7/17/18

A Hassle-Free Garden Guide For Time-Pressed Parents


By on 7/17/2018 05:16:00 PM

We all live such increasingly busy lives these days that it’s a wonder we can keep our homes tidy. It’s bad enough as a single, working professional - or even a working couple - but once you throw young children into the mix, life can get a little … messy. And where we spend all of our time clearing up on the inside of our homes, it’s the outside that is often neglected.

This is a huge shame when you have kids. There is nothing they love more than spending time outdoors, exploring plants, insects and rolling around in the mud! But often, the reality is that we just don’t have enough hours in the day to look after the kids, go to work, fix up the house and look after the backyard, too.

But what if there was a way to achieve complete garden joy in double quick time? And what if you create a space that required little in the way of maintenance? Would you be interested? If so, read on. Here is a hassle-free gardening guide for time-pressed - and super-stressed - parents.


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It all starts with a clearout

There’s a very good chance that if you are reading this, two things are true. The first is that you are just too busy to look after your garden properly. And if that rings a bell for you, then the second point - your garden is likely to be in a massive state of disrepair right now - is also likely to be a stone cold fact. Don’t worry; there is no shame in not having the time to do everything, especially when you have kids. And there is a relatively easy solution that shouldn’t take up too much of your time to put into place.

Check your diary and find a suitable, free weekend. Mark it as your big garden clearance day, and contact extended family members, friends, colleagues and anyone else you think might be available to give you a hand. The idea is to make this something of an event, and the more, the merrier - team efforts are a lot of fun, and if there are plenty of adults on hand to help, it means the kids can play their part, too. Bear in mind there will be a lot of mess and debris to clear up, especially if you have been a little slack with the gardening for anything over a year.

Before the big day arrives, make sure you have plenty of tools available for everyone to use - and request your guests to bring along a few themselves. Heavy duty garden bags will be essential, of course, and it’s probably only fair that you buy some tough garden gloves to ensure your helpers don’t cut their hands. One more thing - check your garden’s state at least a week before. If there is a lot of debris - and there will be more than you estimate - then it might be worth hiring a skip to put all the debris, rather than doing several car runs to your local waste management center.

On the day itself, it’s a good idea to do everything in stages - if there are enough of you, it won’t take long. The first step is to remove everything from the ground and find it a suitable home. You will find things like kids toys, fallen twigs, old garden tools - separate everything and ensure it finds either a good home or its way to the relevant trash pile. If you have a compost bin or pile, great - fill her up and you can leave it to let nature take its course.

The next step is to get everyone looking at your boundaries. Rundown gardens often result in rundown fences, trees, and bushes - so look carefully for holes in any of them. Hedgerows can suffer if left alone for a long time, but they are easily repaired - get in touch with your local garden center for more details. Fences are a more pressing issue. All rotting areas will only get worse, and while the garden is in its sparse state, it’s a good time to make the fixes.

Finally, give your garden a little deep clean. Use a pressure washer on stone, which should remove a lot of the lichen and moss that has started growing. You will need to ‘take out’ your weeds, too - if they are widespread you may need to consider weed killers, although only use variants that won’t harm your grass.


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Is it time for upgrading the garden?
 
OK, so with day one out of the way, you can start planning what your garden will look like. It should be reasonably clear, so the next stage is up to you - although it is recommended that you remember why we are doing this - to keep things as easy and stress-free as possible! The first thing to think about is your lawn. Will you keep it? If so, it is going to require a little regular work every now and again, and a lot more frequently during spring and summer. If you would like a pristine lawn, it’s really worth hiring a professional gardener - lawn care can be incredibly demanding and time-consuming. However, the reality for most parents is that there is little point investing so much time on your grass when the likelihood is your kids will be running riot over it.

A much better option might be hardscaping. According to AllenOutdoorSTL.com, it’s worth working with a professional as they will be able to landscape your garden to your liking, keeping things as simple as possible. Sure, hardscaping some of your garden will still mean you need to mow the lawn, but it won’t be weekly - every 3-4 weeks will suffice if you have enough hard space to walk on and enjoy the outdoor environment.

Finally, if all this still sounds like hard work, why not remove your lawn altogether? These days, synthetic grasses are incredibly popular for a variety of reasons. Principally, they require little in the way of maintenance. But they can also allow rainwater to drain through to the soil beneath, and as BioFriendlyPlanet.com points out, there are also some fantastic, eco-friendly designs out there.


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Plan your new garden
 
Now, it’s time to plan what is going to go in your garden. But once you have an idea of how your lawn and layout is going to look, there are a few features to consider. As you are busy, it’s unlikely a pond will be suitable, but you could consider setting up some raised beds. These don’t require much skill - check how-to guides on YouTube to get started - and can create some stunning border areas that will appeal to kids and adults alike.

As for plants, it’s best to go for varieties that require as little maintenance as possible - especially if you want an easy life. Perennials are perfect for a busy parent’s garden, as not only will they last for years with a little bit of care and attention, but you can plan them to flower at different stages of the year. And what of flowers? Marigolds are super hardy, and will grow fast and spread with ease. Try petunias, too - all you need to do once they are established is water them during the summer months. Finally, if you are feeling really lazy, consider the Zinnia plant, too. These beautiful florae are super easy to care for, as they reseed themselves and rarely need replacing. Plus, they can come in a spectacular array of colors.

Next, a little secret weapon - vegetables. You might think it takes up a huge amount of time to grow your own veggies, but it doesn’t have to be the case. As long as you do a little prep work beforehand - use the raised beds we discussed earlier - you will find they grow just fine in the right season. Plus, the kids will love watching their veggies sprout, flower, and then grow into edible food. And the chances are that they will take care of them all by themselves, once they are old enough. Vegetables - and fruits - are a perfect way to get little ones into gardening!

And what if your garden is just too big to look after properly, or if it is just too time-consuming to get out there once or twice a month? Well, why not let it grow out? You can separate walled areas to minimize the number of plants you need to look after and allow the rest to grow as nature intended. Local plants will eventually find their way to your garden on the wind, and wild, rugged, natural gardens are great for attracting all manner of wildlife.

And there you have it. As you can see, there is plenty of things you can do to get your garden up to scratch and working for you in a reasonable amount of time. Sure, there is some work involved, but the truth is that much of this work can be done over the course of two or three weekends - as long as you have a proper plan in place. Good luck - and why not let us know how it goes?


About Angela

Angela is a freelance travel writer and lifestyle blogger, blessed with 3 beautiful daughters, 5 moody cats, 1 spoiled dog, and 1 very supportive husband.

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