5 Tips For a Simpler Garden: Create A Beautiful Space With Ease

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These 5 tips for a simpler garden incorporate techniques to grow your own beautiful garden, even if you’re short on space, time, or experience.

dark pink peonies in front of wood fence 2024

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. At that time, we lived in an older home, with a large yard. We had to maintain and care for everything.

limelight hydrangeas with mulch

At some point, and I don’t remember exactly when, I 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. What follows are 5 tips for a simpler garden, and they can work for everyone, no matter where you live, or how much experience you have.

allium millinium 2024

Plant Perennials

Deciding to plant perennials was a light-bulb moment for me. In my younger days, when May rolled around, I would trudge to the garden center and purchase flats of annuals. I planted them, which was a chore in itself, and then I had to maintain them for the rest of the summer. I finally decided enough was enough, and one year instead of annuals, I bought perennials.

fall bulb planting allium in garden on sutton place

At the Sutton Place house, I had a patch of yard along my neighbor’s fence that I made into a perennial garden. It was a labor of love, and there was definitely a learning curve. I planted hosta, coreopsis, clematis, peonies, daisies, and dianthus. After that, I planted lavender, allium, and black eyed Susans. When we moved some plants around to accommodate a smaller patio, some daylilies were added. It was always changing and evolving, but that kept things interesting.

mature hosta plants along railing 2024

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 were many summers when I didn’t plant one single thing!

flower planter with layered doormat 2022

I do use annuals in containers on our porch and patio. Planting annuals in containers is smart because you can easily move them around to get the best light, and change your space’s look. It’s a great way to garden in small spaces, and enjoy colorful flowers seasonally.

large limelight hydrangeas in front of colonial home

Consider Plant Maintenance

32 years ago when we moved to Sutton Place, I inherited a few 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 the Sutton Place house was basically care-free, and required little or no maintenance.

sugar maple house on sutton place blog

The landscaping at our current home is a mixture of low-maintenance shrubs and perennials. Our spring chores consist of cleaning up just a bit, and adding a fresh layer of mulch. Very simple indeed!

garden hose hanging on wood fence

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. To keep your hose off the ground, hang it from a fence, or use a hose stand. Another option, and one I use at our current home, is a coiled hose. They are lightweight, and don’t take up much room.

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, and later our patio, with all sorts of vintage containers. It was fun, there was hardly any clean-up, and it was budget-friendly. Since we moved, and I’m working with a much smaller area, using containers adds interest and color to an otherwise plain space.

garden tools in wood bowl with garden gloves pot of basil

Purchase The Proper Tools

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Here are my favorite, 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. We had a similar one at the Sutton Place house.
  • Coiled Hose: I have two of these, one in the front, and one in the back. I love them!
  • Garden Tool Set: 3 handy tools for planting and keeping your containers looking good.
  • Garden Hose Wand: a hose wand is, simply put, amazing. It gently waters herbs and vegetables, but can also reach down underneath shrubs or hydrangeas. One tool for many needs.
  • Garden Gloves: protect your hands from dirt and bugs!
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Simple gardening can be a rewarding hobby that doesn’t require a lot of space or expertise. By using containers for annuals, choosing low-maintenance perennials, and following basic care tips, anyone can create a beautiful garden. So, grab some gloves and start planting—your green and colorful garden awaits!

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8 Comments

  1. We’ve lived in our home for 41 years…but it took me at least 20, to find these things out for myself. I was always too busy raising my boys, and there just wasn’t the time. You are spot on…I do all of these suggestions and they work! For the record, I’m still reworking my perennials, and buying more, or splitting them. It’s a worthwhile hobby though, and I will do it for as long my body allows. Our home sits on a corner, so I have three sides to make pretty…a lot of work, but a lot of reward, too. Enjoy your day! ;)

    Enjoy your day! ;)

  2. Thanks! I needed this post right about now! I’m into simple and easy and these ideas have me ready to add some color outdoors.

  3. What a timely post! Your plantings show your signature style as well. I have planted annuals for many years and have slowly integrated perennial plantings as well. We have had a warm and early Spring this year and I have tried to hold off planting much because, in the past, a May cold spell is not unusual. Our area of South-Western Pa. has had many weather changes in the last three years and even the Farmers Almanac has not even been close. That said, your borders look so nice, so neat, and clean. I think hosta is the perfect base for any bed and yours are beautiful. Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration. I need to get to work!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Cheryll…thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Here in Ohio it’s just getting warm enough to start planting. I need to get busy as well!

  4. I always enjoy your gardening posts! I have been adding more perennials to the yard. This year I replaced a couple of whiskey barrels with a Vego-Garden container. It is sort of like a stock tank but no bottom. It comes in different colors and you can adjust the size by adding or eliminating panels. I love it and it is great for our small backyard. I also want to thank you for the calendar graphic post that you put out each month. I use it on my iPad and computer. I am always excited to see the monthly design! I love your style and appreciate your efforts.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Teresa! I have been seriously thinking about getting a tank-style planter for our backyard. I’m just not sure I am up to the challenge. lol. Did you fill the whole thing with dirt, or did you add plastic jugs/bottles to the bottom before adding the dirt? I know it’s bottomless and I could set one right on the stones that line our fence. It would take a great deal of dirt though. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

  5. what is the plant in the picture beside the coiled hose?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Barb…I think it’s a climbing French rose.