The amount of time you must devote to your yard on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis should be a major consideration when thinking about an overall design and its future maintenance.
Unless you have a very simple, easy-care garden, with hard landscaping and evergreen planting, the list of tasks normally changes seasonally, with less to do in the cooler winter months. In high-maintenance garden with mixed flower borders, lawns, fruit, trees, and a vegetable plot, spring and summer are very busy seasons. Lawn-mowing, hedge trimming, pruning and feeding fruit trees, sowing and transplanting vegetables, plant propagations, and ongoing cultivation, all take time. This may be the garden you want but be realistic about how much time you can spare to keep it looking good. Working in your garden, watching it mature, and admiring the results, is immensely pleasurable but do plan for maintenance and advance, and budget to bring in help if necessary.
GARDEN MAINTENANCE THREE TIMES PER WEEK
Most small yards will not need attention more than two or three times a week at most, although a yard filled with lots of pots will require daily watering in hot, dry spells. Generally larger gardens with lawns, mixed borders, a diverse range of plants, and productive growing areas will take up more time.
ONCE A WEEK GARDEN MAINTENANCE
This is possibly the most common category, especially for people who only have spare time on weekends. Lawns require weekly moving and edge-trimming in summer, and weeds need to be kept in check throughout the garden.
TWICE A MONTH GARDEN MAINTENANCE
Most shrubs, climbers and perennial plants require attention at intervals. Seasonal pruning may be required in spring and fall, borders need weeding and feeding, and flowering plants such as roses should be deadheaded regularly. Lawns are impractical in this category, although meadows are an option.
SIX TIME A YEAR GARDEN MAINTENANCE
Garden requiring only infrequent attention will exclude lawns and hedges. Plan for “low”, rather than “no” maintenance, to avoid the sterile look. Many trees and shrubs only need an annual clean-up, and hard landscaping, with just occasional attention.