Garden Resource Guide
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Published by TOP4 Team
Groundcovers don’t have to be low-growing. Any densely foliaged plant that covers the soil can be called a groundcover and that includes shrubs, perennials and some ferns.
Because groundcovers grow so densely, they help crowd out weeds and, by excluding light from the soil surface, germinating weed seed just fail to grow. Soils stay moist longer because they are shaded from full sun and sheltered from winds.
Groundcovers are also good solutions for slopes, as they add colour and prevent erosion. When you choose a groundcover for a slope, select one with a strong root system that will hold the soil in place, such as ivy, Lamium, native violets and iceplants.
A lush, healthy,, deep-green lawn is not part of the low-maintenance garden, so if you’re hoping to minimise maintenance, don’t plan a big lawn.
- Planning Your Lawn
Thorough site preparations is all important to a good result. But, before you start digging and hoeing, you have first to decide the boundaries of your new lawn and to do that you should know something about the needs of grass, think about design.
- A Sunny Location
All Grasses love sun. The more the better, with half a day all year round being about the minimum needed for healthy, thick growth. If you you have mature trees, consider the shade they will cast, remembering that in winter the sun is lower in the northern sky. Areas that stay densely shaded for long periods are better given over to shade-loving shrubs and groundcovers.
- Shape and Size
To decide on the shape of your lawn, lay out a garden hose or long piece of rope in the desired shape. As a rule, long sweeping curves look better than straight lines. If you want to include a garden bed within the lawn, keep its size in proportion to the size of the lawn and be sure to leave ample space to get mower right round the bed.
- Preparing the site
The first task is to remove all rubbish and rubble. Now dig out any unwanted trees and shrubs, root and all. Next, kill off all other vegetation by spraying with a herbicide. After the weeds have had their first spraying, you can begin to grade the site.
- Getting the grass in
While you are in the process of preparing the site, you should give some thought to how you want to start your lawn. Sowing seed is the cheapest method by fair but it does have a number of drawbacks. For start, you have to ensure that the soil stays evenly moist at all times until the germination is complete. This can take up to 21 days and during windy and warm weather it may be necessary to water more than once a day. Water must be applied as a fine mist or you may wash the seeds out of the soil.
Hedges provide privacy and their impenetrable branches provide secure nesting sites for numerous small birds. Although they do require regular maintenance, with the labour-saving tools now available, trimming a hedge two or three times a year is not such an arduous task, particularly when you consider the extra beauty, privacy, wildlife and value a hedge can bring to your home. Some hedges don’t need to be clipped at all! At its simplest, a hedge can be a row of closely spaced shrubs forming an effective and attractive informal barrier that never needs shearing.