Landscaping: Most Popular Articles
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.
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.
Consult these poison sumac pictures for identification purposes. My photos include closeups showing what the leaves, etc. of these plants look like.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As this picture shows, poison ivy flowers are rather unremarkable. But knowing what they look like will help you identify this weed. Page 7.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Picture of poison ivy with its fall foliage. The leaves turn orange, yellow or red in fall. Page 10.
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.
The chrysanthemums covered here are hardy mums, a good choice for fall flowers in the North. Learn about their care: dividing, pinching, winter protection.
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.
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.
Poison ivy leaflets are sometimes notched, a feature that may be especially prominent in young leaves. Variations increase the difficulty in identification. Page 2.
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.
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.
Poison ivy weeds have many look-alikes. This picture of Virginia creeper will help distinguish the two and help you with identification. Page 15.
My weed pictures include photos of plants you probably know, but not by name. Here's some help in identifying common types of weeds.
My picture reveals the autumn foliage of poison ivy plants. Their leaves' color ranges from orange to yellow to red. Page 11.
Have you wondered what those hairy vines are climbing up trees? That's poison ivy, the 'hairs' being the vines' aerial roots. Page 12.
My picture displays poison ivy climbing a clapboard-sided building. The vine's aerial roots allow it to climb structures. Page 13.
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.
Virginia creeper is among the vine plants similar to poison ivy. Other vines mistaken for it include bittersweet. Page 16.
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.
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.
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.
What are the best types of landscape trees, especially for autumn? In this piece I help you make great picks to create seasonal interest year-round.
Use late summer flowering shrubs to keep the August and September yard colorful. Here I offer my top 10 (with photos), with access to in-depth info.
Much of the work in sealing asphalt driveways is in preparing. I walk beginners through all the steps, from preparation to applying sealant to drying time.
'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.
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.
My picture shows the flower buds of Virginia creeper. Many people mistake this vine for poison ivy. Page 17.
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.
I address planting fall flowers that will look great in the landscape here. Annuals supplement autumn leaf color and give you an inexpensive option.
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.
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.
My pictures of ragweed (both major types, common and giant) can help you identify this menace and remove it from your yard. I provide leaf and flower closeups.
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.
"Pinnately compound" is part of botanical lingo for identifying plants by their leaf shapes. "Pinnate"
Learn facts about common milkweed plant (picture), including its uses and growing requirements. Learn what these host plants for Monarch butterflies look like.
Need help with poison oak identification and/or eradication? I help you with both here, while also aiding you in identifying poison ivy and poison sumac.
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.
Need a picture of poison sumac berries? This photo shows what they look like and helps you tell this plant apart from non-toxic types. Page 4.
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.
This picture shows the seedtuft of non-poison sumac. You can easily tell toxic types apart from non-toxic kinds by looking at this plant part. Page 7.
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.
Common ragweed and its giant cousin are often the cause of fall hay fever. Are you a sufferer? Use my pictures to identify the plants, then get rid of them.
Its red stems help identify poison sumac. View this and my other pictures in this photo gallery for help with identification of this menace. Page 10.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Privet hedges (Ligustrum shrubs) are traditional favorites, being amenable to pruning. But these bushes are invasive plants in North America.
See my closeup photo of poison sumac berries for help with identification. You'll notice they're oddly shaped. Page 5.
View my photo to learn what ragweed looks like. Once you identify it, you can pull up any plants growing in your yard and maybe minimize your allergy symptoms.
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.
This photo of the white berries of poison sumach shows what they look like in fall, having changed color over the course of the seasons. Page 6.
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.
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.
This photo of a poison sumac plant shows the entire bush growing in a swamp. Its leaves are their summer green, stems red, berries light green.
Montauk daisies are late-bloomers (offering fall flowers) with shiny foliage. They tolerate deer, drought and salt. Learn how to grow this exceptional plant.
If the rash it causes can be considered its "bite," then in the case of this dog, it is not true that
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.
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.
See fall foliage pics of poison sumac here. Among these photos is a shot of the plant with yellowish and pinkish-colored autumn leaves. Page 11.
The photo above is a closeup of poison sumac's leaflet; its edge (or "margin") is considered "entire"
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.
Learn how to get rid of the wild violets in your lawn. These weeds are violas, making them relatives of such flowers as pansies and johnny-jump-ups.
Before you contemplate specific backyard landscaping designs, you have to ask yourself some basic questions.
What are the best crabgrass killers? I discuss 3 here, with a focus on post-emergent herbicides; the other 2 consist less of killing than of prevention.
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?
My picture shows poison sumac shrub's bark. It's on young shrubs in this example, and you can tell it's new because it's smooth. Page 9.
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.
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.
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.
This is a photo of poison sumac's red fall leaves. Browse my gallery to view the various parts of this plant, as an aid to identification. Page 14.
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).
How high should grass be cut in fall? For the height of the grass in your lawn during the fall season, use the general rule of thumb cited here.
How do you get rid of moss in a lawn? The real question is what causes it to grow there in the first place.
An index to articles on groundcovers and other low-growing landscaping plants. Since lawn grass, shrubs and trees are covered elsewhere, these resources focus on other types of vegetation, such as annual flowers, perennials and vines.
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.
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.
Tips are provided in this resource for fertilizing lawns. I also give you a care schedule you can follow for spring, summer and fall.
Long-blooming perennials give continuous garden color, with just a little deadheading, dividing, etc. on your part. Discover some flowers that bloom all summer.
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.
Need ideas for making scarecrows this autumn? Browse my pictures for inspiration, including ideas for faces, heads, torsos, hats, clothing and support.
Chinese lantern plants are subject to many diseases and insect pests. Spray your plants with Neem oil when you spot insects.
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.
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.
By planting shrubs for fall color, you diversify, rather than relying on trees for fall foliage. Bring some of that color down to earth with these shrubs and vines that set the autumn landscape ablaze with their leaves.
Russian sage plants (Perovskia atriplicifolia), though often treated as perennials, are woody sub-shrubs. Perovskia bears silver leaves and tall flower spikes.
Are American bittersweet plants benign? How do you remove the invasive Oriental vines? Learn all about these bearers of beautiful berries here.
Description of the types of ornamental grasses (short, medium and tall), and why they are the best examples of low-maintenance plants.
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.
Slender Hinoki cypress trees are semi-dwarfs, being more compact than the species trees but not as short as 'Nana Gracilis,' the true dwarf.
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.
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.
10 tips for those serious about low-maintenance landscaping. Properly managing water needs is paramount (otherwise you're looking at a real timesink).
Of the weeping trees, some Japanese cherry trees are among the most spectacular. Such specimens give your landscaping a drooping habit and lovely blossoms.
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.
How do you get rid of poison oak plants? Although you can kill them with the herbicides described here, eradication can also be accomplished by manual removal.
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.
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.
Mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius) is a deciduous flowering shrub. This article discusses growing both P. coronarius and Minnesota Snowflake plants.
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.
Distinguish poisonous sumac shrubs from their harmless namesakes and consider the latter to create colorful fall foliage.
Itchy rash plants are the weed equivalents to yellow jackets in the bug world. For example, like stinging insects, stinging nettles can also burn you.
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.
Learn how to install landscape fabrics, a high-tech solution for weed control. Weed barriers suppress plant pests without suffocating everything under them.
Find out the habitats where Japanese knotweed plants (picture) thrive. Understanding this helps you develop eradication strategies and get rid of this invasive.
Ground covers for shade must be tough to overcome a lack of sunshine; problem is, some are too tough. I discuss 3 good choices and 7 invasives here.
Foxglove flowers will thrive in shade and tolerate dry soil but prefer moderate moisture. Digitalis purpurea plants are poisonous but are also used medicinally.
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.
Emerald and Gold euonymus shrubs are low-mounding, evergreen bushes. The plants have variegated leaves on stems that stick straight up.
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.
Plant Taxonomy of English Boxwood Shrubs: Plant taxonomy classifies English boxwoods as Buxus sempervirens
Goldenrod plants are wildflowers native to North America. A member of the Aster family, this perennial comes in many types.
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.
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.
Sky Pencil holly presents an option for small spaces. These narrow, columnar shrubs lend themselves to usage near house foundations, especially at the corners.
Learn the advantages of live-trapping woodchucks as a pest control measure. Use groundhog traps to avoid a nightmare in the garden. Page 3.
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.
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.
Tulip trees are sometimes referred to as yellow poplars, although they are related to magnolias, not poplars. These tall specimens provide yellow fall foliage.
Removing poison ivy from your yard is probably easier than remembering to avoid those 'leaflets 3.' Read my tips on how to remove this weed to do the job safely.
This step-by-step tutorial walks you through the steps in planting hedges. Through pictures I show you how to plant boxwood shrubs in a straight row.
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.
Using seed for starting new lawns is cheaper than using sod. Learn the steps required for properly seeding lawns.
The lists of flowers (with pictures) here are organized by color. Browse these galleries to gain ideas for creating colorful landscape designs.
Killing Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), is possible using herbicides such as Roundup. Roundup can be applied to kill the weed in 2 ways for eradication. Page 3.
Organic gardeners wonder how to kill grass and eliminate lawns without using herbicides. There's a natural way to get rid of it before opening up planting beds.
Planting apple trees properly is the first step in effective care. The home gardener can plant in spring in the North, in fall in the South. Page 3.
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.
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.
Plants for dry shade meet a dual challenge: little water and little light. The tough plants discussed in this article will tolerate these difficult conditions.
Blue Star juniper shrubs bear bluish-silver foliage. This slow-growing bush is a dwarf, forming a compact mound with densely packed foliage.
Blue Rug juniper plants are sturdy groundcovers for sunny slopes. This article contains growing tips and information on their use as groundcovers.
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.
Trumpet vines are invasive plants, with showy blooms often of an orange color. Campsis radicans climbs trellises, and its salmon flowers attract hummingbirds.
Columbine flowers come in numerous colors. Of even greater value than their bold colors is the exquisite shape of the blooms, as shown in my picture.
When cool-season grasses take a beating from the summer's heat, overseeding lawns is the answer to rejuvenate them. This job is best done in September.
Flowering ground covers combine beauty and functionality, giving floral color while fighting weeds and erosion. These pictures help you with selection.
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.