Mulch is the No. 1 secret to low maintenance gardening. Apply it in a layer 2 to 3 inches thick, and it will help suppress weeds (less weeding for you) and reduce water evaporation from soil (less watering for you). Maintain mulch by applying a fresh layer as needed to maintain that ideal depth. In warm regions, you may need to apply mulch twice a year. In zones with cold winters, an annual mulch should be sufficient.
Killing actual dandelion plants is one tactic in the war on this weed. Another is creating an environment where dandelion seeds can’t successfully germinate. To do this, use a pre-emergent herbicide like corn gluten meal or Preen. This type of weedkiller interferes with seed germination, which means seeds can’t produce a plant. Use corn gluten meal in fall and early spring (about the time forsythia flowers). Another technique to make your yard unfriendly to dandelion seeds is to mulch planting beds, and don’t cut your lawn shorter than 2 to 3 inches. Taller grass grows thicker, shading soil so dandelion seeds can’t sprout.
After: A rock wall and strategically placed boulders create a new bed for plants and trees that don’t overwhelm the entryway. Now, the area is better tied to the existing bed, and there’s also an expanded mulched area with new plants.
Finish this type of trench lawn edging by covering the area with some type of mulch. A mulch layer helps keep weeds from sprouting in the uncovered soil and prevents soil erosion from the planting bed itself. If your trench area is shallow, you can run your lawn mower along the bed edge by dropping one wheel into the trench. This eliminates any need for string trimming the lawn edge.
Winter mulch is one of the best things you can do to help improve soil for the long term. A winter mulch layer protects plant roots, a boon with plants prone to frost heave. Mulch also keeps soil warm longer, which means worms stay active longer into the season, continuing to improve the soil through their burrowing activities.
The recommended mulch depth is 3-4 inches for medium to coarse textured materials, says experts with The Morton Arboretum. Spread mulch under trees, shrubs and throughout planting beds, as seen at this home, handcrafted by OakBridge Timber Framing, on a 5-acre lot on the shores of Lake Erie, Ohio.
Draft conical forms of dwarf Alberta spruce to add vertical elements to plantings. In this bed, dwarf Alberta spruce towers neatly above drifts of lavender. Both plants crave well-drained soil, which this gravel mulched bed provides. In winter, when the lavender is resting, the spruce takes center stage, adding color and height all winter long.
Rather than fill the empty space of the planting beds with an array of flowers and shrubs, the designer chose to emphasize the unique boxwood shapes by planting them far apart. A simple, neat layer of mulch ensures the focus remains on the artistic topiary element and deters the growth of weeds.
Natural stone steps connect paver patios in this gorgeous backyard. Stones create a bed for a pond bordered by planted shrubs lined in a mulched area. The patio pathway leads to a seating area and descends slightly to a fire pit with additional seating.
A winter mulch can be a gardener’s best friend, especially around new additions to the landscape. That extra mulch layer can help prevent frost heave around new plants that may not have an extensive root system to help keep them anchored in soil as it freezes and thaws. Put a 2-inch-thick layer around the base of plants to insulate roots and
An outstanding mulch that’s free for the taking, shredded fall leaves provide a great alternative for informal planting beds, vegetable gardens and shade gardens. As leaves decompose, they add fantastic organic matter to soil. Slugs tend to like shredded leaves, so use caution applying them around slug favorites like hosta or leaf lettuce. Expect leaves to last from one to two growing seasons. Always shred leaves with a mower or leaf vac before using them as mulch.
Concrete stepping stones laid in a rock bed create a simple and textural walkway up the side of the home and yard. Mulched garden sections add natural decorations and levels of plant life beside the crisp, cut uniform yard. An outdoor living room is situated on the patio complete with stone fireplace and chimney.
What's the best way to make a good first impression when selling your home? Freshen up your home’s curb appeal with mature landscaping and dark-brown mulch or simply invest in two oversized urns to accommodate year-round plantings, as seen on HGTV's Bang for Your Buck.
Don't forget about hidden nooks, such as this spot with a mossy garden gnome. For choosing materials, medium-textured mulch is best because fine particles will pack down and retain moisture, which evaporates before reaching plant roots, according to The Morton Arboretum in Illinois.