Design & DIY

Low-maintenance tips to spruce up your cottage garden

Low-maintenance gardening

Cottage gardens can be tricky to build and maintain. You can’t tend to them while you’re back home during the week, and you don’t want to spend your relaxing weekends fussing over every little detail. What you really need is a low-maintenance garden that looks fabulous, but is easy to put together and incredibly simple to take care of. Something you can just sit back and enjoy while you’re sunning on the deck. Here are a few simple tips that will help you plant a garden that’s the envy of your cottage community.

Make low-maintenance flowers the star

Beautiful, colourful flowers are an essential part of any garden, but they’re often too delicate to flourish in the wild environment of a cottage landscape. You need to find flowers that will dazzle in any condition. The Rio Dipladenia is the perfect choice. It can survive in dry weather, withstand unexpectedly cold temperatures, and will continue to bloom for the entire floral season. Rios will anchor your garden and keep it bright and beautiful.

Bright pink Rio Dipladenia
Rio Dipladenia are hardy as well as beautiful


Invest in good soil

Your gardens and planters need to thrive in your absence without constant watering and fertilizing, so you need to start with the best possible soil. Add some high-quality organic soil to your garden, use the same to fill your planters, and keep topping them up yearly. If you’re a composter, tossing in some of your own mix will definitely make a difference. To protect your soil, consider covering it with mulch, which will help maintain moisture and keep temperatures consistent. And if fiddling with fertilizers doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, go with a pre-fertilized option, like the Rio, which can thrive in low-maintenance soil conditions.

Rio Dipladenia in elevated planter
Add dimension to your garden with elevated planters


Add some levels

An easy way to add dimension to your garden is by placing some elevated planters in your flowerbed and using hanging baskets wherever you can. The different levels give the impression that your garden is growing up and out—a delightfully overwhelming effect. It’s especially arresting if you include spiller plants that hang down over the edges. On a practical note, the levels actually improve garden conditions because the ground plants love the drainage from baskets and planters. And to give your levels some colour, consider planting a thrive-anywhere flower like the Rio Dipladenia, which grows in pink, white, and vibrant red, and can be easily added to hanging baskets and window boxes.

Blooming white Rio Dipladenia
Plant flowers close together for a wild look


Experiment with herbs

Adding an edible element to your garden is always an excellent idea. Herbs are tasty and beautiful, and unlike fussier vegetables, they don’t require a lot of babysitting. Basil, mint, oregano, and sage, from Bonnie Plants, are all great choices, and they will also produce an irresistible savory aroma. People will be lured to your garden by the scent, and they’ll stay to admire the stunning setup.

Repurpose old household items

No decorations in a cottage garden should feel new or pristine. You want them to look warm and worn, as if they had some real history. When planting brightly coloured flowers like the Rio, give them some cottage context by placing them in an old wheelbarrow, place a wicker chair among some overflowing plants, and use old tools, buckets, sinks, and light fixtures as accent pieces. There’s no shopping or building required, and you can make good use of things that would otherwise be tossed out. Much like your cozy cottage, your garden will have that comforting lived-in look.

Potted pink Rip Dipladenia
Give bright flowers cottage context with rustic pots


Get messy

Anything goes in a cottage garden, and this is your chance to throw traditional rules out the window and create organized chaos that is easy to maintain because it’s allowed to look charmingly unkempt. Plant your flowers and plants very close together as if they were growing that way in the wild. Instead of clearly defined garden boundaries, let your plants spill out onto the lawn and over pathways. Mix perennials and annuals together, grow native plants next to vibrant tropicals like the Rio, and play with mismatching colours that urban gardeners would normally shy away from. The goal is to let your garden go a little wild so you don’t have to work so hard taming it.