You don’t have to just let your garden turn brown this autumn, if you don't already have them, think about planting some evergreens, these can create a wonderful framework for you to use, helping achieve that lower maintenance outside space.
In winter, unlike other garden inhabitants that turn into shadows of their former selves, from November through to May evergreens remain with their luscious glory, waiting until early summer before shedding a few older leaves.
Some things to consider when you’re planning your evergreen garden:
Right now, in early autumn, is probably the best time to plant evergreens on lighter soils. Only where they will sit through the winter in claggy clay would it be worth waiting until spring before planting. Elsewhere, the soil is still relatively warm from the summer sun, and the welcome autumn rains will make sure that the roots of evergreens can establish themselves well over the next few months.
The wide range of trees, shrubs and other plants that can be described as 'evergreen' gives you plenty of scope for your planting.
There is lots of choice when it comes to the range of evergreen shrubs and trees you can buy and they can range in height from as little as 45cm for the golden barberry 'Corallina Compacta' to as much as 4m for shrubs. With evergreen hedging and trees, of course, you can always keep the size down by frequent pruning and trimming.
Soil and situation
As with any plant, growing an evergreen in the soil it’s used to will help it to thrive, and as there are so many from different places, do check the type of soil it’s used to when planting.
This is easier in a container where you can create the perfect soil conditions in miniature, but harder across a whole garden.
Beds and borders
If you’re going for an informal look, then your beds can have irregular shapes, with sweeping curved edges that will soon be hidden by your planting. For formal, then you may want to create regular-shaped beds of squares or rectangles, where the edges are clearly defined and visible.
In an evergreen garden, you can also frame your borders with low, tightly trimmed hedges of box or yew.
Nearly all evergreens will grow perfectly happily in a container. Some grow quite large and may eventually have to be taken out and planted in your garden, but if you choose something slow growing – which most evergreens are –that won’t happen for many years.