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Landscaping Solutions

Solving the Problems That Plague Our Yards

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Picture of wooden garden arbor

An arbor is an example of a hardscape project.

David Beaulieu

"My Neighbors Can See Everything I Do in the Yard": Landscaping Solutions for Privacy

It isn't a question of needing to "hide" anything. But who wants to live under a microscope? Even good neighbors don't enjoy feeling obligated to acknowledge each other every time they step outside, as if needing permission before continuing on their business. The landscaping solution to this problem is to install some type of privacy screening. But your "installation" options can include growing "living walls", whereby it is trees or shrubs that afford the privacy, not a fence. For those who don't want to have to maintain plants and who'd prefer some sort of fence, instead, I offer an FAQ on fence selection to help you mull over your choices. Something of a compromise between fencing and plant screens is presented by the option of installing a lattice privacy screen: vines can be planted to cover the lattice and beautify your screen.

•To read more about these landscaping solutions for privacy, please click on the link below:

Landscaping Solutions for Privacy

"Something Keeps Eating My Plants": Pest Control Strategies

Perhaps your problem isn't prying eyes, but voracious appetites. There's a whole litany of garden pests that can make short work of your plants -- and all the work you've put into growing them! Fortunately, you're not helpless against your plant-devouring foes. In the resources that I provide on pest control, I try to give you as many choices as possible. Don't like to use poisons? No problem: I offer organic landscaping solutions, too. Don't want to remove the pests entirely from your property, preferring instead merely to fence them out? Again, no problem. Just browse my pest control resources, and you're bound to find a landscaping solution that suits your needs and tastes.

•To read about protecting your plants from deer, rodents, insects, etc., please click on the link below:

Garden Pest Control

"Weeds are taking over my yard": Mulch as a Landscaping Solution

Mulch is one of the unsung heroes of landscape design. It's highly portable, malleable and, for certain types of mulch, you can even make your own! Areas shaded by large trees can be transformed overnight from eyesores to eye openers by applying an attractive mulch. For all its value, there is much misunderstanding about the use of this landscaping solution, and I receive numerous questions about garden mulch from readers. There are as many types of landscaping mulch as there are landscape challenges. Mulch is sometimes used in conjunction with landscape fabrics.

•To read about selecting the proper landscaping mulch for your needs, please click on the first link below. If you'd prefer the Q&A format, try the second link:

Landscaping Mulch
Garden Mulch
Landscape Fabrics

"I don't have much time for maintenance and prefer a long-lasting landscaping solution": Hardscape

One way to beat problem areas is by employing hardscape elements. They're long-lasting, which cuts down on maintenance time. The landscaping solutions offered by stonework, for instance, form an impressive list. Unlike plants, hardscape needs neither water nor sun, nor do you have to prune it or clean up after it. Unlike most mulches, hardscape projects stand the test of time -- if built properly. Contemplating such projects raises a myriad of questions about hardscape, since hardscape projects encompass a number of specialized fields. Hardscape projects are also initially labor-intensive, but once completed, they can provide visual interest on your landscape for the rest of your life, with little maintenance.

An example of hardscape providing a landscaping solution is the use of a stone wall to separate the road from your front lawn. Many plants do not tolerate road salt well. To form a border along the edge of your lawn, a stone wall can be a much more sensible alternative than shrubs or other plants.

Interested in combining stone wall construction with the rock gardens mentioned on Page 1? The rocks in a stone wall can be selected so as to complement the rocks in a rock garden beautifully!

But hardscape isn't limited to masonry. Wood is another popular hardscape material, used, for instance, to build decks and arbors.

•To read about the myriad of possibilities with hardscape, please click on the first link below. For those who prefer the Q&A format, try the second link. The third link is for those interested in decks and arbors:

Landscaping With Stone
FAQ on Hardscape as a Landscaping Solution
Building Decks and Arbors

But there are various ways to achieve low-maintenance landscaping besides using hardscape. Think of all the effort that goes into lawn maintenance. You must house and maintain the mower, buying gas and oil for it. You have to drag yourself outside on a hot day to mow when you'd rather be at the beach. Then there's the cleanup afterwards. And I haven't even said anything yet about other lawn-maintenance tasks (fertilizing, weed control, etc.). When you add it all up, you pay dearly for a lawn -- both in terms of money and maintenance.

Does hearing that litany of chores put you in a mind to learn how to get rid of grass, so you could swap it out for a low-maintenance shrub bed?

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