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.
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.
Consult these poison sumac pictures for identification purposes. My photos include closeups showing what the leaves, etc. of these plants look like.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Poison ivy leaflets are sometimes notched, a feature that may be especially prominent in young leaves. Variations increase the difficulty in identification. Page 2.
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.
As this picture shows, poison ivy flowers are rather unremarkable. But knowing what they look like will help you identify this weed. Page 7.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Poison ivy weeds have many look-alikes. This picture of Virginia creeper will help distinguish the two and help you with identification. Page 15.
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.
Long-blooming perennials give continuous garden color, with just a little deadheading, dividing, etc. on your part. Discover some flowers that bloom all summer.
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 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.
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.
Picture of poison ivy with its fall foliage. The leaves turn orange, yellow or red in fall. Page 10.
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.
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.
Virginia creeper is among the vine plants similar to poison ivy. Other vines mistaken for it include bittersweet. Page 16.
My picture displays poison ivy climbing a clapboard-sided building. The vine's aerial roots allow it to climb structures. Page 13.
Have you wondered what those hairy vines are climbing up trees? That's poison ivy, the 'hairs' being the vines' aerial roots. Page 12.
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 the advantages of live-trapping woodchucks as a pest control measure. Use groundhog traps to avoid a nightmare in the garden. Page 3.
My picture reveals the autumn foliage of poison ivy plants. Their leaves' color ranges from orange to yellow to red. Page 11.
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.
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.
My picture shows the flower buds of Virginia creeper. Many people mistake this vine for poison ivy. Page 17.
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.
'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 facts about common milkweed plant (picture), including its uses and growing requirements. Learn what these host plants for Monarch butterflies look like.
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.
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.
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.
"Pinnately compound" is part of botanical lingo for identifying plants by their leaf shapes. "Pinnate"
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.
Distinguish poisonous sumac shrubs from their harmless namesakes and consider the latter to create colorful fall foliage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before you contemplate specific backyard landscaping designs, you have to ask yourself some basic questions.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
'Beneficial' types of weeds, as opposed to 'noxious' varieties, are so classified via a number of criteria. Some of the beneficial kinds are edible, for example. Page 2.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Trumpet vines are invasive plants, with showy blooms often of an orange color. Campsis radicans climbs trellises, and its salmon flowers attract hummingbirds.
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.
Privet hedges (Ligustrum shrubs) are traditional favorites, being amenable to pruning. But these bushes are invasive plants in North America.
Individual Stella de Oro daylily flowers last only a day. Why is the plant so popular, then, with those seeking summer-long color? Find out here.
Treatment for poison ivy rash includes natural remedies (e.g., jewelweed) as well as other medical remedies. Treating it begins by washing with soap and water.
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.
Russian sage plants (Perovskia atriplicifolia), though often treated as perennials, are woody sub-shrubs. Perovskia bears silver leaves and tall flower spikes.
Tips are provided in this resource for fertilizing lawns. I also give you a care schedule you can follow for spring, summer and fall.
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.
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.
Learn how to plant and care for Stargazer lilies, a popular Oriental type. Read my growing tips and begin enjoying the flowers of these exquisite bulb plants.
Foxglove flowers will thrive in shade and tolerate dry soil but prefer moderate moisture. Digitalis purpurea plants are poisonous but are also used medicinally.
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.
Learn how to install landscape fabrics, a high-tech solution for weed control. Weed barriers suppress plant pests without suffocating everything under them.
Purslane is a nutritious weed increasingly used in agriculture and cooking recipes. This herb is high in vitamin C and metabolism-regulating Omega-3 fatty acids.
Mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius) is a deciduous flowering shrub. This article discusses growing both P. coronarius and Minnesota Snowflake plants.
Home landscaping pictures give numerous ideas for creating your own beautiful yard. My photos illustrate components found in the best landscapes.
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.
It's easy for DIYers to build floating decks, because they are not attached to a building. This tutorial (includes pictures of the small structure constructed) shows you how it's done.
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.
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.
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.
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.
See my closeup photo of poison sumac berries for help with identification. You'll notice they're oddly shaped. Page 5.
Hardy hibiscus plants bear large flowers that give Northerners an option for a tropical feel. The blooms are much bigger than on rose of sharon.
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.
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.
Learn about Sunburst honey locust trees which, like Shademaster, are classified as thornless, podless and non-messy. This makes them good street trees.
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.
I help you learn how to identify poison ivy in this piece by showing you an image and describing what the plant looks like in each of the 4 seasons of the year.
Of the weeping trees, some Japanese cherry trees are among the most spectacular. Such specimens give your landscaping a drooping habit and lovely blossoms.
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.
Plant Taxonomy of English Boxwood Shrubs: Plant taxonomy classifies English boxwoods as Buxus sempervirens
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.
Description of the types of ornamental grasses (short, medium and tall), and why they are the best examples of low-maintenance plants.
The photo above is a closeup of poison sumac's leaflet; its edge (or "margin") is considered "entire"
How do you get rid of moss in a lawn? The real question is what causes it to grow there in the first place.
Find out the habitats where Japanese knotweed plants (picture) thrive. Understanding this helps you develop eradication strategies and get rid of this invasive.
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.
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.
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.
If the rash it causes can be considered its "bite," then in the case of this dog, it is not true that
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.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Plant Taxonomy
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.
Slender Hinoki cypress trees are semi-dwarfs, being more compact than the species trees but not as short as 'Nana Gracilis,' the true dwarf.
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.
Emerald and Gold euonymus shrubs are low-mounding, evergreen bushes. The plants have variegated leaves on stems that stick straight up.
Learn how to build concrete patios, including forms, installing drainage, using automatic cement mixers and pouring. This tutorial is for beginners.
Deer-resistant shrubs aren't Bambi's favorite foods, although he'll eat anything if hungry enough. Consult this list of bushes if you're not anxious to draw Bambi to your landscape.
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.
: To "deadhead" plants means to remove their spent flowers. For many plants, deadheading promotes more
Sky Pencil holly presents an option for small spaces. These narrow, columnar shrubs lend themselves to usage near house foundations, especially at the corners.
Bloodgood Japanese maple trees grace many a yard as a focal point, thriving as specimens for small spaces. Learn how to grow this colorful Acer variety here.
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.
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 Rug juniper plants are sturdy groundcovers for sunny slopes. This article contains growing tips and information on their use as groundcovers.
My list of rock garden plants focuses on sun-loving perennials. I have organized my list according to plant size.
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.
Let's explore the origin of Groundhog Day, February 2, with a look back through history at Imbolc, St. Brigid's Day (or Bridget's) and Candlemas Day. Page 4.
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.
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.
Zone maps, provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, showing average extreme minimal temperatures broken down by region.
DIYers should consult my guide to building decks for help. I offer step-by-step instruction on do-it-yourself deck construction and design.
Learn what polymeric sand is and why it is used in working with pavers. Links are also provided to other articles dealing with pavers.
Want to find out what poison sumac plants look like so you can avoid them? See my pictures and descriptions to identify them, plus get information on the rash.
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.
Garden weed identification is critical to control efforts against unwanted plants. Identify your enemies and learn their strengths and weaknesses.
Flowering ground covers combine beauty and functionality, giving floral color while fighting weeds and erosion. These pictures help you with selection.
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.
Need some help with the identification of common lawn weeds? You'll get that here through pictures, plus tips on how to control some of the worst offenders.
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.
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.
Full-sun plants are often perfect for rock gardens, for example. Learn about some types of drought-tolerant perennials before you buy a plant for that hot spot.
Hens and chicks plants are surprisingly hardy perennials, for succulents, and exhibit drought-tolerance. Peruse my growing tips (with picture) to learn more.
Border forsythia bushes (often misspelled 'forcynthia') are shrubs renowned for ushering in spring. Learn how to care for these plants (including pruning) here.
Hosta plants do bloom but are grown for their foliage. Leaf color, as shown in my pictures, is quite varied. Learn about some varieties and how to care for them.
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.
Lantana plants are a tropical shrub and a symbol of Florida landscaping, their salt-tolerance making them a favorite flower in seashore communities.