Designing Low-Maintenance Gardens and Terraces

by Emanuele Drago
Designing Low-Maintenance Gardens and Terraces


No time for gardening your green space? Discover on Design Italy four simple rules for designing low-maintenance gardens and terraces.


Are you lucky enough to have a small yard or patio in the city? Do you want to turn your green space into a little corner of paradise but don't have much time to devote to gardening? Not to worry. By following four simple rules you can create a stunning outdoor space without investing too much time and money, and most importantly you’ll respect and contribute to improving the environment.

Rule 1: Get rid of your grass lawn

Keeping grass healthy and green involves a lot of water, especially in Mediterranean climates, as well as managing weeds and mowing frequently. If space is tight, try replacing your grass with ground cover plants like ivy, dwarf St. John’s wort or Dichondra repens.

Rule 2: Choose native plants

Planting a garden or terrace with plants that are already in their natural environment means choosing ones that have adapted to the area’s climate and weather conditions. It doesn't make sense in a Mediterranean or dry space to use plants that require a lot of moisture, just like it doesn’t make sense to use plants that require warm, well-drained, and dry soils in a garden in the hills or mountains.

A terrace furnished with Serralunga's outdoor vases

Rule 3: Reduce water evaporation

Create shady areas with trees and shrubs and use materials like conifer bark as mulch at the base of plants, including potted plants. This will create a natural barrier that will prevent excessive water evaporation and the soil from overheating. You’ll also encourage the growth of a microsystem of bacteria and insects that are beneficial to the soil and to your plants.

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Rule 4: Choose light colors

If you have a terrace, choose light-colored plastic pots as they absorb less heat in the sun. A little secret to keeping the delicate roots of plants like azaleas or gardenias cool is to place your plant in its pot in a second, larger pot and fill the space in between the two pots with expanded clay balls. That way you’ll thermally insulate the roots of your plant, making it grow healthier.

On Design Italy you’ll find a huge selection of decorative pots for your indoor and outdoor plants. Historic Italian brand Serralunga’s collection of recyclable plastic designs are perfect for any gardening needs and also help the environment.

Now all you have to do is follow these few basic rules, and then sit back and enjoy the results!