Ground Cover Grass replacement? LOTS of Questions

joefalco(z8 MB SC)April 4, 2005

I am interested in eventually replacing most of my grass with flower beds trees and ground covers I have some questions.

I would like to start replacing the outer edge of the yard where it is dug out for drainage. This area is not really steep but is a little difficult to mow.

This area is about 40 feet long by 4 feet wide. I would really like to kill all the grass first but I don't want to use roundup. I prefer to do things organically. Would it be ok to put down cardboard and put some topsoil on top and then plant the groundcover?

Ok then what ground covers do you all really like and recommend. I would like something flowery and nice not a conifer ground cover. I would also like something that I could interplant with other flowers that can grow in harmony with the ground cover. Perhaps some Bulbs dafodils etc among the ground cover.

Also is there a good way to keep grass from invading the ground cover area or will the ground cover just out compete the grass.

I don't have bermuda grass so thats good.

ANY help is appreciated I know these are alot of questions.

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gabehart(5a OH)

If you do a lasagna type compost on the beds, the grass underneath will be killed and incoporated into the soil. Check out the Composting forum. There are lots of ways to compost right on top of where you want to make a flower bed without having to remove the sod or chemically kill the grass. I love it.

There are many groundcovers that you can plant blulbs among. Since most bulbs come up before a groundcover starts it's full growth there isn't too much of a competition problem. You might want to also check out the Perennials forum for ideas. They'd need to know what kind of sun and exposure the area to plant has before suggesting a plant.
Personally, I like Oenathis (sp?). We call it Pink Drops, they come in yellow also. How about strawberries? They cover big areas fast.

happy gardening

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 9:08AM
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creatrix(z7 VA)

Weeds, including grass, will come up through groundcovers. You could try Corn Gluten Meal as an organic pre-emergent, to keep seeds from sprouting. Bed edging (sheets of hard plastic, rubber or metal that are installed vertically or half buried bricks) will help keep the lawn grass runners from getting into the bed. None of it is 100%.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 6:08PM
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I have an area titled, "Waves of Groundcovers" in front of the house. Adjacent grass is kept out by creating a trench between the garden and the grass. The trench is only about 6 inches deep and the garden bed slopes up out of the trench. My mother maintained her perennial beds like this for years.

In the spring, it is a good idea to check the trench and remove any soil that has filled in and remove any grass that is making the attempt to invade. The length of my garden bed front is about 80 feet and it is not a big chore. It does need to be done annually though.

The other consideration is foot traffic. If a lot of people walk in the area, the trench can be come an ankle twister.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 7:53AM
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joefalco(z8 MB SC)

Thanks for all the help. The 6" trench idea sounds like a good one to me desides the ankle twisting. I would think packing the trench with saw dust mulch would keep people from hurting themselves and also keep the grass/weeds at bay.

I'm going to work on this project a little at a time untill my grass is either gone or there is very little grass.

Do you have a PIC of your waves or ground covers? I would love to see how it looks..

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 2:46PM
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This may sound a little odd, but I've had great success in similar type areas with mondo grass (yeah, monkey grass). It is ridiculously easy to work with, and is not, as many people will say, all that difficult to control.

An entire area covered with the stuff looks really great, to my way of thinking.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 5:33PM
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creatrix(z7 VA)

I think packing the trench would defeat the purpose.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 8:00PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Honey, if you live in South Carolina, you've got Bermuda. Now, whether or not it's a huge component of your lawn, that's another story. But, it's a little bit early for it to be active yet so even Roundup wouldn't kill it. Roundup is the easiest method to choose to eradicate the existing vegitation, and it's probably also one of the safest garden chemicals that you could use. BUt, not using it is your personal choice. It will probably add at least a year to your plan, because you will have to really really make sure you've eliminated the grass from those beds before you start planting, or it'll be a never ending battle and it'll always look messy and unkemp-- which the city fathers and the nosy complain about everything neighbors will cite you for growing weeds. Been there and done that, and mowing the grass and wildflowers was easier in the end than fighting city hall.

ANd since this is a damp area, I think the "ditch lilies" or orange daylilies would be a good groundcover choice, along with monarda and other mint family plants. Physostegia virginiana and oneothera speciosa and achillea millefolium might as well get thrown into the mix, and you'd have a flowering battle of the invasive flowering plants. But, you'd get good coverage rapidly.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 12:55AM
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Stellinate(5 OH)

I wouldn't use anything as thick as cardboard, I would use several layers of newspapers (sometimes you can get them free after the date from your corner gas station or the newspaper office). The newspapers job will be done shortly and deteriorate faster than cardboard.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 9:09PM
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