a column most gardening writers hope to publish in their
careers — a do’s and don’ts list for gardening
hobbyists and professionals.
beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But, remember,
your neighbors have to look at what you do.
do you — homeowners and landscape companies — groom
a yard, making it look so lovely, and then blow all the
grass clippings into the street?
about it — the street is like the appealing appetizer
before the main course — your lovely yard and home.
Plus, debris in the street washes into storm drains
where it helps pollute waterways. So, when you mow and
trim your yard, or have it done, clean up the street,
too. Then, stand back and look at how better the overall
do you get energetic in spring and put in a huge shrub
and flower garden, mulch it and make it all pretty —
and then never weed it the rest of the year? Or, abandon
a new garden without finishing it.
spring, it’s fun to watch inspired homeowners tilling
up soil to plant new trees, shrubs, perennials and
annuals, and then add fresh mulch. Weeks go by and the
bed begs for attention. Weeds pop up, first around the
edges, then around the middle and soon weeds are
covering the entire bed. What a waste of time, money and
opportunity to beautify life. If you have no intention
of maintaining a bed, why create it in the first place
and ultimately end up with an eyesore. Instead, be
honest about your willingness to work in a yard, and
just try to have neatly mowed grass, which your
neighbors will appreciate.
do you let your grass grow so tall before cutting it and
then leav clumps on the lawn?
smart to mow and let your clippings fall back into the
lawn but only if you have a mulching mower and cut your
grass frequently so the clippings decompose. As those
clippings decompose, they return valuable nutrients and
moisture back into the soil. However, when you cut your
grass when it’s four inches or taller and let the
clippings clump and stay, you create a visual eyesore,
decaying grass smell and wasted clippings.
do you put in expensive new plants and never water them
in the hot, dry summer?
professional landscape designers complain about this
problem, and actually leave "please water your
plants" notes on front doors where they recently
installed new plant material. All plants, even rugged
native species, need ample water the first year in order
to establish healthy root systems. The second year, most
plants can tolerate some minor dry spells.
Shallow-rooted plants like dogwoods and azaleas always
need supplemental water during droughts. But, remember,
too much water is just as bad as too little water, so
know your plant’s moisture needs to ensure its good
do you let your dog poop along the street and in people’s
waste along streets and yards is nasty looking and
unhealthy for people and the environment. When you walk
your dog, please take along a plastic grocery or
newspaper bag and pick up poop — no matter whether
your dog is large or small, poop matters. Besides
messing up shoes, pet poop harbors pathogens that can
impact air and water quality. Pet waste washes into
storm drains and then into local waterways where it
turns the water into a cloudy, green, foul-smelling mess
with no oxygen for aquatic life; the end result is beach
closings and fishing restrictions.
Facebook friends were asked to weigh in on do’s and
don’ts for homeowners’ yards and homes in general,
here’s what they said:
do not put out lawn decorations and then not keep them
clean and maintained. — Bea
up your leaves in the fall. — Debbie
décor, Halloween is not in December, and Christmas is
not in February … .etc. — Jean
about keeping your yard mowed and trimmed regularly. —
love the red mulch … reminds me of redwood trees. —
hate, hate red mulch and junky cars in the driveway. —
about that fake rubber mulch looking thing people put
around trees, hate that too. — Beth
your porch’s proportions, and keep things in scale and
uncluttered … And, for goodness sake, take your huge
stroller indoors, don’t leave it on your lawn or
porch. — Matt
hate those free form wild flower gardens that extend to
the curb. Keep that nonconforming, asymmetrical, ugly
thing you call tranquil in the backyard because us right
brainers call it an eyesore — Robyn
a huge RV in the front driveway. You could have a blue
ribbon landscape, but all anyone sees is a gigantic
eyesore. – Glenda