When you use gardening hacks is it still gardening? Well, if the professionals can use gardening hacks and ‘cheat’ then why can’t you? Here’s how (guilt free)
For many, gardening is one of the great pleasures of life – something you do for its own sake because it’s enjoyable. For others, though, it’s a chore. People like the effect of all their hard work, but going to the effort of manicuring their garden is a significant hassle.
It turns out, though, that you can have the best of both worlds… with a few gardening hacks. On the one hand, you can have a garden that looks stunning and, on the other, you don’t have to spend hours slaving over it. What’s more, you rarely have to make compromises. Your garden can often look just as good as that of someone who has spent weeks and months trying to get the perfect look.
So what’s the solution here? What can you do to cut down on the time you spend in the garden without ending up with a muddy patch of grass and weeds everywhere? Let’s take a look.
Gardening Hacks! Plant Perennials
A lot of plants only last for a season – maybe two. Daffodils are the worst. You have to plant each bulb individually. And when they do finally pop up, they only last a week or so.
Perennials are different. These plants return year after year, sprouting colorful flowers, without you having to replant or reseed. It all happens naturally.
Flowering bushes are a big favourite. Often these just need a slight prune after they flower to ensure that they return the following year with luscious colour.
Gardening Hacks! Add Windbreaks
Windbreaks are a great way to increase the longevity of certain species of plants in your garden. Jerusalem artichokes are among the best if you’re looking to protect plants on your veg patch.
Gardening Hacks! Stop Soil Testing
Many gardeners are obsessed with the pH of their soil. Too acidic, and it’ll start fostering the growth of moss and other nasties you don’t want ruining the aesthetic. Some decide, therefore, to invest in soil testing kits – devices that they poke in the ground to detect the level of acidity (and, by extension, whether it is suitable for growing particular species).
Much of this, though, is unnecessary. If you notice the development of acid-loving species like moss, just add a bit of lime to the affected area and turn it over. If you’re planting fresh, just add some compost and mulch to the soil to provide the nutrients your plants need to thrive. It’s that simple. Your testing kit can stay in the shed.
Gardening Hacks! Use Artificial Grass
Maintaining a traditional lawn is a massive hassle. First, you have to seed a species of grass suitable for your climate. Then you have to water it regularly to ensure that it gets a foothold. After that, you have to wait a couple of seasons for it to thicken. And then you have to continue feeding and watering it regularly to make sure that it thrives. It’s a massive effort.
Artificial grass, by contrast, brings none of these problems. You just lay it down on the ground, and it remains as green as it ever was, year after year. Also, you never need to water it. It looks good even in the summer drought season.
So what’s the catch here? Well, artificial grass is synthetic, so it won’t provide a habitat for local wildlife. But aside from that, most people will appreciate the benefits that it brings.
…..yet more great gardening hacks!
Use A Sprinkler
Lugging a watering can around your garden, tending to each plant individually is the old way of doing things. Sure, you can ensure that every plant has just the right amount of hydration that it needs, but it takes a lot of time. You’re forever walking to and from the outdoor tap, filling up your can and lugging it to different sections of your garden. It’s not fun.
Sprinklers provide a much better solution. While they’re not as targeted as a watering can, they’re certainly a massive time saver.
Modern-day sprinkler products have come on leaps and bounds from their predecessors. You can programme them to switch on at a time of day of your choosing, and control each unit in your system individually, should you need to.
Of course, you don’t even have to go down the high-tech route if you don’t want to. A lot of gardeners like to punch holes in an old section of hose, place it strategically around their beds and then switch the water on. Under pressure, the water shoots out in all directions, creating a makeshift sprinkler.
Use Twig Support
Keeping your flowers standing upright can be a challenge, especially if you have a lot of wind or rain in your area. Garden centre market stake products for this task, but there’s no need to go to that sort of expense.
Twigs lying around your garden as just as effective – and they look more attractive to boot. Just rest the flower on a natural fork in the twig or lash the stem and then wait for the plant to become stronger and more robust.
Use Weed Control Fabrics
Weeds are annoying problems for most gardeners. These wayward plant species have a nasty habit of returning year after years, despite your best efforts.
The most likely place for weeds to show up is in areas just beyond the sphere of influence of your existing plants, usually around the edges of your flower beds. Many gardeners spend hours each week in the spring and summer trying to control their growth, often to no avail.
The good news, however, is that there is a simple solution: weed control fabrics. You place the material on the ground around your flower beds, and it prevents fresh weeds from springing up, stopping them from accessing the sunlight that they need to survive.
Cover Ground With Cardboard To Avoid Digging
Traditionally gardeners would spend most of the winter digging soil, churning it over to provide optimal conditions for the growing season in the spring and summer. Keeping the ground in good condition in the interim, however, is difficult. You either have to continually dig it through or just accept that you’ll have a lot of weeds come the spring.
Smart gardeners, though, have found a way to avoid this problem altogether by covering at-risk areas of soil with cardboard, held down by bricks or rocks. The cardboard denies plants underneath access to sunlight, ensuring that they remain dormant until you’re ready to plant.
Don’t Worry About Scrubbing Plant Pots At The End Of The Season
Right now it is trendy to scrub down plant pots at the end of the season to prepare them for the year ahead, but there’s generally no need. The only people who need to be careful are those who have had an aphid infestation or a sick plant which could pass the disease onto another.
Here you want to make sure that you wash and scrub them, removing any eggs or residues that could cause problems for the following season. Otherwise, just give them a quick brush down before you put them into storage.
Pave A Large Chunk Of Your Garden
Unpaved gardens are traditionally a lot more challenging to look after than paved versions. There’s more lawned area, more beds, and more shrubs. For this reason, covering over a significant chunk of your outdoor space with attractive brickwork and cut down the amount of time you need to dump into your garden considerably.
Don’t Bother Growing Fruit Or Vegetables
Growing fruit and vegetables might sound like a nice idea, but it is a massive time sink. Fruits and veggies are notoriously tricky to get right and often require you to spend hours each week tending them, often with very little to show for it.
Here’s a pro tip for anyone who wants to save time in the garden: stick with non-edible plants. Edible varieties are a nightmare.
Keep Your Borders Shallow
We’d all like to have massive, deep borders with flowers stretching back for meters. But keeping them in good shape is far from easy. Getting to plants at the back for weeding, deadheading and staking is a massive hassle that eats into your time.
Expert gardeners, therefore, recommend that you stick with shallow borders, less than 1.5 meters in depth where possible. This way, you can access all the plants in the border without having to go on an expedition.
Choose Evergreen Shrubs
Annuals and perennials require a lot of work to keep in good condition. They can look great, but they need a lot of effort. You’re forever staking, weeding and deadheading throughout the year.
Evergreen shrubs, however, lead to no such complications. You just plant them, make sure that they have sufficient water, and that’s it. Then, in the summer, you get your hedge trimmer out and pare them back if they become overgrown. Sure, they’re a little bit less appealing than annuals, but they stay green all year round, making your garden look great. Remember, today you can get a whole host of different evergreen plants to suit practically any taste.
So, are you going to try any of these gardening hacks to reduce the amount of time you spend in the garden?