Four Rules for Using Ground Covers:

Creeping Phlox

Pachysandra

The uses of ground covers are nearly endless, and are limited only by your imagination. Even so, you should always attempt to follow the four basic rules of ground cover use. Adhering to these four rules will prevent the use of inappropriate or incompatible ground covers and will insure optimal success.
Combining too many different types of ground covers in the same landscape results in a busy, cluttered appearance. To create the most appealing landscape, use only one or a few selected varieties.


In general, plant large-leaved ground covers when the scale is large, and small-leaved ground covers when the scale is small. By following this rule, you will create a harmonious setting, and your plants will always be in the proper proportion to the landscape. Doing the opposite will waste the precious little space of the smaller landscape or leave the large setting looking naked.


Sensitivity to companionship should be exercised when combining ground covers with other plant types, such as trees or shrubs. In other words, you should only install plants which will comfortably coexist. Such plants should possess not only similar cultural requirements, but complementary colors, textures, forms, and sizes. If plants of different compatibility (companionship) are planted together, not only will harmony be lacking, but extra maintenance will be required.


Never combine ground covers that have incompatible growth habits. The worst offense in this regard is to combine a species of vigorous, horizontal spreading habit (such as English ivy, periwinkle, Goutweed, or fleece flower) with a species of diminutive or refined habit (such as Stonecrop or Germander). The vigorous plants will soon overrun the smaller, slower growing ones.
 

Goatweed

Blue Rug Juniper

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First things first - As the name suggests, raised bed gardening involves planting your plants in a bed that is off the ground rather than planting directly into the soil. Raised beds come in all different sizes, and there are many different kinds of receptacles for raised beds, depending on the size and where you want to hang the beds.

The ability to manage the soil is one of the most significant benefits of using the raised bed. Because you choose and mix the ground yourself, you can create the perfect soil environment for the plants you want to grow. That means even if you're going to grow plants that don't typically thrive in your area because of your local soil composition, you can grow them in raised planters in which you have created the perfect soil for those plants.

There are other benefits to raised areas as well, even if the soil is not an issue in your area. Another significant advantage to consider is the way the raised beds let you target the use of things you put on your garden. Apply fertilizer and mulch where they are needed - and there only - so you end up using less and do not accidentally apply these things where they are not required. If you use chemical pesticides, herbicides or insecticides, you can use a smaller amount of them, and again, you can target their use. Because you apply them only to the raised bed, you don't have to worry about runoff or the effects these chemicals can have on your pets or kids who play in your yard. All in raised bed gardening makes for more efficient planting.

One great benefit of a raised gardening bed that is the fact that the planting area is, in fact, elevated. Since the garden is not ground level, it is much easier to tend. Garden enthusiasts with back problems will love being able to see their plants and manage them without bending over and dealing with hours of painful work. Raised areas are ideal for people with joint pain and injuries that make it difficult for them to garden traditionally.

Although raised garden beds have all of these benefits and make different kinds of gardening possible in areas where the soil is not ideal, the beds can't trump every problem a garden may face. You still need to consider the climate in your area and choose plants accordingly - raised planters or not, and tropical plants won't grow in snowy climates. Also, you will still need to pay attention to what level of sunlight your garden area gets and choose your plants with that in mind. Further, although most people with raised beds deal with less pest infestation, you will still need some way to deal plant-munching insects. Even though raised beds can't fix everything, however, they are still a great option when soil limits the way you garden.

Lawrence L. Hoyle, author, 57 years in the Landscape Profession. Check out his main website at: https://www.web-landscape-design-ideas.com. This website has free Landscape help for Do-It-Yourselves and a online Landscape Design Services for Homeowners, Landscape Contractors and Home Builders. Designing online since 2003 with designs in 40 states. Get Your Special Landscape Design today.!

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