For the most low-maintenance garden, choose plants that suit soil, sunlight levels and weather conditions. If you have a chalky, windy coastal garden there is no point growing tender and floppy plants. Likewise, a shaded garden with clay soil will need plants that cope with cold, wet conditions.
You should also make good use of evergreens, which add shape and colour all year round. Shade-tolerant varieties like holly and ivy give good colour to dark corners and north-facing walls. Acers are also great trees for shaded spots and they grow very slowly.
Make your garden drought-tolerant with Mediterranean plants like sedum, geranium and rosemary. Grasses are also great easy-care plants. Look for long-flowering perennials that continue throughout summer.
Frosty and exposed gardens need hardy varieties and woody shrubs like heather and hydrangea. Shrubs generally require even less attention than perennials.