8 Gardening Shortcuts That Save Time and Money

There’s no getting around it-maintaining a beautiful garden is a lot of hard work. But you can labour more efficiently-and put less strain on the pursestrings-with these brilliant gardening shortcuts.

1. Start Your Garden With Good Soil

Work in compost, manure or dried peat moss for nutrient-rich planting beds. Amended soil is lighter, drains well, makes for easy weeding and allows roots to establish themselves more quickly.

2. Shrink the Size of Your Lawn

Limit grassy areas to reduce time spent on lawn chores. Combine trees, shrubs, boulders and decorative mulches to fashion eye-catching, maintenance-free island beds in your front and back yards.

3. Keep Garden Tools Handy

Stash a spare set of hand tools and garden twine in a waterproof container in your garden. When you spot weeds, broken rose canes or a stem that needs tying up, you won’t have to run to the garage or potting shed for supplies.

4. Play in the Rain

There’s no better time to visit a garden centre than during a cloudburst. Nurseries are less crowded, lines are shorter and staff members are more available to answer your questions. Once the rain eases, go out and pull weeds-even clumps of crabgrass and deep-rooted dandelions pull easily out of wet soil.

5. Grow a Container Garden

When you can’t get anything to grow beneath trees or along fences, set up a multitiered container garden in the shady location. Plant shade-loving perennials and compact shrubs in appropriately sized containers; set the containers on stands in varying heights. Or use simple green pots that blend into the background, and won’t compete with the flowering show.

6. See What Works in Your Neighbour’s Garden

When walking or driving, take note of interesting plants and plant combinations. Write them down and take the list with you to the nursery-having an itemized list will speed up your shopping trips and reduce the urge to impulse-buy.

7. Fertilize Your Garden Less

Nourish gardens and containers with time-release fertilizers that continue feeding for long periods of time.

8. Prune Evergreens Later in the Season

Wait to prune evergreens, such as yews and boxwood, until they’ve produced most of their new growth. As a result, you won’t have to prune them again until next year.