Easy Outdoor Plants to Grow in Your Yard

Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with a green thumb. But even the horticulturally challenged can still enjoy a garden filled with flowers and greenery. The key is to know your yard, and learn which plants will work well in those conditions.

Consider the following:

  • Does your garden get lots of direct sunlight? Or are there more shaded areas?
  • What soil type is most prominent in your yard?
  • Does the soil drain freely? Or does it tend to get a bit waterlogged?
  • What do you use your garden for? And what kind of aesthetic do you prefer?
  • How much time are you happy to spend tending to outdoor plants?

Low Maintenance Plants to Grow Outside

Choose low-maintenance outdoor plants from Gardeners Dream that are easy to care for and demand little time and effort to flourish. A low-maintenance plant is difficult to kill, doesn't need much watering, only needs to be pruned once a year, if at all, and is resistant to common pests and diseases.

Whether or not a plant requires lots or little maintenance depends on the type of outdoor space you have. For example, some plants are drought tolerant and thrive without much help in dry soil, while others prefer moist soil types and need watered frequently.

Best Plants for Drought Prone Gardens

Water is one of the most important things plants need during the growing season. However, some garden plants prefer drier soil that drains freely and never becomes overly wet or water-logged. These low-maintenance options need only occasional watering, and even then, only during particularly long spells of dry weather.

Creeping Thyme

Creeping thyme is a low-maintenance plant that thrives in well-draining soil. It prefers a spot in full sun but tolerates light shade. Creeping thyme is a low-growing and spreading garden plant with small aromatic leaves and masses of tiny red, pink, white or purple flowers that are irresistible to bees and other pollinators.

Thyme is a culinary plant with edible leaves often used in soups and casseroles. Creeping thyme is undemanding and, once established, needs very little maintenance.

Lamb's Ear

The silvery-green leaves of the lamb's ear plant are covered in tiny hairs, producing a fuzzy appearance that looks like the ear of a lamb. Tall spikes of light purple flowers reaching up to 3 feet tall appear in early summer and last throughout the season.

This plant is a great choice for drought-prone areas as it grows well in rock gardens, gravel gardens and borders and can tolerate poor soil. Lamb's ear likes a sunny spot but copes well in part shade.


Verbenas are a popular choice of outdoor plant for bedding and hanging baskets. They have a long flowering season from June to September with clusters of purple, pink, red or white blooms that are a magnet for bees and butterflies.

Verbena can suffer from root rot in soggy soil, so likes to be planted in lightly moist but well-drained soil. They enjoy soaking up the sun in a sheltered spot, and with hardier varieties, cutting odd spent flowers can encourage a second show.

Best Plants for Shady Spots

Most plants thrive in partial shade, but particularly shaded parts of the garden can be affected by wet soil that is difficult to work with. Plants need light for photosynthesis, so a spot in full shade can make new growth difficult. These outdoor plants are ideal for parts of the garden that don't receive much sun.


Hostas are renowned for being able to tolerate shade. They are easy plants to look after, making them perfect for beginner gardeners, and great plants for producing striking foliage. Some varieties have bright green leaves while others are dappled or variegated in cream. Mature plants even flower in summer with small white blooms appearing on top of tall stems that shoot up from the centre of the plant.

Hostas are perennial plants that die back below ground in late autumn and grow again in spring. They grow well in large pots (but be aware these will need watering more often than those planted in the ground) and are ideal for a north-facing garden.


Snowdrops are hardy little plants that thrive in the shade and brighten the ground underneath trees and shrubs towards the end of winter. The sight of snowdrops emerging from damp (and sometimes even frozen) ground is the first sign that spring is on the way. They're a welcome sight at a time of year when few plants are flowering.

Snowdrops are the ultimate low-maintenance plant, demanding little attention yet returning year after year.

Coral Bells

Coral bells don't fare well in fun sun, preferring a spot in dappled or part shade. These low-maintenance garden plants make low mounds of eye-catching foliage in shades of green, red or purple, sometimes with marble or vein patterns. They are ideal for providing ground cover in shaded borders and work well planted beneath taller plants.

Also known as heuchera, coral bells prefer moist but well-draining soil and don't tolerate garden soil that is consistently wet or very dry.

Best Plants for Yards in Full Sun

While most of us would prefer a yard that benefits from full sunlight all day long, full sun can be just as tricky as deep shade when it comes to keeping garden plants healthy. Some easy plants cope with the sun's rays better than others and can tolerate hot weather and direct sunlight without suffering from scorched leaves.

Coral Honeysuckle

Also known as trumpet honeysuckle, coral honeysuckle is an evergreen shrub ideal for planting in a sunny spot. This attractive flowering shrub has blue-green foliage and a long blooming season. It produces masses of coral flowers with yellow centres from early spring until autumn.

Coral honeysuckle has a climbing habit and can reach up to 4m tall with just a little support. Plant in moist but well-drained soil and water occasionally during dry spells. Honeysuckle tolerates part shade but flowers best in full sun.


This easy-care shrub is famous for its aromatic foliage and spikes of bright purple fragrant flowers. Lavender doesn't like cold, shady parts of the garden and thrives in full sun.

The silvery-green foliage is attractive on its own but when the flowers appear in late spring and early summer, the plant really comes alive. The tall spires of flowers are a magnet for bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects and make excellent dried flowers for indoor displays.


It may seem obvious, but sunflowers are the perfect plants to grow in full sun. These heat and drought-tolerant outdoor plants flourish in the sun yet demand very little maintenance. In fact, the trickiest part is trying to ensure birds don't make off with the seeds before they sprout!

Boasting tall stems with large, bright sun shaped flowers, these charming annuals are a favourite of children, who love to watch them grow as tall as themselves. Sow sunflower seeds in moist but well-drained soil in mid-spring and watch as they grow and flower all season until late summer or early autumn.

Maintaining a neat garden doesn't have to be massively time-consuming. By choosing the right plants for the right space, it can be achieved with just a little effort.

Making the most of flowers and plants doesn't just give you an attractive place to sit and relax, it also boosts curb appeal and can even raise the value of your home by up to 10%. The abundance of low-maintenance garden options means there's no excuse for a dreary and boring yard when you can easily have a beautiful garden full of vibrant foliage and flowering plants with minimal effort.

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