As we continue to muddle our way through the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, we’ve had to shift some (not all, of course) of our energy to preparing our yard/lawn for summer. When we purchased our house a few years ago the gardens were overgrown and wild, and we had always intended to tackle them, but got busy doing other things. Here’s what our front garden looked like prior to work beginning- note the random tufts of plants/weeds and the overall dullness of the dirt.
Well, last summer we finally started to tackle it, and I must say the improvement was dramatic. We didn’t do anything too crazy- as a matter of fact, all we did was clear the weeds away and add mulch, but the improvement is still evident one winter season later. An added bonus is that it makes for pretty cheap work; all it takes is some hard work and a little money for mulch. We used simple garden tools to dig up the large plants, and then used Roundup Extended Control Weed & Grass Killer spray to ward off future weedy growths (some weeds are stubborn though, and we’ve had to spot pull some).
Once we had dug up the plants and weeds and sprayed the ground, we laid Scotts Earthgro Brown Mulch that we got from Home Depot (only about $4 for each two cubic foot bag). After initially trying the cheaper Vigoro generic brand of mulch, we found that the Earthgro undoubtedly retains color better.
We repeated this same process with the ugly dirt patch we had on the side of our pole barn. We even went so far as to set edging bricks to make it a better-defined garden bed.
In both cases, we placed mulch without first adding plants – the plants will come later. In both beds the existing weeds had mature root systems that we did our best to remove or otherwise kill, but we know they will continue to grow again this year in some spots. We want to give the beds another year so we can remove any remaining weeds before we move to planting new shrubs.
If you’re looking at your landscaping and contemplating how to give any of the areas a fresh look, I strongly recommend starting with some fresh mulch- whether it’s an area that has been mulched before or not! Neither of these beds had any mulch in them prior to us beginning the project, but I think it turned out great!
P.S. If you have any recommendations for small plants that would look good in these beds, let us know!