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How to: Low Maintenance Garden Setup

When it comes to creating an easy to maintain garden you need to consider a few factors.

  • Garden Location
  • Soil Contents
  • Plant Selection
  • Accessibility

Garden Location

When deciding where you plan to do you gardening, consider a few factors.

  • Sun pattern
  • Availability of water
  • Water drainage

Sun Pattern

Look for a location that is not too close to a house, structure or tall trees.  Keep in mind what you are going to plant and how much sun they will need in a 24hr cycle.  Also, be aware that if you have trees near your garden, they may grow over the years and eventually shade parts of your garden.  This is something that has happen to me.   After several years, I notice the parts of my garden have become more shady due to a couple trees that have grown, not only up, but out.

Availability of Water

May life easy on yourself but having water easily accessible–as close to the garden as possible.  If you have to drag a garden hose a couple hundred feet, you might find yourself, just leaving that hose running across you yard.  Worse yet, is if you have well water and your garden is up on a hill, you might get very good water pressure.

Water Drainage

You will want to have soil that doesn’t hold the water at the roots of your plants.  If you have a lot of clay you might have to till deeper and condition the soil so the water has somewhere to go.  Also, try to not plant a garden in a low spot in your yard.  A heavy ran could come and drown your plants.

Soil Contents

Not all soil is equal.  The best you can do is try to find a place that can do a soil test.  Here in Michigan we have the Michigan State University, which offers such a service.  Learn which nutrients are present in your soil and which ones need to be added depending on the plants you are growing.

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Plant Selection

It is important to be aware of what each plant needs in terms of soil type, water drainage, space considerations and daily light requirements.  Research each plant and know to care for it, which pests to look out for and possible diseases.


When planning your garden be sure to account the your ability to access the plants.  This includes your ability to reach, so be sure to leave room on either side of your rows.  Also, give yourself some room between the rows.  This will allow you to have things like wheelbarrow or garden tractor if desired.


Source: How to Set up a Low Maintenance Garden

Source: MSU Soil Test

Source: Low Maintenance Vegetables For The Busy (Or Just Lazy) Gardener

About Gardener Joe

Every year I look in my back yard and debate on whether to have a garden again. Sometimes the effort to maintain a productful garden feels like more than it is worth. But, come spring, I inevitably give in and prepare the seedlings and work the soil. It's been that way for the last 9 years. Hopefully some of what I have learned, along with tidbits from others can help you and your garden grow.

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