Although we all enjoy a spot of gardening once in a while, no one can be under any illusion that weeding flowerbeds is a boring and laborious task. We all dream of a beautiful, easy to maintain garden that we can simply enjoy, rather than slave over for hours on our hard earned weekends. It is very possible that the secret to this is not maintenance, but preparation. It’s very easy to buy a huge bottle of weed killer and declare war on those perennials, but easier to prevent their growth from square one.
Although this technique can be adapted for any area of your garden, let’s look at creating borders in particular. The first step is removal of any existing unwanted vegetation. There are many ways you can do this. The easiest method may seem a weedkiller, and to some extent it is. However results from most common garden weedkillers may take several weeks to appear. So if you’re on a tight schedule, then manual removal of the weeds is the best option.
The next step is the most crucial in ensuring your garden is as low maintenance as possible. Purchase a good quality weed control membrane. If it’s simply for a border or flowerbed, then a mulch landscape fabric will suffice. However, a heavier duty fabric can be used for other areas (under turf, pathways etc). Landscape fabric is a ‘spun-bonded’ membrane that prevents sunlight from reaching weeds, whilst still allowing water and nutrients to filter through to keep the soil fertile. Normally black or grey in colour, it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing sight. So you may choose to cover it with a layer of mulch, gravel, or bark chippings. This has the extra benefit of improving its weed controlling capabilities.
Ensure the landscape weed fabric is situated across the full area of the border, and securely fastened with fixing pegs appropriate for the ground conditions. In order to place your desired plants in the border, simply cut a small cross in the relevant position on the garden ground cover, and plant away. You may wish to secure the fabric around the planting site with more ground pegs.
The rest of the process is entirely up to you! A great tip is to try and factor in some evergreen vegetation to keep your border looking colourful all year round, and ensure that any ‘aggressive’ plants are kept trim all year round to allow all of your flowers to flourish. Don’t forget to invest in good quality slug and bug repellents so no pesky critters use your flowerbed as a restaurant.