some humus over the frozen plant remains in spring - done.

Design Mediterranean and yet easy to care for - is that possible?
In this case, you should first create the conditions for the respective garden style. For a Mediterranean design, this means: Be careful with compost - make sure that the area remains lean, i.e. low in nutrients and also sunny over the long term. Incidentally, it helps many hobby gardeners to divide the garden into sections: cut flowers and vegetables grow in the "intensive area". In addition, the garden is largely laid out in a Mediterranean style.

Large area? Large gardens are always more maintenance-intensive ...
Of course, smaller areas require less effort, that should not be concealed. But larger gardens can also be designed to be easy to care for, for example with plants that require little water - in other words, species that have no special requirements.

How easy are gravel paths to maintain?
Mineral mulch such as gravel or chippings is now often touted as an easy-care path surface. But before you equip areas with it, they really have to be free from root weeds! Otherwise they are just as laborious to maintain as a normal garden soil. Many garden owners forget: In order to have it easy to care for later, the effort for the preliminary planning is often greater.