Three Tips To Create A Weedless Landscape Bed
Garden beds with pretty flowers and lush plants provide eye-catching beauty in the home landscape, but they have a dark side. Many homeowners spend countless hours weeding these beds to keep them nice, which isn't likely to happen if you are more of a hands-off style of caretaker. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the upkeep that goes into having a pretty flower garden. While the following tips won't make a flower bed completely maintenance-free, they will help ensure the garden is low maintenance.
Take Advantage of Ground Cover
When choosing plants for your garden, don't under estimate the power of a good ground cover. Weeds tend to take over where ever bare soil happens to be. If you don't want weeds, then you need to avoid having bare soil. Ground covers provide a living cover that chokes out any weeds that attempt to grow. Vincas and ivies provide quick growing covers. In beds with less moisture or rock gardens, succulents like crassula quickly propagate themselves and provide needed ground cover. The key is to choose a ground cover plant that is well suited to the conditions. For example, if the area is shaded you don't want to choose a ground cover that needs full sun.
Don’t Skimp on the Mulch
Not all ground cover has to be living. If you want to grow flowers or just want a pretty shrub in a small bed, then mulch is what you need to keep weeds at bay. Begin by laying down a sturdy landscaping fabric over a well-weeded bed. Then, cover it with a 3 inch layer of mulch. Use organic mulches, like wood chips, in most beds. In beds plants with low-water plants, like cactus or lavender, you can use a gravel mulch. It's best to plant perennials in a mulched bed that has landscape fabric, since you don't want to destroy the weed-suppressing fabric layer. You can skip the fabric if you prefer annual flowers, but be prepared to weed the bed more often.
Install a Strong Barrier
Another issue with flower beds is that grasses sometimes invade them and become weedy. A strong barrier between the lawn and the bed is the best defense. Install edging strips around the perimeter of the bed. The strips should be buried at least 6 inches deep to keep grass roots from growing beneath the edging, and an equal height so grass doesn't grow over the edging. Also, make sure to mow regularly so grasses don't go to seed near the garden bed.
For more help with designing a low maintenance landscape, contact a service like W.H. Boyer, Inc. near you.