In a young meadow, open soil between perennials and native grasses provides places where weeds can take hold. That’s why it’s important to patrol new meadows and dig or pull weeds. This meadow features ‘Blonde Ambition’ blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis; hardy in Zones 4-9) and silky wormwood (Artemisia frigida; hardy in Zones 3-10). Both of these perennials grow well in dry, sunny conditions. Placing silvery Artemisia in several spots throughout the meadow helps unify the planting, while using a drift of grass mimics a native meadow.
It may seem like a kid's car, but the Step2 Garden Hopper is a wheeled work seat with storage. You can access tools and supplies and sit while trimming and weeding. It comes with a beverage holder, too.
A cordless weed eater makes a good choice for most yards. The Toro PowerPlex string trimmer runs on a lithium ion battery, providing up to 45 minutes of run time. Variable speed is easy to operate with a simple trigger switch.
Keep trowels, weeders and other frequently used garden supplies in a handily-located home that meshes with your house's charming style. The door of Gardener's Supply Company's tool cupboard even opens flat to create an impromptu potting station.
Be sure to read the label of your favorite weed killer. For common chemicals like Round-Up, 50°F is usually the lowest temperature where the product remains effective at killing weeds. Many plants essentially stop growing as soil temperatures fall into the 50-degree range, so at that point spraying is a waste of time and money. The answer is to spray early in the fall season, while plants are actively growing and air temps are still in the ideal 60-degree range.
Another option for stones as lawn edging is to use large field stones. With this type of rock, you can source material locally and, depending on where you live, from natural areas. If you’re building a home or excavating a site on your property, save rocks you unearth to use as possible edging. When using rocks as edging, fit stones as closely together as you can to limit weed and grass growth. Use a product like Preen between and behind rocks to help prevent weed seeds from sprouting.
Arranging plants tightly not only creates a full design, it also helps to shade soil. Plants that grow shoulder to shoulder act like living mulch, helping to suppress weeds and slow water evaporation from soil.
This backyard started out bare with the exception of a few trees, weeds and an uneven patio. Now, it's a carefully-planned inviting outdoor space with possibility for playing, dining, grilling and more. The pergola over this seating and dining area is a steel frame with wood slats.
Also called landscape fabric or weed cloth, this type of mulch is usually woven polypropylene fabric. It suppresses weeds while allowing water and air to pass. It’s often used under inorganic mulches, such as stone or landscape glass, but also under shredded hardwood bark to help extend its lifespan. Landscape fabric comes in different grades; the label should state how long it will last. This is a commercial grade fabric that’s woven and needle punched with a 20-year warranty. The colored lines are 12 inches apart, which helps with spacing plants, especially in vegetable gardens.
Monarch butterflies lay eggs on plants in the milkweed family, including butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). Eggs hatch to reveal striped caterpillars that eat until they reach about 2 inches long. Often the first clue that a caterpillar is present on a plant is the round black frass or caterpillar poo seen on leaves.
Also known as oxalis, this is a versatile weed that grows in sun or shade, moist or dry soil. It’s a clover look-alike, with heart shape leaves and yellow flowers. Blooms fade to form upright seed pods that explode when ripe, flinging seeds away from the mother plant. It also roots from stem pieces. It’s happy to grow in lawns, planting beds, gravel drives or vegetable garden paths. Oxalis is a common weed in nursery pots, so be sure to check before adding plants to your landscape. The best way to beat it in the lawn is to mow high and fertilize to grow a healthy, thick lawn. In planting beds, carefully hand-pull or spray with herbicide.
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.
Mulching can be a big task in the fall, if you have multiple garden beds. Here's a tip from The Morton Arboretum in Illinois: Organic mulch should be composted or otherwise treated before use. The step kills insects, weed seeds and disease microorganisms. The texture of composted mulch generally is more uniform, creating better curb appeal.
When it comes to violets, opinions are divided. To some, it’s a weed of the vilest kind; to others, it’s a dainty wildflower. No matter which camp you support, it’s vital to know that while violets have a literary reputation of being shy, in the landscape, they are anything but that. This perennial bloomer boasts a prolific personality, spreading easily by underground stems and seeds. In the lawn, it adapts quickly to lowered mower heights, growing shorter as needed to dodge the blade. Violets thrive in moist, shady sites, but mature plants are drought tolerant. The solution to eliminating violets? Vigilant hand-weeding (be sure to remove all the rhizome) and targeted herbicide use.
A long-lasting organic mulch option is pine bark or shredded bark, according to experts at The Morton Arboretum in Illinois. You can purchase bags of small or large chips. Other types of organic mulch are grass clippings, as well as animal manure (mixed with a coarse-textured material). Composted leaf litter will work, but it may increase weeds if not thoroughly composted.
Artificial grass can cut water bills by more than half and eliminate the need for toxic weed killers and fertilizers as well as costly and leaky sprinkler systems. The owners of this Arizona home in Paradise Valley will not only see a return on investment, but they’ll never have to water the lawn again.
Creating a simple, low-cost garden path doesn’t have to be difficult.
Easy Solution: Remove existing grass and cover soil with a layer of thick cardboard (for weed control), securing it with anchor pins pounded into soil. Top with a layer of straw. This type of path works easily in vegetable gardens or perennial borders. It’s also easy to upgrade later to a more formal hardscape material.