Low Maintenance Garden Plants

Low Maintenance Garden Plants
People are often afraid of gardens, they have a perception of the garden being a time pit, constantly requiring maintenance, mowing, weeding and pruning, and while this can be the case, it doesn’t have to be. Creating an interesting and practical low maintenance garden can be a challenge, but careful landscape design can achieve an impressive garden requiring minimal upkeep, Ideal for our busy lifestyles.

low maintenance path

Easy Care Garden Plants

Below is a list of hardy, low maintenance plants that will grow well in challenging conditions across most of Australia, including both Australian natives and exotics (please ensure these varieties are suitable for your area before planting);

  • Eucalyptus
  • Edible Olive
  • Viburnum
  • Crepe Myrtle
  • Photinia
  • Buxus
  • Franjipani
  • Star Jasmine
  • Cordylines
  • Lilly Pillies
  • Nandina
  • Eucalyptus
  • Murrayas
  • Strelitzia
  • Cycad
  • Draceana
  • Juniper
  • Agapanthus
  • Agave
  • Flaxes
  • Liriopes
  • Blue Fescue Grass
  • Lomandra
  • Mondo Grass
  • Austromyrtus
  • Banksia
  • Callistemon
  • Grevillea
  • Pennisetum
  • Westringea
  • Brachyscome


Low maintenance garden spaces can create landscape design problems. How do I design a low maintenance garden area? What should I put in my yard so it looks great and requires minimum ongoing care? Low maintenance landscapes can be full of design elements and points of interest. But before you start your easy care landscape plans, here are a few landscape design secrets to achieving a satisfying and successful low maintenance garden design;

Low Maintenance Garden Elements

Designing an easy care garden needs to be thought out carefully. There are a few landscape design tricks – Firstly you need to work out what practical functions you need your yard to achieve such as a seating/entertaining area, lawn for the kids to play on, or a swimming pool. Integrate these practical elements carefully into your garden space so that the flow between the areas is seamless and the functions don’t become secondary to the aesthetics.

Ensure that your gardens landscape design is an open and free form style. Avoid rigid straight lines and formal hedges. Hedges require loads of maintenance! As do lawns, especially in the warmer months when the last thing you want to be doing is mowing a lawn on your weekends. Decide if you even need a lawn at all, a paved courtyard can be warm and inviting if planted out with plenty of foliage. Try and add contrasting clumps of foliage to create interest and excitement to the planting design. A good design trick is over planting narrow garden beds, this adds depth to the perimeters of the garden, again making the walls feel further away. Water features tend to require ongoing maintenance, so avoid using these in a low maintenance garden.

Select the right plants for the functions you want them to achieve. For example if you are trying to screen your garden fence, choose a plant species that grows to two metres high, not four metres, avoiding ongoing pruning. Consider only the hardiest plants that can handle periods of neglect and lack of additional watering. All low maintenance gardens are at their best when planted with a full display of garden plants set out in layers including small trees, shrubs, perennials and ground covers, a full garden will create microclimates. Trees will shade understory plants and protect them from the sun, whilst also keeping the temperature down.

informal courtyard garden

As with most things, a little planning goes a long way. Adding plenty of organic matter to your existing soil will also help buffer dry periods and retain moisture in the soil for longer periods. Pavers will require less maintenance than a deck, so consider that as an alternative for a seating area. Automatic irrigation systems are relatively easy to install and can be the difference between a struggling garden and a lovely lush space. Mulching your garden beds will also help to retain moisture, as well as keep weeds down. The right plant selection is also essential.

With careful planning, the right plant selection and practical design, a low maintenance garden can be easily achieved, allowing you time to not only enjoy relaxing in your garden, but ensuring you can also get away from the garden and enjoy not being a slave to it.

Dave Limburg is a landscape designer and the owner of Online Garden Designs Australia, a unique landscape design and design consultation service via the internet. Landscape design packages and do it yourself landscape guides.