Simply put, gardening can be work…or it can be fun and relaxing. At one point in my life, quite a while ago, gardening was a chore I disliked and it exhausted me. However, I knew it was not something I could just stop doing. We owned a house and we had to take care of the yard. (I’m using the “we” very loosely…my husband is not the least bit interested in yard work so I’ve been pretty much on my own since the beginning.) I decided several years ago to embrace the responsibility but I also decided that changes had to be made. In other words, I had to simplify the process. Here are 5 ways to simplify and enjoy your summer garden…from this DIY gardener who pretty much figures everything out on her own.
Oh…I’m also part of a lovely tour called Summer Simplified but I’ll tell you more about that at the end.
Deciding to plant perennials was a light-bulb moment for me. Every May, I would trudge to the garden center and purchase flats of annuals. I planted them and then had to maintain them for the rest of the summer. About 20 years ago I decided enough was enough. I did not buy even one single flat of annuals. Instead, I bought perennials. I had a patch of yard along my neighbor’s fence that I made into a perennial garden. It’s been a labor of love and not everything has survived. Here’s what it looks like today…at least one end of it. There’s clematis, peonies, dianthus, sedum and one gigantic phlox. I’ll be back soon with a full tour.
Related: How to Plant a Fence Row Garden
Every year I’m tempted to buy some annuals. I stand there at the garden center and look at all of them, but in the end I always walk away. The only place I use annuals, occasionally, is in containers on my front porch or deck. My landscaping is a mixture of low-maintenance shrubs and perennials. A little spring clean-up and a fresh layer of mulch are all it needs.
Consider plant maintenance: watering & pruning.
When we moved to Sutton Place, 25 years ago, I inherited giant hosta but little else in the way of thriving landscape…and hardly any grass due to a yard full of trees. I slowly added low maintenance plants like hydrangeas, daylilies and boxwood. Once established, they need very little care. Some people like to split daylilies when they get too big…but I just let ours go. I think I’ve split them once. Boxwood needs a trim in the early summer but other than that it’s super easy to maintain. Hydrangeas do need water, but the blooms are worth a little extra trouble! Here’s our front yard last summer:
You can read more about that here: On Sutton Place | The Front
Everything planted around our house is basically care-free. Little or no maintenance, and once established, very little watering required!
Learn more here: 10 Best Hardy Perennials
Keep a garden hose easily accessible.
Gardening and watering go hand-in-hand. You really can’t have a successful garden if you neglect your watering responsibilities. The thing to do is make the watering process as easy as possible. Strategically place hose stands in convenient places. Definitely have one in the front and one in the back. When I got the hose stand for my back yard, my life suddenly became much easier! No more dragging the hose around the house. No more coiling it on the ground. A hose stand keeps your hose clean and ready to use.
Plant in containers.
Container gardening is, in my opinion, the best of both worlds. You can have a legitimate garden, yet it’s half the work of gardening in the ground. Would I like to have lovely raised beds? Yes, actually I would. The problem is that I can’t do something like that on my own. I don’t have the skills or the tools (or the energy!) So I line my deck with all sorts of vintage containers and start planting. This year I’m growing tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and herbs. I had everything planted in just a few hours. It was fun, there was hardly any clean-up and it was budget-friendly. (More on this year’s container garden in a future post.)
More inspiration: DIY Container Herb Garden Ideas
Purchase the proper, time-saving tools.
Here are my go-to, can’t-live-without garden tools. I own and highly recommend each one.
- My dad got me the blower last summer so I would have an easier time of keeping our porch and deck clean. It is the handiest little thing ever. It’s not the most powerful but it’s perfect for small jobs and quick clean-ups. I keep it hanging on a hook right outside my back garage door. I can just grab it and go.
- The mini rake is such a time saver. Leaves tend to blow in and under everything. This little rake gets under bushes and behind the air conditioning unit. I could not live without it.
- I already talked about the hose stand.
- The cultivator is sort of like my best friend. It fluffs the mulch and rakes away any weeds.
- The hose nozzle is, simply put, amazing. It gently waters herbs and vegetables but can also reach down into a bed of thick Black-eyed Susans. One tool for many needs.
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Here are handy links to each recommended tool.
So there you have it. Even if you don’t agree with my methods, you have to admit they do simplify the process. If you love to plant annuals, go for it! I just couldn’t do it anymore…but truth be told I am always tempted by the pink geraniums!
Now it’s time to share my garden-loving friends and their tips on how to enjoy a simple summer outside. Please do stop by and visit as many links as you can. There’s decor, entertaining tips, stunning images and fun ideas galore.
Thank you so much for stopping by…see you soon!