Algarve garden low maintenance

Break Out into Core’s 5 Best Low-Maintenance Landscape Designs

Spring has very nearly sprung, and we always count down the days to our favourite season of the year – when the birds are singing, flowers and blooming, and daytime temperatures are simply perfect. But let’s be honest, this is the Algarve, so even before it’s officially spring, we’ve already got our garden furniture set up and ready to go. And while we were outside, listening to the bird chatter and soaking up some rays, we got to thinking about some of our favourite setups of all time… check them out!

A Tidy Garden Design Filled with Colour at Casa DA


Algarve garden low maintenance

A burst of colour makes all the difference, whether you’re inside or out. If you’re familiar with Casa DA at all, you’ll know the owners’ out-of-the-box pop-art style couldn’t be further from monochromatic. As such, what we went for here was a garden filled with life, but that would be easy to maintain… in all respects. You may be thinking “easy to maintain” means plants aren’t overgrown, but here in the Algarve, there’s actually something else to consider: water. At first glance, this lush green garden may look like it needs a reservoir of its own to keep it green but take it from us – looks can be deceiving.

Let’s start on the left with the gorgeous Oleander in full bloom. Though it enjoys the occasional watering, once it’s established, you’ll find it’s incredibly drought-resistant… just like “Salgado” (literally salty!) Limoniastrum monopetalum. See those dainty little bushes close to the ground? That’s them, surrounded by… wait for it… wood chips! Why, you may be asking? Because they’re low maintenance. Extremely slow to biodegrade, they don’t need replacing often and can just be left to their own devices. Oh, and they keep plant roots nice and protected from the blazing sun while retaining moisture, which is also very handy! Also featuring heavily here are unmistakable olive trees, which are notoriously good on little water, and lurking in the background is a stone pine – a great option of shade tree thanks to its dense canopy.

Some traditional “Portuguese paving” stones make this path a breeze to keep clean. The rest is just as you see it – give it a trim here and a water there, and you have a low-maintenance garden that looks great year-round!

The Perfect Algarve Garden at Villa GK


Algarve picturesque garden

Speaking of low maintenance, here’s a slightly different take on a low-maintenance garden for all seasons. This one employs fewer trees and more shrubs, but if you look closely, you’ll see the same ideas have been applied. We’re talking lots of flowerbeds with local plants – those fun tufts of grass certainly add a tropical feel – and gravel instead of wood chips because while you’ll have to replace wood chips eventually, gravel lasts forever! Sure, that lawn needs its fair share of water, but if you look at the shape and multi-levelled design of this garden, you’ll see how it’s been carefully minimised so that the residents here get all the benefits of the greenest grass with as little work and water as possible. And the view just speaks for itself…

Playing with Shapes in Villa RH’s Landscaping


Algarve shading structure

Moving away from plant life and towards interesting shapes that make a lasting impression, how about this fun shading idea at Villa RH? Changing from minute to minute, it mimics the rise and fall of the sun, harnessing the best of what nature has to offer to create dynamic décor with minimal effort. It’s a favourite, that’s for sure.

Landscape Architecture that adds Mystique at Villa BI


Algarve landscape secret garden

And where better to bring our collection of landscape designs to a close than Villa BI? So let’s start with this carob tree – one that’s been here longer than any of us can imagine, and if it’s up to us, will stay standing for at least a few more hundred years! But look past it at that private terrace, and you may just catch a glimpse of what’s beyond, giving you a taste of the views available from this bottom-of-the-garden retreat. Not your average garden feature, it certainly adds intrigue and is the perfect place to just get away from it all without leaving the confines of your home. Who would have thought a tree, some grass and roof tiles could be quite this magical?

A Secret Garden Landscape Design at Villa BI


Algarve jungle house design

But “Magical” seems to be the word best applied to Villa BI because there’s no other word for this tropical-looking retreat. Natural stone drawing parallels between the walls of this house and the easy-to-maintain flooring and plants galore give low-maintenance a whole new meaning here, as this house only reaches its full potential when the plants are allowed to do their own thing – so all the owners have to do here is let them! Breaking and mould and creating a secret-garden-esque feel, this setup has been designed to bloom, and you’ll be surprised at just how well it does with minimal H2O.

So there you have it, low-maintenance gardens for all tastes, each filled with colour, life and movement to match the personalities and tastes of their residents. Inspired? Then now’s the time to get going on your garden of dreams – there’s no time like the present!


Anabela Macieira
Core Architects — CEO and Founder