Knot Garden Maintenance and Care

The formal structure of a geometric knot garden requires intensive maintenance, including mulch, consistent watering and routine pruning at least every 2 weeks. Study these tips to care for and maintain your knot garden's precise design, health and beauty.

Design for Easy Maintenance

When first planning and laying out your knot garden, create a square pattern which will allow you access to all parts of the design. No loop or hedge should be more than 2 feet in width, to enable pruning along the top and both sides.

Garden Plants to Use in a Knot Garden

Low blooming dwarf plants such as germander, and ornamental grasses that can be kept trimmed to 12 inches or shorter are best for the main "cords" comprising the knot. They need little watering, and regular trimming will maintain their designed shape. Create the square figure with a winter gem boxwood hedge. It retains its color through the winter months and tolerates lots of pruning in the growing season.

The best landscaping plants that flower for a knot garden are those with tiny blooms like lavender. Many flower buds will survive each pruning, and will add both color and scent to your knot garden's overall ambiance.

Plant cold-weather sensitive herbs in small pots. You can bring them indoors in late fall before the first hard frost, and set them out again in the spring.

Add a section of the plants from your knot garden into your regular garden space as replacements for those that die off in the knot garden design. You can fill any gaps that open up quickly.

Mulch for Knot Gardens

A miniature crushed gravel is recommended, to provide color contrast with green plants, to minimize weeds, and allow ample drainage. Walking and stepping among the "cords" of your knot garden is easiest on gravel, as it is more resistant to crushing than organic mulches. Coconut hulls, shredded tree bark and wood chips also make sturdy mulches. Replenish the mulch as it sinks into the soil.

Eliminate weeds ruthlessly as they appear. Sweep away rhizome-rooted weeds like bermuda grass, Johnson grass, and nut sedge by digging them out at the source. Lay down fresh mulch immediately after this weeding process.

Fertilize the Knot Garden

Apply fertilizer recommended for flowering plants and shrubs to the roots of the herbs in your knot garden every 3 to 4 weeks, and to the floral plants every 2 weeks.

Keep the Watering Pattern Consistent

After planting and laying down the mulch, water the garden intensively with about an inch of water all at once. Knot gardens rely on weekly watering at the same interval for best growth

Prune the Knot Garden Consistently

Use short, slender hedge clippers or small cutters you can use with one hand. Trim every two weeks at least, to preserve the concise lines of your knot garden. Trim between buds and above junctions of hedge stems to promote dense growth rather than height.

Devotion to care and maintenance will keep your knot garden looking spectacular all summer.