Although many people do enjoy the garden/gardening, for many the Holy Grail of garden design is a low maintenance garden.
Being low maintenance does not mean no plants or a dull design design. On the contrary a low maintenance garden can be very appealing without any compromise on style. Designing any garden including low maintenance types must all carefully consider various elements including site conditions, owners preferences, type and range of garden users, ground conditions etc which will all have an impact on the design decision making including choice of surface finishes, plant selection, hard and soft surface finish areas etc.
The creative process is largely influenced by one in which form is often dictated by function, so a natural turf lawn might be appealing but not necessarily practical or desirable in certain sites (small, shaded, damp etc). Similarly large planting schemes with complex and onerous shapes and fussy aftercare requirements will hardly be of interest to busy people especially parents. Often the design process involves a twin approach of being creative but practical.
Designing low maintenance family gardens must also take account of outdoor areas (patios), storage (play equipment) and playing surfaces which are safe and durable. Getting this far is very good but if one can go to the next stage and incorporate a planting solution which is not only attractive, easy to maintain and unlikely to ever get out of control, then one is nearing the garden design objective to which many family garden owners aspire: a garden which is low maintenance but looking good all year round.