Doing up your garden: 6 tips for smart gardeners

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Life is all about the smart choices we make for ourselves. The new generation believes in working smarter and not harder to achieve twice as much in the same time. This extends to all spheres, including fun hobby activities. Then why not extend it to your lovely garden? Everyone loves a well-maintained, neat garden, blooming with flowers and filled with thriving plants. But we also know that tending to plants, watering them, pruning, keeping them clean, well-nourished, and happy can be both difficult and time-consuming.

Tip 1: Choose low maintenance plants

With great love comes great responsibility… ah… not always. Some plants are so good and low maintenance that you will almost wish your relationships were like them.  If you are not very garden-savvy, bring these plants home: 

Aloe Vera: The little genius

We call this plant a genius as it adds to your home’s health, beauty, and décor. With little sunlight and passive watering, this plant can come handy in some home remedies too.

Snake plant/Mother-in-law’s tongue

This plant won’t mind if you remember watering it only once in a while. It, in fact, likes its soil to dry in between watering. Aptly named because of its sharp twisted outline with a yellow border (that might well stand for sarcasm), the MIL version of this plant is said to be a conversation starter among women!

Fern

Covering spaces with green lush foliage, fern varieties require just a bit of sunlight and water and an occasional prune. They look lovely both indoors and outdoors.

Daracaena

Not much for water, sunlight, or humidity, this one is a great plant for people who may want to get a plant and forget about it.

Money plant varieties

The only thing this plant needs is occasional pruning to ensure it doesn’t take over your home. Remember the saying ‘Wish money grew on trees… ' if you have as much money as the leaves of this plant, you really would be a millionaire!

Getting started

With just one Sunday break for urban working professionals, would you want to spend half of it working in your garden or relaxing in it? Besides, for those with abundant space, garden maintenance can be an even more challenging task.

Before you get started on our hacks, do run a double check to see if you have organic soil and potting mix. Studies have shown that soil laced with chemicals will have plants increasing the toxicity of the air around your house too.  

Time to apply some awesome garden hacks!

Tip 2: Cover the ground

One of the simple tricks to make your garden look amazing is having the ground covered with perennial grass. These quick to grow, easy-to-maintain ‘ground covers’ add an instant green to every nook and corner and give an amazing feel when the morning dew glistens and touches your feet.

Here are some commonly available varieties of Indian grass:

Doob/Dhruva Grass (Cynodon grass)

One of the most commonly available grasses in India, this sturdy little twig loves the sun and is drought-resistant.

Bermuda Grass (Cynodon variety)

This dense, fine leaf variety of Cynodon gives a lush green carpet feel to your garden. It is low-maintenance, but slightly prone to insects.

Paspalum

Mostly found in public gardens, this slightly coarse variety of grass has flat leaves and a short structure, and is weather-resistant and low maintenance.

Bent grass

If you are willing to go an extra mile, you may just as well get to lie on a velvet grass carpet. Lush, deep green bent grass gives an amazing look and feel to your garden, but requires extra maintenance.

In this picture, Westacott Gardens, Garden and Landscape Suppliers from Chelmsford, UK have used a green grass cover to add a lush feel to the lawn.

Tip 3: Use fertilizer sticks

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Also known as fertilizer spikes or stakes, these are compressed fertilizers available in a stick form that can be inserted into the soil. These are easy hacks to provide a constant supply of nutrition that your plants need. But before you use one, you need to understand your soil’s nutrient quotient and what your plants need. Basic soil testing kits are available in select nurseries. Once you know what your plants require, simply insert the stick in moist soil. Depending on the size of your pot, you may have to even break and insert a smaller stick or use multiple sticks for big pots.

When used right, these sticks take the guess work out of gardening. So, make your life simpler by doing this once in three to six months.  A word of caution, it is slightly tricky to use these sticks around big trees, as you may need to spread them out evenly to avoid nutrient concentration. Also, these sticks need moist soil to work well.

Tip 4: Automatic water system

The one common way that most inexperienced gardeners destroy their plants is by either over-watering or under-watering. Some plants can go without water for weeks, others may need a drizzle every day. Remembering which is what can be a taxing and time-consuming activity. Also, since you can’t take your plants on a vacation with you, a quick fix solution is mandatory.

Time to take the guesswork out of watering by installing an automatic water system! From simple DIY versions to motorized kits that need you to just fill the water tank once a week, you can choose from a variety of options depending on your needs. An advanced watering system is a one-time investment, but definitely worth it to keeping you worry free.

​Tip 5: The right lawn

Who doesn’t like to put out a patio couch on the lawn and relax with a cup of tea? But keeping the lawn well-maintained can be quite a task to take on by yourself. Try some interesting lawn hacks to get a neat look. For example, adding ground coffee can act as a fertilizer and also a natural pest repellent. Cover weeds with newspapers or pour boiling water on them to stop their growth! Don’t want ants to join your party? Place mint tea leaves, bay leaves, or cucumber peels to drive them away.  Use specific plants to drive away pests. For example, if you plant marigold around your perimeter and in between your fruits and vegetables, it can add to your lawn’s beauty and repel pests that eat away the roots. Rosemary and sage are great pest repellents too and can add a nice flavour to your food.

Tip 6: Use concrete and stone

Pavers and step stones add an amazing look to your garden. They connect the dots and guide your way through your garden and allow you to create a mood and feel for your garden. Straight and angled garden paths made of concrete give a formal feel while curved paths made with step stones give an informal casual feel. Vary the width of the path to let the visitor know that they have arrived at a destination point. For example, if you want them to stop by your manicured flower bed, increase the width of the path right beside it. Use gravel to keep plants off your path and add drama with path lighting, lampposts, lanterns, and statues.

A garden is a wonderful place to relax and unwind after a tiring day. With some neat hacks and maintenance tips, you can make this your sanctuary without breaking your back. All you need is to take time out and plan right before you get started. If you want to read more about gardening, check out This is how to create your own holistic garden.

Which idea from here inspired you the most? Let us know in the comments!
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