1. HOUSEPLANTS! – #1 In Low Maintenance Garden Ideas for 2021
On top of our list of low maintenance garden ideas is…houseplants! The hobby that has seemingly taken over Instagram feeds. Indoor plants don’t just look good, they help us feel great too! House plants have been proven to clean indoor air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity, and produce oxygen.
The mood-boosting effects of having houseplants in your space are comparable to a walk outdoors on a low day. Having nature around us reduces stress and increases relaxation.
Several studies have proven that even a five-minute walk in nature makes a significant difference in our moods and energy levels. Office spaces with indoor plants also equal teams that are more collaborative and healthy.
The short of it is- plants are zen. Caring for plants also increases our capacity for empathy- in turn making us better people.
Not to mention plants are easy on the eyes. A key design element in any room, nothing contributes warmth and style to space the way plants do. They provide the perfect architectural element and anchor space in an organic way.
And no matter your personal design aesthetic, a dose of green is a universally chic color choice. There are no set rules when it comes to decorating with plants, only a thousand possibilities.
Other than their innate ability to liven our moods, there is no decor that can bring warmth and life to a space more than plants do. They bring an organic element to empty space regardless of what your personal style is, no matter the room.
From playing around with decorative pots, plant shelves, and hanging vines- there are no rules in decorating with plants, only limitless possibilities and hundreds of species.
The feel-good vibe that comes with plant care is incomparable. Even now that we spend most of our time staying safe and well indoors, it becomes more imperative to let nature in our homes and care for lush greenery that decorates them. The calm they bring and their growth parallels so much of our own.
2. Tech to the Rescue!
Here’s something for those who are still cultivating a green thumb- get a little help from your smartphone! A little tech can go a long way! New apps are being released all the time for virtually any issue on the gardening book!
Need help finding the right light in your home? When to water your plan? In 2021, there’s an app or device for that.
Plants usually die from a lack or surplus of sun or water. Therefore, finding that balance is now made worlds easier. So, as you join the community of garden enthusiasts, here are some devices and apps that we recommend:
- Wondering if it’s too much or too little light? There’s an app for that! It’s easy as taking a photo too! Plant Light Meter lets you point your phone camera at the light source and lets you know if the light is just right.
- Not enough light in your space? These Gardener’s Supply grow light will provide your plants with the right amount of light it needs to grow lush and beautiful.
- If you keep forgetting to water, self-watering plants are here to save the day! These definitely are not a new thing, but they have saved a houseplant (or 10).
- Moisture meters are a lifesaver! Now, some plants can be a bit temperamental- needing moist, but not soggy soil. It can sometimes be hard to figure that out so, these moisture meters are your best friend! We recommend the Smart Plant Tracker (plant health readouts are available on its accompanying app) and the Sustee Aquameter
3. Green Walls
Although surprising, Low maintenance garden ideas include green walls. A step up from the usual vertical garden, green walls take it further by decking the whole wall in gorgeous foliage. Perfect for small spaces, apartment balconies, and even indoors – you can grow virtually anything on a green wall!
From ornamental plants to root crops and vegetables- having a green wall can be tuned to your needs and your level of gardening experience.
The best part? You can build a green wall out of anything! Spray painted tin cans, simple clay pots, gutter material, and even wooden planks. Saving you as much money as it does space.
In a nutshell, a green wall is a vertically suspended panel and plants are watered by using hydroponics. Green walls take up very little space, are easier to prune and harvest, and are such a beautiful addition to any space.
Therefore, if you are already used to working with potted plants, a vertical problem is no challenge!
4. Windowsill Herb Gardens
Not to be confused with our vegetable tip earlier, this one is actually something that can be done on an incredibly underrated space- your windowsill.
Herbs grow pretty well in containers and require only minimal care. Herbs like rosemary, basil, mint, cilantro, thyme, and mint are the easiest to grow and are readily available from your local garden store.
Some herbs can be grown from cuttings as well. For example, mint and basil can root when placed in a glass of water.
Pro-tip: Make sure you place your herbs on a sunny windowsill, or else your herbs will not make it. A south-facing window that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day is best.
Also, keep your plants away from strong drafts. A lack of sun and exposure to cold air often leaves plants leggy, thin and unfortunately leaves them with little flavor.
5. Repurposing Materials and DIY
While DIY has always been “trendy”, these days it could be considered the norm. The welcome rise of awareness regarding the impact of consumerism has many of us turning to our Google and Pinterest for ideas. Low maintenance garden ideas can look beautiful and be simple.
While there are countless tutorials out there, we’d like to offer some of our garden favorites:
- Re-purposed plant containers
- A clever gutter garden
- A letter holder turned succulent container
- Old wine cork plant markers
- Milk jug planters
- Soda bottle hanging garden
6. Good Old Composting!
The secret sauce to any success is a good foundation, and in gardening- that is soil. Plants require good nutrition to ward off pests, grow healthy, and in the case of fruits and vegetables- have better flavor.
Unfortunately, good soil seldom occurs in our urban landscapes- but that does not mean it’s impossible to have. The best way to have good soil is to make your own compost.
It’s pretty nice to note too that the main ingredient of compost is something that we usually just throw out- food scraps! So other than just having great soil for your garden, composting is great for the environment.
According to the United States Environmental Agency “…scraps and other yard waste currently account for 30% percent of trash. So composting keeps these materials off landfills where they take up space and contribute to greenhouse gas”
If you’re just about to start composting, getting a composting kit is a great first step!
7. Garden Beds
Another one of our low maintenance garden ideas to consider is your very own garden bed! (Perfect for those vegetables we mentioned earlier.)
They’re honestly not new in the realm of gardening, but there’s a reason this simple, straightforward design is back in the 2021 spotlight. It’s a beautiful feature for your outdoor space and can be modified in so many ways to fit your needs.
Having a garden bed gives you great control over your produce too. The key point here is soil health- if the soil you have in your yard just is not ideal for what you are growing, the option to use better soil mixes are totally available for you. And because they’re off the ground, the soil stays warmer and remains the best temperature for your plants!
As far as materials are concerned- wood is your best bet. A porous, air-circulation friendly material that’ll make sure that those plant roots are healthy! If you’re looking to recycle, old wood pallets and railway sleepers work well too.
8. Multi-Function Gardens
Just like every room in the house has an alternate function (or 5), gardens can be multi-purpose too! Cultivate your outdoor space to be a space for both relaxation, fitness, and work- there really is no limit to what can be done!
Isabelle Palmer, author of the book The Balcony Gardener says “ With us now using our homes as extension offices- the outdoor space now becomes essential. We can use that space to connect with nature and safely entertain our friends and family”
For a little extra time in nature and under the sun, investing the little time and money to being able to work in your garden is well worth it!
9. Grow Your Own Vegetables!
Since keeping safe and staying home is the new norm, why not take this time to learn to grow your vegetables at home? You will also get the added bonus of never having to worry about pesticides and other not so great stuff clinging to your produce. This puts growing your own vegetables on the top of low maintenance garden ideas for 2021.
It will surprise you to know that most of the vegetables we consume daily will actually thrive whether you have a full garden, some balcony space, or a raised vegetable bed. (Historically, most of our treasured recipes were made from what could be grown at home)
It does kind of seem daunting at first, but thankfully- growing your own food is not rocket science. Things like lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and other greens are quite forgiving. To start, here are a few tips
- Start small and grow things you would be using frequently.
- Vegetables like sunlight! So choose a spot with at least 6 hours of light.
- Community is key! Speak to your local farmers and other backyard gardeners to know what grows best in your area and when.
10. Say No to Plastic! – Essential in 2021 for Low Maintenance Garden Ideas
Every OG gardener usually has a stack full of un-recyclable plastic pots in a myriad of colors hidden somewhere, and this just is not okay anymore. In 2021, we’re gladly seeing a rise in the use of sustainable materials like coconut and peat fibre pots, bamboo seed trays, and wooden plant boxes. If you have space, plant directly on the ground!
While most garden centers or plant nurseries will probably hand you your new plant in a plastic pot- opt to ask for the alternative, have the plant taken out of its pot, and wrap it in recycled or newspaper.
If you are new to gardening and need a few tips, check out our beginner gardening tips here
Whether you’re a domestic goddess or a newbie to the gardening world- here are awesome (and sustainable) low maintenance garden ideas for 2021. With 2020 leaving us with more time to spend at home, gardening might just be your new favorite hobby!