Landscaping: Most Popular Articles
I'm often asked how to keep cats away from yards. The answer lies in cat repellents, whether by wire, water, or just plain understanding how feline pests think.
The 10 mistakes I present in my article will help beginners learn how not to landscape a yard. Avoiding these errors means you won't mess things up.
Learn how to store dahlia tubers for the winter. Being summer bulbs, these tubers have to be dug up for storing in the North, where they are not hardy.
Do you wonder how to hang a garland around a door or column (i.e., the best way to attach it)? I discuss a few ways to accomplish this decorating task here.
View my pictures of poison ivy and similar vines for identification. My photos show the plants at different stages of development in the course of the year.
A problem with dog repellents sprinkled on the soil is the need to reapply after rain. On the upside, 2 products in this class lie right on the kitchen shelf.
Gas snowblowers are available in both single-stage and two-stage models. Learn which type you should buy in regions prone to heavy or wet snowfalls.
I am often asked when to plant trees. To answer the question, we first have to know if we're talking about the best time for deciduous or evergreen types.
Why is it necessary to rake leaves off the lawn in fall? The reason behind raking them off goes beyond the oft-quoted admonition about smothering.
Identification is a first step in vole control (they're distinct from moles). Then you can work on getting rid of these field mice or meadow mice.
Shrubs that grow in shade are a boon to folks who toil to find bushes to fill shady voids in the landscape. This top 10 list is designed with variety in mind.
Ginkgo biloba trees are the oldest type on earth and commonly called living fossils. They provide a medicinal extract and fine fall foliage as my pictures show.
Some folks insist on using only tasteful Christmas yard decorations (you know who you are!). If that describes you, you'll want to see these 17 ideas.
My weed pictures include photos of plants you probably know, but not by name. Here's some help in identifying common types of weeds.
Snow shoveling can be difficult enough without making the job tougher on yourself. Read these tips to make the job of clearing a driveway easier.
Installing French drains is an option for providing yard drainage on land where there is excess water. Learn how to make one in this piece geared to DIYers.
A simple and cheap way to build outdoor waterfalls is to erect cascading stone spillways that hang right over your pond. I show you how in this tutorial.
The definition of planting zones refers to USDA hardiness maps, to which I link. I tell you how to use them but explain why you needn't follow them slavishly.
Removing tree stumps is possible without the aid of stump grinders. You can do it manually with mattocks or by applying nitrogen and waiting, which is cheaper.
I present 5 easy steps in teaching you how to transplant trees and shrubs. Learn how to dig the holes and move the plants; also learn about care after installation.
My review of electric snow throwers (snow blowers) compares them to gas-powered models. Electric has pros and cons that distinguishes it from gas.
Fast growing shrubs are great for homeowners needing quick privacy hedges. I list several bushes for those who need privacy in a hurry, linking to plant info.
If you're wondering how to get started landscaping your yard, I offer every type of resource available under the sun. See which one is right for you.
How do you guard against wind damage to shrubs (winter burn)? In this article I discuss how to use tree wrap and how to shelter plants from snow and ice.
Consult these poison sumac pictures for identification purposes. My photos include closeups showing what the leaves, etc. of these plants look like.
Garden pests include the mole and the vole, those subterranean, mouse-like garden pests. But what's the difference between a mole and a vole?
I discuss growing English ivy plants (picture) as a groundcover here. But my tips come with a warning: they have fallen out of favor due to their invasiveness.
Before you contemplate specific backyard landscaping designs, you have to ask yourself some basic questions.
What do black roses mean? My answer is 1 of 11 facts about roses I give here, ranging from which are easiest to grow to what they have to do with the rosary.
Hedge plants serve the practical function of giving a property security and are also decorative. Here I discuss some of the best shrubs to use for hedges.
Red twig dogwood shrubs are so named for the color of their bark in winter. But these stunning bushes offer much more than just colorful winter bark.
If you need some ideas for the yard, study these landscape design pictures showing some basic principles and learn about the concepts the pros use.
This tutorial shows you how to make a kissing ball. Specifically, I focus on how to make one of these Christmas ornaments with mainly natural materials.
What's the best way of killing crabgrass? Using preemergent herbicide is one way to get rid of this weed, but proper ID must come first, so I provide pictures.
Don't you hate it when your snow blower won't start up? But don't reach for that shovel just yet: Ariens offers troubleshooting tips to help you.
'Emerald Green' arborvitae trees are evergreens. Technically shrubs, they have a foliage similar to Leyland cypress and are sometimes used as privacy screens or in other border plantings.
Rose of sharon bush is a deciduous flowering shrub, sometimes thought of as a small tree. Learn about pruning it and other growing tips here.
Pictures of poisonous plants can help you to identify and avoid them. My list includes more than just toxic leaves, berries, etc. that you shouldn't eat.
I advise winter protection for flowering shrubs. In this tutorial (with pictures) I show you how to build a shelter quickly and cheaply.
Are American bittersweet plants benign? How do you remove the invasive Oriental vines? Learn all about these bearers of beautiful berries here.
Read this intro, with pictures, to discover some common types of maple trees. I focus on the best varieties for fall color, including red ones.
Privet hedges (Ligustrum shrubs) are traditional favorites, being amenable to pruning. But these bushes are invasive plants in North America.
Learn about perennial vines for shade, including that rarity, a cold-hardy, flowering one that grows in shady areas. I also warn about invasive vines.
What is an annual? In distinguishing between annual plants and perennials, it's all a matter of the life cycle; I explain the difference here.
What's the difference between dioecious and monoecious? Learn what these terms used in reference to plant reproduction mean.
Find out the habitats where Japanese knotweed plants (picture) thrive. Understanding this helps you develop eradication strategies and get rid of this invasive.
Foxglove flowers will thrive in shade and tolerate dry soil but prefer moderate moisture. Digitalis purpurea plants are poisonous but are also used medicinally.
The lists of flowers (with pictures) here are organized by color. Browse these galleries to gain ideas for creating colorful landscape designs.
What does poison ivy look like? Pictures do the best job of answering the question, thus this photo gallery. Use it for positive identification. Page 5.
The basic landscape design ideas (color, form, line, scale, texture) are introduced with pictures to illustrate how they play out in designing a garden.
This brief article addresses how to use leaf blower/vacs in the sense of developing a plan for using them as one component in a yard-cleanup arsenal.
Read this intro to learn how to care for azalea and rhododendron plants. I give tips on planting these popular flowering shrubs, including pruning azaleas. Page 3.
Here's an estimate of the cost to build a heated driveway. This cost estimate assumes the snow-melt system will have manual controls.
Elephant ear plants are tropical but can be overwintered in cold climates in containers. Keep your plants in a cool, but not freezing basement or garage.
This tutorial illustrates how to build rock gardens. Their is enhanced if attention is paid to color choices (both for the stones and for the plants).
The pictures in this photo gallery provide examples of some of the types of roses available, by color. All are AARS selections; learn more about these beauties.
Heard the well-known rhyme about poison ivy, 'Leaves of three, let it be?' This picture provides visual verification, showing the plant with its 3 leaflets. Page 14.
Have you wondered what those hairy vines are climbing up trees? That's poison ivy, the 'hairs' being the vines' aerial roots. Page 12.
Front-yard landscaping ideas suited to suburbia may not work in rural areas, and vice-versa. But these basic design ideas will point you in the right direction.
Lantana plants are a tropical shrub and a symbol of Florida landscaping, their salt-tolerance making them a favorite flower in seashore communities.
Need to find information about a particular kind of plant? Search my database by clicking on the links below. Search by common name or scientific name.
Poison ivy weeds have many look-alikes. This picture of Virginia creeper will help distinguish the two and help you with identification. Page 15.
Purple beautyberry shrubs bear beautiful fruit, as their name suggests and my photo shows! The berries of this bush are a striking lilac or light purple.
Learn facts about common milkweed plant (picture), including its uses and growing requirements. Learn what these host plants for Monarch butterflies look like.
My list of the 10 plants that do best in the shade includes flowering dogwood trees and one each from all major categories of landscaping plants.
This tutorial deals with building stone retaining walls 3 feet in height or less. When you build without mortar you have limitations but also some benefits.
I discuss 7 types of small evergreen shrubs perfect for owners of tiny yards who crave big-time color. Consult my list of compact bushes before you shop.
Mole control is an one element of lawn care and garden pest control. But before you can get rid of them, first learn the difference between moles and voles.
As this picture shows, poison ivy flowers are rather unremarkable. But knowing what they look like will help you identify this weed. Page 7.
The chrysanthemums covered here are hardy mums, a good choice for fall flowers in the North. Learn about their care: dividing, pinching, winter protection.
Beginners are bewildered by all the different types of palm trees available. To help, I offer a handy list of some of the various types in this introductory article.
This picture is of poison ivy flower buds. Yes, even such troublesome, rash-inducing menaces as this can bloom (not all that blossoms is beautiful). Page 6.
Picture of poison ivy with its fall foliage. The leaves turn orange, yellow or red in fall. Page 10.
Mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius) is a deciduous flowering shrub. This article discusses growing both P. coronarius and Minnesota Snowflake plants.
My picture reveals the autumn foliage of poison ivy plants. Their leaves' color ranges from orange to yellow to red. Page 11.
My image shows the white berries of poison ivy, their color when they ripen. As this picture shows, the berries come in bunches. Page 8.
Tulip trees are sometimes referred to as yellow poplars, although they are related to magnolias, not poplars. These tall specimens provide yellow fall foliage.
My picture displays poison ivy climbing a clapboard-sided building. The vine's aerial roots allow it to climb structures. Page 13.
Growing zone maps are provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They show average extreme minimal temperatures broken down by region.
In landscaping your property line, are you hoping to minimize maintenance, maximize privacy or enhance the beauty of your yard? I help you with all 3 here.
Do you wonder how to store canna bulbs? You can use the tips given here for storing cannas and other tropical plants with rhizomes through winter.
Montauk daisies are late-bloomers (offering fall flowers) with shiny foliage. They tolerate deer, drought and salt. Learn how to grow this exceptional plant.
English yew bushes are widely used for foundation plants or in hedges, while a number of cultivars of Japanese yews exist and can serve similar functions.
: To "deadhead" plants means to remove their spent flowers. For many plants, deadheading promotes more
Slender Hinoki cypress trees are semi-dwarfs, being more compact than the species trees but not as short as 'Nana Gracilis,' the true dwarf.
View my picture of a poison ivy leaf to see how the plant looks in summer. In this example, it's a vine growing on a stone wall. Page 9.
Virginia creeper is among the vine plants similar to poison ivy. Other vines mistaken for it include bittersweet. Page 16.
Consult this list of shrubs before you shop at the nursery. This list describes popular and more unique kinds of bushes for the yard.
To those with bad backs, snow shovels are nothing less than instruments of torture. Ergonomic models may help you avoid back problems due to shoveling.
Boston ivy is related to another vine, Virginia creeper, but mature plants have simple, not compound leaves. Learn how to grow this classic vine here.
Landscaping with dogs means compromise. You must alter plans you'd otherwise have for a yard, e.g., avoiding extensive lawns that will only be stained by urine.
Holly plants vary in size and shape. Some are bushes, but the focus of this article is on the growing requirements and uses of American holly trees, Ilex opaca. Page 2.
Dwarf Alberta spruce trees will eventually reach 12' tall but only over a long period of time. The green needles have a tight, densely-packed growth habit.
These fence pictures illustrate some of the different materials and styles available. Among these landscaping photos are examples of fence plantings.
Options for privacy fences are divided into building hardscape structures vs. using shrubs in hedges as living screens. I list the pros and cons of each here.
Learn how kissing under the mistletoe originated. History tells us that this practice has its roots in Celtic rituals and Norse mythology.
There are natural Christmas decorations that you can use outdoors to juice up the yard with color. Here are some alternatives to store-bought ornaments.
Need some simple landscaping ideas? From designing front, back and side yards to how to start a garden, consult my tips to help with your yard makeover.
Climbing hydrangeas solve a problem for people with shady areas to plant, being shade-tolerant vines. But they'll flower better if they receive some sunlight.
View these pictures of outdoor Christmas light displays to gain ideas for decorating your own yard. My pictures have something for everyone, in terms of style.
Landscape timber edging installation is simple and looks spiffy. Using photos, I relate how to install it to build an attractive edging with minimal effort.
My description of mountain laurel shrubs is supplemented by pictures. I distinguish between these shrubs and the bay laurel trees made famous by the Greeks.
Poison ivy leaflets are sometimes notched, a feature that may be especially prominent in young leaves. Variations increase the difficulty in identification. Page 2.
If flower borders are planted properly, they enhance your landscaping greatly. Here are ideas to help you get it right, with photos to illustrate the concepts.
The organic gardener sometimes uses vinegar as a natural weed killer. It's non-selective, so be careful not to spray or pour it on your good plants.
Dwarf trees (evergreen and deciduous) are popular in small yard design. You can plant them with the knowledge that they won't quickly spike out of control.
See my picture of poison ivy leaves to learn what they look like when young. Their appearance in spring is different from what it is in summer or fall.
Is the grass always greener on the other side (your neighbor's)? These tips for growing green lawns will remedy that, putting a green lawn within your reach.
Sky Pencil holly presents an option for small spaces. These narrow, columnar shrubs lend themselves to usage near house foundations, especially at the corners.
How do you select a snow blower that's right for you? You must ask the right questions (about your climate, your driveway, etc.), as detailed here.
Explore my landscaping articles for help on everything under the sun on beautifying yards. My mission is to bring easy-to-understand information to DIYers.
Learn about Sunburst honey locust trees which, like Shademaster, are classified as thornless, podless and non-messy. This makes them good street trees.
Muriatic acid is a great product for cleaning masonry surfaces. Learn how to use it safely to clean that patio, walkway or wall.
Practice layering when planting flower beds, plus preventative weed control. These are just 2 tips I offer here, as we go from back to front row of a sample bed.
One option for tick control in the yard is to spray to kill ticks. There are other options for organic gardeners; I help you pick one suited to your lifestyle.
Learn how to build dry creek beds for landscape drainage. It's an easy landscaping project if the soil you'll be excavating isn't strewn with roots and rocks.
Pictures of flowering shrubs can give you ideas for your own landscaping. Browse my shrub pictures to view photos of some of the finest blooming bushes of spring and summer.
Here I review the Toro 1500 Power Curve electric snowblower. For beginners, I also present the pros and cons of using such equipment vs snow shoveling.
Salt-tolerant plants are prized in seashore communities and for roadside plantings in areas where roads are salted in winter. Learn about a variety of examples here.
My picture shows the flower buds of Virginia creeper. Many people mistake this vine for poison ivy. Page 17.
Description of the types of ornamental grasses (short, medium and tall), and why they are the best examples of low-maintenance plants.
Scarecrow Sprinklers are better than animal repellents that you spread on the ground (and that you'd have to reapply after a rainstorm), as I say in my review.
A fall lawn care regimen, including mowing, will depend on whether you're caring for warm or cool season grasses. Read these tips to get it right.
: Cultivars (short for cultivated varieties) are plants you buy that have been propagated not from seed,
Autumn Blaze maple trees reach 50 feet tall at maturity with a rounded crown. Fast-growing specimens, maturity comes quickly for this red fall-foliage favorite.
Leyland cypress trees are often planted for fast-growing privacy screens. These slender trees are generally grown by those seeking a mass of evergreen foliage and who are in a hurry.
Russian sage plants (Perovskia atriplicifolia), though often treated as perennials, are woody sub-shrubs. Perovskia bears silver leaves and tall flower spikes.
How do you get rid of moss in a lawn? The real question is what causes it to grow there in the first place.
Laying flagstone patios in sand is not difficult, although the stone itself can be heavy. This DIY project is like building a puzzle; I show you how here.
Many plants poisonous to dogs are very common in back yards. These bad plants may be only mildly toxic or cause more serious canine health problems.
Will you be doing any land grading near a foundation to correct drainage issues? To grade properly, you must first know how much slope you need.
Eastern or 'Canadian' hemlock trees are long-lived evergreens. Many cultivars have been developed for landscape usage, including more compact ones useful in privacy hedges.
Colorado blue spruce trees are deer-resistant and used as specimens or windbreaks. A classic Christmas tree, they can also be impressive landscaping components.
My picture of an orangy poison ivy leaf captures the weed's look in spring. The color can morph from red to orange to green. Page 4.
Flowering ground covers combine beauty and functionality, giving floral color while fighting weeds and erosion. These pictures help you with selection.
The use of winterberry holly shrubs in yards enhances the winter landscape and entices songbirds, who eat the shrubs' bright red berries.
Young poison ivy plants start out with reddish leaves, as my picture shows. Don't be fooled by this spring look: they lose that color later. Page 3.
Of the weeping trees, some Japanese cherry trees are among the most spectacular. Such specimens give your landscaping a drooping habit and lovely blossoms.
The terms cement, concrete and mortar are used almost interchangeably by laymen in conversations about cement mixing, but they serve 3 different purposes.
Long-blooming perennials give continuous garden color, with just a little deadheading, dividing, etc. on your part. Discover some flowers that bloom all summer.
Learn about killing Virginia creeper here if you don't want it on your land. Also discover the pros and cons of the vine here, including whether it's poisonous.
Plant Taxonomy of English Boxwood Shrubs: Plant taxonomy classifies English boxwoods as Buxus sempervirens
Thompson's Water Seal is one of the deck sealers used to protect against rot. Learn how to use this sealant to guard against damage to your decking.
Grow the top 10 flowers to attract hummingbirds to your yard. Besides attracting the winged jewels, these plants will excite the envy of other gardeners. Page 1 of 3.
Home landscaping pictures give numerous ideas for creating your own beautiful yard. My photos illustrate components found in the best landscapes.
Distinguish poisonous sumac shrubs from their harmless namesakes and consider the latter to create colorful fall foliage.
I describe saucer magnolia trees in this article and offer growing information. I also supply pictures and introduce other types of magnolias.
Familiarize yourself with the basics of pruning shrubs in this introduction, including the proper cutting angle to use when cutting. It's easy once you learn how.
Learn about pest control for groundhog or woodchuck pests in gardens. Woodchucks (or ground hogs) are pests that emerge from a burrow to eat vegetables. Page 2.
To start a garden from scratch, take stock of the conditions where you'll be opening up the new bed. I supply all the basic info you need here.