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Plant a Low-Maintenance Garden

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

If you want to spend more time enjoying your garden than working in it, you need a low-maintenance version. Try these six tips to help you plant a garden that will save you time -- and still look great.

Plant perennials.
Perennials, such as daylilies, peonies, and daisies, come back year after year. That means you don't have to spend time each spring on your knees replanting your garden. Buy once and enjoy for years -- that's a good return on your investment.

Choose drought-resistant plants.
Xeriscaping is landscaping designed to save water. By grouping plants with similar watering needs and choosing plants that don't require much moisture, you'll spend less time watering. That's a perfect fit for a low-maintenance garden.

Drought-tolerant plants, such as coneflower, daylily, ornamental grasses, and butterfly weed, make gardening easier because they require less care.

Look for the WaterWise symbol on plant tags. This means that plants need less moisture to grow and maintain, so they're perfect for areas that are drought-prone or have water restrictions.

Go native!
No matter where you live, there are plants that evolved to survive in your weather and soil. These plants are called natives. For example, if you live in an area that was once prairie, natives such as coneflower and butterfly weed should excel in your garden.

Ask your Lowe's Garden Center expert about native plants in your area. They're just right for a low-maintenance garden.

Mulch.
Mulch protects plants from erosion, puts vital nutrients back into the soil, stops weeds, and helps retain soil moisture.

And if that isn't enough, mulch also looks great. It makes a garden bed look neat and tidy, and it connects plants in a cohesive design.

Group plants with similar needs.
Hostas and begonias like shady, moist areas. Group these plants together rather than with companions that prefer drier conditions. That way you can direct extra water only to the plants that really need it.

Use drip irrigation.
It's an easy way to keep your plants watered without lugging watering cans or a hose all over your yard. Just install drip irrigation in your garden beds, connect to a hose, and water when your plants are thirsty. Water is delivered at ground level, not splashed on foliage where it quickly evaporates or might cause foliar disease.

Drip systems are easy to install, and you can disguise the tubing with a layer of mulch. (For heavily planted beds, consider substituting a soaker hose.) Make watering even easier by hooking the irrigation system to a timer.

If you love your garden but are short on time, these low-maintenance tips will help you stay ahead of the curve.