Onions being pulled from the ground

How to Garden Effectively if You’re Short on Time

In this blog, we’ll provide some quick, easy tasks that will have your garden grinning, gleaming, and good to go in no time.

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Time – and the lack of it - is something many of us struggle with. This not only applies to things like time to exercise, practice your hobbies, or create milestone moments with your family and friends; it also applies to your garden. For many people, their garden is their pride and joy, but how can you maintain your yard, lawn, flower beds, and veggie patch if you’re working long hours or trying to juggle life’s inevitable onslaught of chores?

Short on time? We've got you covered

In this blog, we’ll provide some quick, easy tasks that will have your garden grinning, gleaming, and good to go in no time. For more handy time-saving tips, read What to Do in The Garden With an Hour or Less (countryliving.com). Having the right tools also makes gardening a doddle if you’re strapped for time. With these handy accessories from Rhino Greenhouses Direct gardening will be easy and breezy because you’ll be organised and on the ball.

Keep your eyes on the prioritisation prize

The key is not to become overwhelmed. Try to maintain smaller, achievable tasks often and be patient with the results. Tweaking and even transforming your garden doesn’t require an entire weekend’s slog. Many small projects can be done and dusted in an hour or as little as five or ten minutes. The “little and often” approach is much more effective, making gardening fun instead of stressful and exhausting.

Get weed wise

Those pesky weeds – the bane of every gardener’s life. Ironically weeding is also one of the simplest and easiest answers to staying sane and savvy when you’re low on time. Weeds seem to pop up quickly without warning, so it’s good practice to deal with them sooner rather than later. If you spend a few minutes each day removing rogue weeds, you’ll prevent them from completely taking over and have a neat and tidy garden.

Don’t forget to deadhead plants

This is a superbly effective and efficient gardening task because it’s simple to fit a few minutes of deadheading into a busy schedule and has many benefits. Deadheading plants removes wilting, unattractive flowers and encourages the plant to generate more blooms. It also stops plants from running to seed.

Trim ‘n tidy

Edging the lawn is a fabulous “trick” if you don’t have time to give it a more thorough mow. Merely trim the messy edges that overhang borders, and the lawn will promptly look much neater.

The magic of a good mow

Even if you have 30 minutes to spare (provided you don’t have acres of lawn), a regular mowing regime will ensure your lawn is greener, healthier, and more drought resistant. Don’t cut it too short in the mistaken hope you can get away with mowing less often – this weakens the grass and allows weeds to take hold in bare spots.

Multitasking mulch

Mulch is a true miracle worker, saving time on weeding, watering, and fertilising. It not only instantly “jazzes” up a garden but also suppresses weeds, retains water and insulates the soil. One application in spring is all you require. As it breaks down, this annual layer of mulch will also reduce the amount of fertiliser and supplements you need to add to your soil.

The magic of minimalism

Okay, so we’d all love a garden worthy of being judged at the Chelsea Flower Show. However, a super simple, tidy garden will be much more convenient to maintain than an elaborate landscape. There are so many low-maintenance alternatives for you to grow and care for if you have a hectic schedule. Why not opt for patios with pots or raised flower beds and sculptured features? An eye-catching arrangement of containers with potted plants, flowers, shrubs and veggies adds a stunning pop of greenery or splash of colour. A gorgeous greenhouse such as this versatile one from Rhino Greenhouses Direct will not only add a focal point, but it can also help keep things in order – thereby cutting down on the valuable time wasted looking for all your paraphernalia.

No more wondering when to water

Watering is one unavoidable garden chore. By automating your watering programme to a set schedule (with anchored emitters for containers or soaker hoses for perennial borders) and using rainwater collection kits to harvest precious nutrient-packed rainwater, you can become more cost and time efficient.

Plant self-sowing annuals

Trim your time shopping and planting! Annuals add invaluable colour and irresistible interest and bloom for weeks, if not months. Plenty of annuals plant themselves by reseeding, saving you time and money. Some popular self-sowers are tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis), flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris), and purple perilla (Perilla frutescens).

Put some pep in your patio

If you have a spare hour, it pays to get the patio ready so that you’re not stuck trying to spruce up your space when a sunny weekend arrives. Clean half the patio at a time by shifting furniture, pots and features to the other side. Brush off all the debris with a stiff bristle brush. Sweep the patio, and if you still have time, give it a scrub with patio cleaner or soap and water to remove any dirt and grimy build-up.

Choose no-prune shrubs

Many shrubs and hedges can quickly become straggly, scraggly eyesores because you simply don’t have time to prune them properly. Instead of a high-maintenance yew hedge, why not replace it with a shrub that will naturally stay neat and compact such as ‘Green Mound’ boxwood (Buxus ‘Green Mound’), which tops out at 3 feet tall and wide.

These larger shrubs also require minimal pruning:

  • doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum)
  • spirea (Spiraea spp)
  • pittosporum (Pittosporum)
  • ceanothus (Ceanothus)

Artful dodger

Obviously, the crowning glory of any garden are the living components. However, when time isn’t on your side, why not add a few focal points to direct attention away from less-than-perfect plants or slightly tatty tangles? One beautiful piece of garden art will cleverly disguise a multitude of garden flaws. From a birdhouse to an arbour, a moss-covered statue, a fountain or even an antique bicycle will instantly add interest and fill in bare spots or slightly unappealing patches.

Hooray for hiring help

So you’re putting up the white flag and admitting you didn’t get around to setting and keeping your gardening ground rules. Or maybe you’ve taken on a more ambitious job than you can handle. Why not get some help? You could get a local youngster to do a spot of weeding or mow your lawn for pocket money or even rope your friends into a “garden party” with a bit of extra labour thrown in before they can claim their Pimms. Hiring landscaping and garden maintenance services can take a massive load off and give you time to get to the more rewarding and creative aspects of gardening.

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