5 Ways To Simplify and Enjoy Your Summer Garden

5 Ways to Simplify and Enjoy Your Summer Garden. Includes tips from a DIY gardener to make your gardening chores easier and quicker.

5 ways to simplify your garden peonies pin

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 decided several years ago to embrace the responsibility, but I also decided that changes had to be made in regards to how I managed the garden chores. 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!

allium globemaster in garden

5 Ways to Simplify and Enjoy Your Summer Garden

1. Plant perennials.

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, which was a chore, and then had to maintain them for the rest of the summer. About twenty 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. There’s clematis, peonies, and dianthus. Along the way I planted lavender, allium, and black eyed Susans. Last year, we moved some plants around to accommodate a smaller patio, so some daylilies were added. It’s always changing and evolving, and that keeps things interesting.

You might be thinking to yourself that planting perennials sounds like a lot of work…and it can be. The difference is that it’s not a one time thing. The flowers come back year after year…and if there is a summer that you, for whatever reason, don’t plant anything, you will still have blooms. There have been many summers where I haven’t planted one single thing!

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 patio. 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.


Tips for growing hosta plants that include where to plant, hosta plant maintenance, dividing hosta plants, and hosta plant bloom time.

2. Consider plant maintenance.

30 years ago when we moved to Sutton Place, I inherited giant hosta plants, but little else in the way of thriving landscape…and hardly any grass due to a yard full of trees. I kept all the hosta, and slowly added low maintenance plants like hydrangeas, daylilies, slow growing evergreen bushes, and boxwood. Everything planted around our house is basically care-free, and requires little or no maintenance.

limelight hydrangeas in front of gray house

3. Keep a garden hose handy.

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 to simplify the process is to 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 backyard, 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.

5 Ways to Simplify and Enjoy Your Summer Garden | Tips from a DIY gardener to make your gardening chores easier and quicker.

4. 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, in the past, I lined our deck with all sorts of vintage containers and started planting. It was fun, there was hardly any clean-up, and it was budget-friendly. Since our deck is now gone, and I’m working with a much smaller area, using containers adds interest and color to an otherwise plain space.

1summer patio decor and planters

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5. Purchase the proper, time-saving tools.

Here are my go-to, can’t-live-without garden tools. I own and highly recommend each one.

  • Worx Cordless Blower: my dad bought me this blower, so I would have an easier time of keeping our porch and patio 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.
  • Mini Garden Rake: sometimes called a shrub rake. This 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.
  • Garden Hose Stand: I already talked about the hose stand. (This is similar to the one pictured above.)
  • Hand Cultivator: the cultivator is sort of like my best friend. It fluffs the mulch and rakes away any weeds.
  • Garden Hose Wand: a hose wand 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.

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!

Thank you so much for stopping by…see you soon!

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  1. Sue Daugherty says:

    As I get older, I find I enjoy gardening less and less. The switch to low maintenance plants and landscaping has been happening here as well. I really enjoy your blog. You were the first blogger I ever followed. Stay safe.

  2. genie steger says:

    Love all your ideas! I have some the same perennials that you do, will add more!

  3. Greetings Ann~ Love what you share and so true. I’m an avid gardener, master gardener and I’m on three garden walks this summer!! I’m curious if your daylilies don’t get divided periodically, are you getting as many blooms? Because if not, that’s the reason for dividing them to promote more blooms. I’d say every three to five years easily this chore should be done. I will buy impatience for the flowerboxes, and yet stay true to perennials as well. There are friends of mine who have plant sales and make some bucks, which is nice, and yet I’m always giving my garden bounty away to be shared with friends/neighbors.

  4. Your garden looks lovely.We have been in this house 3 1/2 years and I am still moving around plants and shrubs.It’s hard to have beautiful flowers with the deer grazing on your landscaping !I am always spraying them with deer repellant.I like your container garden, easy and low maintenance.Enjoy gardening and all your flowers.

  5. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love your blog and your blogmates!! HA! I remember the front of house from previous and have see the rear but not this indepth. Just wondered, especially for the front, what, if any everygreens do you have to r in the winter time? I can’t tell from pics.

  6. This is a great timeless post. I remember the first time I read this…and you inspired me to clean my gardens up. I did, I’m happy to say…and my gardens are better for it. When this post popped up in my email again….I just had to reread it…still sound advice. Thanks again for all the inspiration! ;)

  7. I love perennials. I am a creature of seeing the same thing. New house and new backyard. Oh yummy. Big ugly bushes in front are coming out and new things will be planted. Then I do add some annuals in until I can turn them into perennials. And hostas. Oh how I love them.

  8. Shirley Wood says:

    Perennials are definitely the way to go! Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us at Merry Monday. I hope you have a great 4th of July weekend!

  9. Taylor-Made Homestead says:

    I’m a BIG fan of care-free plants! LOL Love this post, thanks for sharing! Thanks for sharing! (Stopping by from the Dream-Create-Inspire Blog Hop)

    ~Taylor-Made Homestead~

  10. good tips! I agree on the annuals. Too expensive and hard to maintain. And in Wisconsin, it seems by the time they actually start growing and looking good, they are hit by frost and die. As far as perennials, the only thing I would add is beware of high maintenance perennials. I made the mistake of planting too many aggressive perennials that overtook my garden, and now I’m in the process of re-doing all my gardens and removing those plants. You don’t have any of those listed other than your phlox. Ugh! I will never plant another phlox as long as I live. They reseed everywhere!

  11. Vanessa D. says:

    I am loving perennials for the garden beds – especially Hosta. They are so easy and forgiving. Keeping a hose handy is a big one – my front outdoor faucet isn’t working properly so I have to drag hoses every time I water and then wind them back up to cut the grass. Fighting a kinking hose to water is the worst.

  12. Enis Poirier says:

    Your gardens are lovely. Right now I am having a hard time keeping up with my flower garden. We live on a corner lot and our land is raised with a stone fence above the slope. Years ago I planted a perennial garden on the slope, because my husband had taken a heart attack and cutting the grass on the slope was too much for him. I, in my wisdom, decided to get rid of the grass and plant perennials and use red mulch. for years it was beautiful. Now it is a full time job for me and I just cannot or do not, want to spend all my time weeding. Any suggestions on how I can still have a colourful garden but with a lot less work.
    P.S. I love to garden but not everyday until I am ready to sleep.

  13. Diane@InMyOwnStyle says:

    Hi Ann – You do flowers and gardens so well. I look forward to having my planters have lots of flourishing flowers, but living in a new planting zone to me is taking some getting used to. Some of my faves can’t take the heat.

    Thanks for inviting me to be a part of Summer Simplified. XO

  14. Heather Luckhurst says:

    What stunning gardens you have Ann!! Thanks so much for your helpful tips! I struggle to grow hydrangeas – but I’m determined to find the right spot for one in our yard. Thank you for the tour of your gardens!

  15. I started out gardening in containers, but wanted to expand. So I’ve been getting two galvanized watering troughs each year – they’re expensive so I’m adding this way, plus this is a good way to find out if I want to expand further the next year. I only have four of them so far. Results were great last year. I also have three galvanized tubs for gardening. One I already had and the other two I added this year when I found a great deal in Amazon Warehouse. For composting I’m using galvanized trash cans that are buried half way in the ground. Everything looks so nice together and I find it a joy to tend each day. I did get some help from my husband drilling drainage holes in the bottom of all containers. Btw, I have the 4’x2’x1′ watering troughs…saves on the expense of filling them up. I love all of your tips for easy gardening!

  16. Debbie Manno says:

    Ann you sure do make it look simple! I wish it were for me. I love your gardens!

  17. Hi SUTTON Place. I found a pin off Pinterest. I typically don’t read blogs.. Don’t know why, ohh that’s right there are a zillion of them and mostly adds.. I love your blog.. I LOVE gardening. I did not know this until recently. I lived in Atlanta in a neighborhood that if your front yard at the very least did not sparkle …. The neighborhood frowned! So I had a beautiful yard that came with a high price of landscapers, plants, etc.. when I had free time… Well it went into maintenance. I was self employed, single and young… So yes I wanted my yard to look fabulous… But I did not have the time needed to do so. That is when I too learned how to use NO MAINTENANCE plants, mondo grass, hydrangeas, gardenias, other than watering and feeding. I had beautiful flowers that I could cut for the house. Very southern..

    6 years ago I became deathly ill… With doctors baffled over what the true illness was.. I found peace in a garden. I had to move to South Albama to be near family…at the age of 40. My only comfort was gardening., I have learned a lot from my aunts and the community. The main thing I learned is that gardening is truly a passion… MY PASSION!! . And since I had gone insane with the non stop medical community… I found myself again in a garden.

    I have been diagnosed with Lupus and LYME. Both are very bizarre.. My boyfriend calls me the MIDNIGHT GARDNER. So very true. I will subscribe to your blog and re pin on Pinterest. Thank you… For a lovely blog. You have inspired me… Carmen in L.A. Lower Alabama

  18. What are the yellow flowers?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Nancy! Do you mean the yellow flowers in the first picture? They are coreopsis. The variety is called Moonbeam.

  19. Donna Marie says:

    I love your blog!

  20. Thanks for your tips. I have been thinking about a leaf blower. I am looking forward to your garden tour. I always enjoy your garden and yard posts. Will you be including your shed this year? I would like to see what you have by the shed up close. It really looks nice with your garden. Enjoy this weather. It will be a little cooler this week.

  21. I love this post Ann, so inspirational! Your yard is so organized and beautiful!!

  22. Great blog! I too am creating a perennial garden. However I’m still purchasing annuals to fill in. I bought an entire flat of pink geraniums plus a few marigolds. I am enjoying the journey. Thanks for the tips on how to simplify. I’m sure it won’t be long and I’ll have a low maintenance garden too.

  23. Thanks for the gardening info. I am into perennials. My peonies are budding! Can’t wait. I will have lots of blooms soon.

  24. kelly wilkniss says:

    I love to fluff my mulch too Ann! LOVE your excellent garden tips. I am in need of a blower so I will be checking your out. Thanks so much!!

  25. Janet (shabbyfufu) says:

    Gardening in the rest of the country is so different than gardening down here in the tropical climate that I live in. We try and keep it as maintenance free as possible, but it’s next to impossible! Love what you’ve done in yours.

  26. Excellent advice. I love that hose holder – both the design and the fact that it has legs to stabilize it.

  27. Vanessa Hunt says:

    Your garden and yard are absolutely beautiful Ann and a few years ago I gave up on annuals too! It really does make life so much easier and I love getting to pick flowers from my yard all summer long. So fun to be part of this tour with you!

  28. Beautiful yard and great tips!

  29. I started planting only perennials in my gardens a few years ago too and just plant annuals in four containers for the porch. I started raised vegetable garden beds to standing height about three years ago and will never go back to planting vegetables in the ground. Yellow neck squash, tomatoes, and potatoes grow very well in large pots discarded from evergreens we planted for a windbreak. Watering is easy and quick and no longer requires hours to do so. It’s been well worth it.

  30. Your house and yard are lovely. Do you have good soil where you live? Ours is hard clay once you get down about 5-6 inches. We have a lot of flowers but creating any new planting areas is really hard work. I suddenly wised up like you and decided to plant mostly perennials. I still fill a few planters with annuals but it is nice that we don’t have to redo everything every spring. My husband has 24 dahlias planted this year. He got into growing dahlias three years ago and loves them. They’re a lot of work too. But he does it and I just enjoy the blossoms.

  31. Ann your home is beautiful! I am going out today to get that hose stand! mine is always laying on the ground this is so much prettier!

  32. Kris {Driven by Decor} says:

    I’m new to gardening (our last house was super low maintenance compared to this one) so I appreciate tips for making things easy. I need to get one of those hose stands – we have a hose reel/box and it’s just such a pain. Your garden looks just beautiful!

  33. laura janning says:

    love your tips. I am determined to go with no annuals one of these years. this year I was pretty darn close but couldn’t resist the petunias that were on clearance. Happy summer!

  34. As a single female I can totally relate to this post. I love to plant flowers and work in my yard but I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all. Your ideas for perennials and container gardening will be fun for me to put into place. You have a lovely house and yard. Thank you for sharing!

  35. Ann, you are so right. Perennials is the way to go. I don’t plant flats of flowers anymore either. Back breaking and usually the deer feasted on them. I want more hydrangeas or something planted in the back so I can enjoy them from the deck. Your yard is beautiful!

  36. Thank you so much for this! I think I can use all of these items and really appreciate your advice.

  37. Nan, Odessa, DE says:

    Anne, you have it figured out!
    I agree. This is the only way to enjoy a garden.
    Sometimes, I will plant my favorite, zinnias, in the wheel barrel. This is a nice way to enjoy some annuals.
    Plus you can change the direction of the wheel barrel as you water.
    I definitely want and need to learn more about growing vegetables in containers.
    I have lots of herbs growing with continued success!
    Help with the vegetables. I want to grow the yellow squash. I know I need several plants. They are my families all time FAVORITES.
    I know they are vine and spread. How would you handle that in a container? Suggestion on container?
    Any suggestions will be appreciated!

    1. I found success in growing herbs by changing my soil mix to 50/50 Promix BX and Bumper Crop. Put a layer of mulch on top, water frequently. Pots dry out quick. You will have gorgeous herbs in no time!

  38. Gloria Leap says:

    Hi Ann, This was your best so far !! You are right , you can’t stop gardening once you start. Here in New York our winters are always longer than I need them to be ! My husband and I are native NYers and will probably never leave. Soooo… Spring is so welcome and I love flowers. Our age and aches and pains are starting to win, so your perennial idea sounds perfect. I still need some annuals ,though ! Thanks, Gloria