HOW TO PLAN A NO-MAINTENANCE GARDEN
Whether you love your garden or not, there's no denying that garden maintenance is seldom if ever anyone's favorite chore. Yet surrounding ones home with a solid concrete base or tarring it in a way that is impervious to weeds in the cracks is also not a solution.
One's garden impacts tremendously on a whole range of factors that extend further than just personal preferences. Property value is just one of these factors. Not to mention personal relaxation and entertainment.
Which is why more and more property owners are looking at reducing the amount of time spent maintaining their gardens by creating relativly maintenance free gardens. Because when it comes to a garden there is no such thing as a completely maintenance free garden.
1. Reduce the Size of Your Lawn
A beautiful rolling green lawn is without a doubt an enviable possession. In South Africa many of us have Kikuyu grass, which is classified as a warm season grass. Rand Water recommends that you give Kikuya 20-25mm of water a week. Which equates into 20 to 25 liters of water per square meter. During the rainy season this is fine. But when the seasons get dry, either you need to water regularly or deal with a dead lawn.
For a year round green lawn use a multi-pronged approach.
- Reduce the size of your lawn. Create water wise feature beds or pave sections with paths as and how you prefer.
- Get a rain gauge set up near the lawn. Remember to empty it each week. If your memory is poor, invest in a small book to record the rainfall and keep it in a zip-lock bag under the gauge.
- Set up a lawn sprinkler system that includes a method for you to know how much water per m2 you've given the lawn. When the rainfall wasn't adequate set it so that the lawns requirements are met.
- Only water in the early morning or evening.
- Buy grey or rain water storage drums and use this instead of municipal water.
Year round green lawns are more often, the result of clever planning!
2. Plan, Plan, Plan.
Whatever your garden preference is, at some stage you need to properly assess and plan.
Key Factors! Watering, Sun Exposure & Purpose!
Start with Purpose
What is your gardens purpose. Is it for show? Do you need it to relax and unwind. Is it a place for young kids to play? Is it a place for the dogs to relieve themselves? Why you have a garden is a key factor when it comes to planning. Figure out whats important to you and work from there.
Sun Exposure and Water
These two factors work hand in hand.
- Plant, plants with similar water and sun requirements together.
- Install water irrigation systems that eliminate the need for hose pipe watering.
- Assess your pest and weed control issues.
- Avoid poisons - Pesticides don't lose their killing abilities immediately and can hang around far longer than you think. Some poisons can last for longer than 3 months, which is a problem if you have small children or pets that use the garden. Where ever possible use organic pest repellent methods.
- Plant plants closer together and use mulch. Weeds need sun. Plant or mulch so that this requirement is limited.
- Use old cardboard boxes covered with leaves, wood shavings or straw on vegetable garden paths. This system is an effective weed control and once the initial work has been done all you need to do is top up over high traffic areas.
- Invest in weed free soil.