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Forums > Active Threads > Home and Garden > Garden and Landscape

Post Message Garden and Landscape

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Best Ground Cover for Front Garden

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2005-06-16          112477


I am redoing our front garden. I dragged all the pachysandra out of the front garden with the backhoe - added some rhododendrons, large white quartz stones, barberi bushes. There was already some holly, stella doro lillies, other varieties of lillies, pjm rhododendron there. Now it is raw dirt between the shrubs and weeds are starting to grow.

I want some kind of mulch or rock cover in between the plants/bushes. I don't want another plant type of ground cover. I imagine we would put down landscape fabric and cover with mulch or small decorative stone. A landscaper suggested the stone saying it doesn't go bad - but I imagine you would have to clean and refresh it every other year or so. My wife has seen synthetic mulch - very expensive and I assume you would have to treat it just like the decorative stone. Regular mulch goes bad and has to be replaced (or added to) every two years or so.

Any suggestions on the best way to do this?

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Best Ground Cover for Front Garden

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denwood
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 542 Quarryville PA
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2005-06-16          112485


If you use stone, use fabric or the stone will sink into the soil gradually. It will get dropped leaves in it but a blower will clear most of it. If you use mulch, forget about the fabric. Mulch is a decomposing organic matter that gets refreshed each year. As the oldest is broken down, weeds will just grow on top of the fabric. Also, the fabric seems to stick up somewhere as the mulch blows or washes off and looks crappy. I can see almost no residential use for the rubber mulch. It is cost prohibitive, any that gets moved into the yard, by foot dog etc. will not break down like mulch so it will be there a while. Junk that gets in it will make it look messy and a blower will likely move it as well as the mess. With the stone, you can even use a propane torch to get rid of little bits of stuff. For mulch, use a pre emergent like preen to keep the weeds from growing. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Best Ground Cover for Front Garden

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2005-06-16          112487


Thanks Denwood - I appreciate your experience with this. Maybe the rock is worth considering. ....

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Best Ground Cover for Front Garden

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2652 NorthWest NJ
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2005-06-17          112494


Crunch,

I did tons of river rounds at my old house, used the landscape fabric as a base/barrier. It is not maintenance free as Denwood said. Besides leaf debris getting in it, if it is shady you will get mold as well. You can spray it with a bleach solution to clean it up, maybe pressure wash it ? I did not have a pressure washer at the time.

I had hoped that it would be low maintenance, I found that plain cedar mulch on top of the ground was actually easier. When you have to replant a bed that has river rounds it is a major undertaking, whereas mulch is no big deal. My wife frequently changes her garden plants so I am not doing rock ever again. A small dose of stone goes a long way. ....

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Best Ground Cover for Front Garden

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2005-06-17          112495


Dennis, thanks for the other perspective. I can see how the rock would be difficult to keep clean. I do have a pressure washer but my wife always has something new to plant so I will have to ponder this one for a while. My thought was to just keep weeding this year while I continue to pull pachysandra roots. ....

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Best Ground Cover for Front Garden

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2005-06-17          112498


I like river rock around the house (doesn't draw bugs like mulch) on berms with evergreens or spaces that aren't being dug up frequently and those that have barbs, etc. with small leaves. These small leaves or the absence of them is good to keep the stones clean. Going with a slightly larger stone also helps. A Stihl blower will roll the smaller stones. I also keep the stones away from the stem of a plant/tree stump. The heat transfer from the stone can cook some plants/trees.

Cypress and Cedar mulch holds color better and resists bugs. Because of the size of stuff I'm covering, I get plain wood chips from the City. They usually have an abundance after storms. You don't want to use real fresh stuff that has ground up leaves otherwise it will ferment if placed too thick. It requires frequent relacement, but it is "free".

I rigged up my dump trailer to have 4' tall side boards and a canopy so I can haul 27 yards at a time. ....

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Best Ground Cover for Front Garden

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7155 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2005-06-17          112503


There are all sorts of interesting alternatives around now.

Some of them seem pretty strange at first, but I have seen them used, and if you don't know what they are you would likely be surprised to learn.

Amongst them;

Chipped up old roofing shingles, the coloured aggregate sparkles, they are treated and do not break down or attract insects or other pests. Also makes good pathway material.

Ground up car tires, it makes a nice uniform black pebble about 1/4" in size, again, no pests or deterioration. It really sets of small coloured flowers since it makes a totally black background.

Ground recycled concrete. They grind it down to whatever size is desired and then wash out the fine particles, it can even be coloured if desired during the wash process.

Ground recycled clay bricks, makes a nice 'antique' effect as mulch, also makes excellent walkways.

The big advantage to most of these products is that since they are recyled material, they are inexpensive.

Best of luck. ....

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