6 Tricks to "Vacation-Proof" Your Backyard to Help Your Plants Survive Your Getaway Without a Gardener

Follow this advice to ensure you still have a flourishing garden when you return from your summer vacation

A garden with a small lawn and a flower bed full of different flowers with trees in the background
(Image credit: Getty)

Having a growing garden to take care of should not stop you from jetting off for a fabulous summer vacation. But we understand that whether you're sunning in Monaco or sightseeing in Bali, your mind might still be back at home with your outdoor blooms.

Well, we have the perfect guide that'll keep your garden in top shape even in your absence. We consulted a couple of gardening experts and they've given us all the best tips to vacation-proof your garden this summer and ensure you still have a flourishing backyard on your return.

From how to keep your garden hydrated to making sure that they're well-fed, these expert-approved tricks will help your plants survive your getaway without a gardener. Not only will you feel refreshed on your return, but so will your garden.

6 Ideas to Keep Your Garden Going While You're on Vacation

1. Deep Watering

Watering pink potted plant

(Image credit: Alamy)

The first thing that probably popped into your mind while considering your garden's upkeep in your absence is likely how to keep your backyard watered while you're away. Simplify Gardening's expert Tony O'Neill tells us that this is in fact one of the top priorities to prepare for.

'Give your garden a thorough watering the day before you leave,' says Tony. 'Deep watering helps ensure that moisture penetrates further into the soil, which can sustain your plants for longer periods.' Tony points out that deep watering helps reduce the frequency of watering needed and provides a moisture reserve for the plants.

2. Try Mulching

Small shrubs with bark chip mulch

(Image credit: Alamy)

According to Allison Jacob, plant expert at Trimmed Roots, treating your plants to a generous layer of mulch is another great practice to help your garden bloom through the summer. What is mulching? Essentially, it's just an organic material layer that's applied to your soil. 'Half-done compost, wood chips, or straw all work great to keep the soil cool and hold in moisture,' she says. 'It's like a comfy blanket for your plants' roots.'

Tony also finds this to be an effective trick and explains that mulching reduces water evaporation and helps keep the soil cool. 'A dose of mulch around the base of the crop can significantly reduce the stress on plants during hot weather,' he says.

3. Use Shade Protection

Create a minimalist garden setup in your shady garden spot

(Image credit: Staghorn)

While you rest under the shade of a beach umbrella, it turns out your plants should be getting the same holiday treatment too. Tony informs us that sensitive plants require a bit of added protection to keep them from wilting under the summer heat so, if you're into container gardening, be sure to move your potted plants into an area that doesn't receive direct sun all day.

You can also bring shade to your more exposed garden borders or sun-soaked flower bed ideas. 'Consider providing temporary shade using gardening shade cloth or even a couple of garden umbrellas,' Tony suggests. 'This can help protect them from excessive sun exposure.' Besides helping to prevent your plants from drooping, Tony points out that garden shade also helps protect plants that are prone to sunburn. Think of it as SPF for your blooms.

4. Prune and Deadhead

a backyard with mature garden planting

(Image credit: Bess Friday. Design: SAW)

In order to keep your plants healthy and happy over the summer, Tony recommends grabbing your pruning tools and tending to your garden before leaving. 'It's best to prune dead or overgrown branches and deadhead spent flowers in advance,' he says. 'This encourages healthy growth and reduces the plant's water needs.'

Tony also points out that pruning helps the plants conserve energy and focus on new growth. Similarly, your backyard can benefit from deadheading as it prevents the plants from wasting energy on seed production.

5. Add Automated Irrigation Systems


(Image credit: The Rich Brothers)

Deep watering is a great start to maintaining your garden's hydration but experts tell us that setting up irrigation systems is another trusted method to keep your blooms perky throughout the summer. This could be in the form of the best smart sprinkler controllers or a more traditional technique such as an olla.

Allison tells us that tech-savvy gardeners should consider investing in automated drip irrigation systems. 'They take the hassle out of watering and can be programmed to fit your plants' needs,' she explains. Tony is also a big fan of automated watering systems, especially since they can be easily adjusted to provide the right amount of water for different plant types.

6. Enlisting Help

Cactus garden with pathway running through

(Image credit: Garden Life)

Last but not least, both Allison and Tony tell us that enlisting some neighborly help is always a great fall-back option, even if just to peek in on your garden and make sure all your systems are running smoothly.

'Having someone check on your garden can catch any issues early and ensure your plants receive the attention they need while you're away,' says Tony. 'Ask a neighbor or friend, or hire a garden sitter to check on your garden periodically, and be sure to provide clear instructions on watering or any specific care needs.'

In return for keeping an eye on your space, you can always gift your helping hand a little veggie basket or a gorgeous bouquet of summer blooms from your cut flower garden. It's a win-win situation all around.

News Writer

Amiya is the News Writer at Livingetc. She recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London and has lent her words to beauty, fashion and health sections of lifestyle publications including Harper’s Bazaar and Women’s Health. Her experience as a research analyst has equipped her with an eye for emerging trends. When she’s off the clock, she can be found reading, listening to music or overanalysing her latest Co-Star update.