In Defense of Lazy Gardening

This morning as I was walking Dog, I passed by that house.

You know which one I mean, right? There’s one in your neighborhood too. It’s the one with the perfect yard.

Perfect yard

The grass is perfectly green, the bushes are perfectly shaped, the flowers look like they were planted with a ruler and level.

Walking by such a yard used to fill me with envy and shame, for I knew I had no chance of joining their anal-retentive ranks. Frankly, I was too dang lazy.

Since then, I’ve come to realize there are lessons to be learned by lazy gardeners. Highly important lessons. Lessons that can change lives!

Okay, I can tell you’re skeptical, so here are three such lessons from my own yard.

Side yard
View from our gate

First, I should explain that when we moved here, the entire backyard was grass. Bermuda grass.

I really hate Bermuda grass. Sure it can take heat and drought, but it creeps into flower beds and is unpleasant to walk on. Plus, Husband and Son are allergic to it, meaning I did the mowing.

I hate mowing!

Lazy Gardener Method #1

Here’s a tip for removing grass without chemicals: Rent a sod cutter and bribe family members with dinner and a movie if they help. Cut the sod and have kids roll it up as you go. Take rolls out to the curb where neighbors who don’t don’t any better will think, “Oh, free sod!” and will haul it away for you.

When done, lay down thick black plastic and cover with mulch of choice. Allow at least one summer to pass before planting anything, as any grass remaining will be “cooked” to death by the sun. If you’re really lazy, give it two years. (I did three.)

Lesson Learned:

Lazy Gardeners Find Ways to Promote Family Bonding & Improve Neighbor Relations

Lazy Gardener Method #2

Once the grass was out of the way, and three years of rest were mine, I began to think a patio would be nice. A place to kick back, enjoy a cup of tea in the morning, or maybe a glass of wine in the evening. I decided on one made with pavers.

Some of you are probably assuming I hired someone. Trust me. I considered it. Sadly, I’m a lazy gardener on a tight budget.

So I looked up instructions for doing it myself. Here are the ones Home Depot gives. If it looks like a lot of work, it’s only because it is. (Personally, I think a contractor wrote it to discourage do-it-yourselfers.)

I decided to fudge it. If there’s one thing lazy gardeners are good at, it’s fudging.

Going with the belief that Phoenix dirt is so hard, we’d need a jackhammer to dig it up, I skipped most of the prepping steps and went straight to the sand and pavers, using a level and square to ensure they were perfectly — make that reasonably — straight.

After 12 years, this is what it looks like:


No shifting, settling, or cracking to be found.

Lesson learned:

Lazy Gardeners Find Ways to Save Money, Time, and Energy, Especially Their Own

Lazy Gardener Method #3

Another advantage of waiting two to three years to plant, and laying off the chemicals, is that nature will do some planting for you.

Sure, a lot of it will be in the form of weeds, but there will no doubt be non-weeds in there too. The key is, don’t be too hasty to pull weeds! Give it a day, or week, or month or so. (Hopefully you don’t have a Homeowners Association. If you do, I suggest moving.)

Every plant below came to my yard as a volunteer:

You may notice I do minimal shaping or trimming to my plants. That’s not mere laziness (though it does play a role). Rather, I contend plants are happier if they’re left in their natural state. And happy plants, especially happy plants that bloom, look better.

For proof, see below. The bush on the left is in an anal neighbor’s yard, the bush on the right is kept by a fellow Lazy Gardener. One may be tidier, but the other is happier.

Lesson Learned:

Lazy Gardeners Respect Nature and Honor Plants’ Manifest Destiny

Tonka Truck
This is a toy my kids would play with in the yard. My kids are now in their early 20s. Lesson Learned: Tonka Trucks are Built to Last.

And there we have it, my friends. You may have thought Lazy Gardeners were just… lazy. Shirkers of work. Dilly-dalliers of the first order.

But seen in another light, Lazy Gardeners are enterprising homesteaders with a high respect for energy conservation.

I mean, sure, you could spend all your time pulling weeds and trimming trees.

Or you could learn from us and make time for what’s important in life. Things like tea, wine, and long naps on the patio.

Because when all is said and done, and the last trumpet sounds, no one is going to remember if your garden was tidy.

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. –A.A. Milne


P.S. to my Blogger Buddies: Do you have a Facebook page for your blog? I just created one for FoF and I’d appreciate your feedback. Here’s where you’ll find it.
Also, feel free to leave the link to your Facebook page in the comments below. 😊

21 thoughts on “In Defense of Lazy Gardening

  1. I too am a lazy gardener. I have a big flower garden and I rely on volunteers. And I don’t shape anything either. But I could never do the pavers like you did…PA winters would lift those bad boys right up.

    1. All the instructions I found for the pavers were soooo complicated, then finally it dawned on me, our ground doesn’t move! EVER!
      Volunteer plants are the best, aren’t they? They feel like little gifts from heaven.

      1. While my gardening all happens in pots and containers (due to living in an apartment), I don’t use any chemicals either. I like letting my plants thrive (or not) naturally.

  2. I am a lazy gardener, but I am married to a very active gardener. Though we have been shifting to lower maintenance plantings. I don’t have an FB page just for my blog. I only really go to FB to follow family, see grandkid pictures – don’t post much there myself. It works great for some.

  3. We have a gardener who, I’ve discovered other the years, is just as lazy as I am. So, we get all the benefits of … hey, wait a minute! Your FB page looks good. I am REALLY interested in how it turns out. My page just kinda sits there gathering cyberdust.

  4. I love your ideas. We, too, have one of those perfect houses in our neighborhood. Hubby is convinced that the guy is a drug dealer or hit man, cause he’s always home, working on his yard during the day. Always. I tell hubby he’s just jealous…

    1. Way back when, in our first house, we lived next to a guy who took his yard SUPER seriously! He was always out there working on it, and wore golf shoes as he mowed (I guess they’re better for the grass?). Plus he’d yell at his little kids if they rode their tricycles on the lawn. I swore to myself I would never be that way. As you can see, I succeeded! 😄

  5. A Kindred Spirit. 🙂 I don’t water my plants in the ground EVER – only the few ones in pots on my back deck in the deep, deep heat of summer – once a week at most, more like once a fortnight. If they thrive – YAY, if they die – then it was meant to be because they weren’t tough enough. My garden is to be enjoyed in, not enslaved by.
    Your FB page looks good, mine is – it’s my hobby/creative page – I send my Blog to my personal page.

    1. Yes, I think my plants know they’re on they’re own, water-wise. When I’m on my way home from the garden shop, having purchased new plants, I swear I’ve heard them whimpering.
      I like your page!

      1. I always tell them, “Live Well and Prosper” when I plant them – then I have been heard to mutter “or you get ripped out and slung on the compost pile”.

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