3 Tips for Creating a Low Maintenance, More Sustainable Garden

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Would you like a garden that's less work, more beautiful, and more sustainable?

Whether you have a yard, a balcony, or a rooftop garden, I have 3 tips that'll help you create a lovely, earth friendly outdoor space that also happens to be less work!

Tip #1: Recognize that your Garden is a Community

Did you know your garden is actually a thriving, busy community of plants and animals?

For a very long time as a gardener, and even really as I took on a more professional role, I viewed gardens as, simply, plants.  And those plants had a very narrow purpose. 

Did they make the space beautiful? Did they thrive? Did they produce fruit, or vegetables, or flowers as they should? That was what mattered to me.

But as I learned (and continue to learn) more about the amazing, amazing world in my garden, I no longer see just the plants.

When you see your garden as a community, and support it as such, you end up doing less work in the long run.

I see the soil in which they’re planted, and the sunlight that fuels their growth.  I see the insects that eat them, or lay eggs on them, or just call them home.  I see the birds that eat those insects.  I see the animals that visit my garden (and, ugh, even eat my plants).  And I know that there’s a lot more that I can’t see!  There is a whole community at work that relies on each other for their survival.

When you see your garden as a community, and support it as such, you end up doing less work in the long run.

Tip #2: Design with Intention

An earth friendly garden starts with thoughtful design and planning. In fact, design is just as important as all the planting, weeding, pruning, and other work involved. 

A good garden design is going to solve problems.  These may be problems like “I have no place to comfortably sit outside on a sunny day” or “there are massive drainage issues in my backyard.”  But they can also be “I don’t see many butterflies, and I want to attract more to yard,” or “I keep hearing about pollinators dying off and I want to help them.”  

A good garden design is going to solve problems.

A good garden design is about form as well as function. You can create something that is practical and beautiful, that solves problems while providing a lovely space.

A good garden design can be about you, and it can also be about the plants and animals and wider ecosystem surrounding you. You can design in a way that provides food for pollinators, or reduces the amount of chemical control you use, or conserves water.

Design is a sort of foundation, the intention behind everything, and it can determine if the ecosystem you’re supporting or creating works or not.

Tip #3: Maintain Sustainably

Whether you’re growing a few tomatoes, or creating a full landscape design, you can practice sustainability by minimizing the resources you use to create and maintain your garden, and also minimize the waste that it produces.

That can look like:

  • Building a healthy ecosystem from, literally, the ground up by cultivating healthy, nutrient rich soil. 
  • Using a rain barrel to collect water, or reusing grey water from your home. 
  • Utilizing more earth friendly, chemical free methods to control weeds. 
  • Pruning in a way that make a plant more attractive, but also prevents disease and improves health.

There are lots of small, practical ways we can work sustainable practices into garden maintenance, from planting to weeding to pruning!  And as a bonus, not only do these things support the community of plants and animals in our gardens, they can save time and money too.

Bonus Tip: Learn More About Earth Friendly Gardening

If you want to learn more about sustainable gardening all year long (yep, even in the winter!), I have a free online course called Earth Friendly Gardening: Season by Season.  There are 5 quick lessons (and a workbook) that can help you design, create, and maintain a garden that is low maintenance, lovely, and sustainable.

To learn more (and view one of the lessons right away), just click here!

Linda KelsoComment