Sold on the idea of starting a home garden but not sure you will find the time it takes to look after plants properly? Or do you perhaps have a garden already but find it more time-consuming than you expected or hoped for?
If that’s indeed the case, then our list of time-saving home gardening ideas might just be the thing you’ve been looking for. Whether your home garden is a large plot in the backyard or just a few plants in containers on your balcony, take a look at our practical advice on how to become a successful home gardener – and not spend most of your free time getting there!
1. Choose your plants wisely
Or rather, think it all over before you purchase anything – don’t just buy a plant because it’s pretty! Find out which plants thrive in your climate and avoid finicky plants that will require a lot of pampering on your part. There are plenty of no-fuss and shade-loving perennial plants available in the market, and these plants are by and large your safest choice if time is your priority.
2. Start with perennials
Have we mentioned perennials already? They make for a perfect foundation to your home garden, given how low-maintenance they tend to be. So even if your experiments with flashy, fashionable annuals end up in spectacular failure, it won’t leave your home garden looking all that miserable after all.
3. Add self-sowing annuals
Having said the above, we do love annual plants – and really, who could blame us? With all their color and stunning beauty, many annuals are truly irresistible. If, however, you can’t be bothered with planting them every year, you might want to go with those annuals which will happily do your job and plant themselves through natural reseeding.
4. Stick to one plant – or group them by requirements
If you limit your choice to just a single plant or a group of plants that will require the same kind of treatment – the same needs in terms of exposure to sunrays or how often you need to water them, you won’t have to tend to your garden too often. Like we said above, it’s all about making a knowledgeable choice with your plants and flowers in the first place.
5. Invest in shrubs
While typically more expensive than perennials and annuals, shrubs are extremely easy-care and low-maintenance – on top of being pretty! Get a few and let them please your eye at no other expense for years to come.
6. Buy more mature plants
Like the idea of starting from seeds or with cheap little starts? Well, good luck! If you don’t have much time to gamble with your garden, then make sure you place your bets on the biggest, most mature-looking plants in the store when you buy them. That should spare you the disappointment of seeing your efforts go in vain when all the love and care in the world somehow isn’t enough to make those midgets grow.
7. Use the sun to your advantage
If you keep your plants at home but are too busy to water them during the day, make sure to put your plants where they will get the sunlight in the morning but where they will be shaded from it during the hottest time of the day. If they’re not exposed to the sun excessively, your plants will require less moisture and therefore less watering from their busy gardener – you!
8. Mulch, by all means
This one is an absolute no-brainer here. If you mulch, you will save time on weeding, watering and fertilizing the soil. It can also decorate your garden and you only need to apply it once a year, every spring. In a word – mulch!
9. Add ornaments
If you want your home garden to be visually pleasing, don’t forget that you can add to its overall beauty with various commercially available ornaments such as birdhouses, columns, sundials, fountains or garden gnomes (but perhaps not all of them in the same garden).
10. Grow vegetables in containers
Perfect if your space is limited, a container garden is a great way to try your hand at growing vegetables at home. Tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and lettuce, among many others, are plants that grow really well in containers, but the key piece of advice here is that your containers need to be deep and wide enough to accommodate vegetables – root vegetables in particular.
11. Use large planters
As a rule of the thumb, it is easier to grow any plants in large containers rather than small ones. A large planter is filled with more soil and therefore retains moisture longer. If your time is limited, then you’d better stay away from those pretty, tiny hanging baskets – if you don’t water them twice a day in the summer, the plants in them are very likely to dry out before you know it.
12. Drain holes in your planters
Regardless of their size, planters work best if you drain holes in them. If you don’t, the soil in them will become waterlogged and your plants will suffer. If your planter doesn’t have any holes yet, you can drill them yourself – they don’t need to be very big, just big enough for excess water to drain out.
We do hope our time-saving home gardening ideas will help your plants grow big and healthy! For even more planting and gardening advice, make sure you check out our beginner’s guide to gardening in pots.