Designing Beautiful Borders

Plants for a low maintenance garden.

I often get asked to design “low maintenance” planting schemes, as people have limited time to spend gardening, or believe they lack the skills and confidence to tackle certain gardening jobs.

Low maintenance planting schemes do not have to mean “boring” and there are some lovely plants available that perform without having to be pruned, divided, stroked, or talked to.

For a plant to succeed it needs to be given the right conditions to grow and adequate space to grow into. You also need to be prepared to water your plants until they have established.  After which you can pretty much sit back and let your garden work for itself.

Below are some great low-maintenance plant options which can really lift a garden.

 For structure

Pittosporum “Golf Ball”

pittosporum golf ball.jpg

Attributes: Grows into a ball shape without the need to prune.

Requires: Full sun to part shade in sites which don’t get waterlogged


For great foliage

Fatsia japonica “Spiders web”


Attributes: Amazing foliage which creates a lush, calm feeling in the garden

Requires: Partial shade  and a bit of space ( grows to 2.5m)


For Flower Power

Geum “Totally Tangerine” 

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Attributes: Bright orange flowers for up to 7 months

Requires: Full sun. Remove old foliage in late winter


Salvia nemorosa “Ostfriesland”


Attributes: Spires of violet flowers that last for months. Plant them with the geum above for some an intense colour experience!

Requires: Full sun and soil which doesn’t water log. Cut back dead foliage in late winter.

Winter flowers

Viburnum tinus “Eve Price”

Attributes: One of the UK’s longest Flowering shrubs

Requires: Full sun to partial shade, plus lots of space (grows to 3m)


Best for a shady wall.

Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris

 hydrangea petiolaris.jpg

Attributes:  Self clings so no support structure necessary

Requires: Copes with shady dry areas – needs a large wall or fence to climb


Beautiful Blossom 

Cornus “Florida”

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Attributes:  Small tree so great for smaller gardens. Gorgeous bract like flowers in May and great autumn colour. 

Requires: Full sun to partial shade.


Late season colour

Japanese anemones

jap aneme.jpg

Attributes: Very pretty flowers in white or pinks. Bee friendly and flowers well into Autumn

Requires: Full sun to partial shade

High impact

Bulbs are the archetypal low maintenance plant. With loads of varieties to choose from, you can create colour for much of the year. Once flowered they die back naturally and hibernate until the following year.  Zero effort!

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