Efficient Landscaping

Planning and proper preparation can make all the difference in the success of a project. Admittedly, I can get caught in the trap of over-planning (some may call that procrastination). But I'd like to share an example where I embarked on a project without doing enough preparation and paid a price for it.

About ten years ago, I discovered a love of gardening and began landscaping my backyard. Because it was so shady back there, the lawn was nothing more than a big patch of red clay with an occasional grass sprig or weed.

To cover up some of the bare spots, I created mulch paths surrounded by shrubs and plant beds. After digging up many wheelbarrows of dirt and laying down almost as many loads of pine bark, the paths were done....or so I thought.

What I failed to do back then was lay down a weed barrier or edging. Over the years this oversight has led to many hours of weeding the paths, pulling up grass that encroached into my neatly laid lines (after losing some trees, the grass magically began growing), and trying to control the path mulch from washing into the yard when it rained.

Fast forward ten year later and I'm finally investing some sweat equity and planning into fixing my former mistakes. After waiting until the most recent batch of old mulch had broken down. I weeded the paths AGAIN, installed new path edging, laid weed fabric, and filled the paths back up with countless loads of mulch that I had left over from a tree removal. Now I can rest assured that I won't be weeding or re-mulching my paths for the next couple of seasons.

And to simplify my yard maintenance even further, when THIS batch of mulch eventually disintegrates, I'm investing in rubber mulch made from ground up recycled tires. That stuff won't need to be replaced for years. By doing the prep work that I should have done a decade ago, I'll be saving myself hours of back breaking weeding. Now if I can just figure out a way to keep those oak trees from shedding so many leaves in the fall.

What type of prep work do you do to make your gardening projects more efficient long term?