A low maintenance garden is often interpreted as a space that is mostly lawn with different areas of hard landscaping. It is important to recognise the maintenance of this type of garden. Hard landscaping often needs sweeping and cleaning throughout the year to keep it looking pristine. Lawns are also one of the highest maintenance features in a garden, most people will spend 60 minutes mowing and edging their lawn every week between March and October taking up 32 hours of time over the summer.
However, there is an alternative. A well chosen planting pallet can save you time in maintenance and provide more seasonal interest than a lawn. Plants are also very useful in softening hard features such as paths, driveways, walls etc. For example a specimen shrub of small tree can be underplanted with hardy working perennials and bulbs to reduce maintenance and provide seasonal interest.
Many of the low maintenance planting pallets are inspired by planting combination and communities found in hot dry climates like the mediterranean and then tailor made to your soil type, a good example is the Gravel garden at Beth Chatto Gardens in Essex. These types of planting require minimal watering to keep the plants alive and also minimal maintenance form you allowing you to spend more time enjoying your garden and less time maintaining it.