You can transform your garden from a crazy-quilt to a coherent
landscape by fusing small, scattered planting beds into larger ones that have more visual impact.
And you'll be shrinking your lawn at the same time.
How to Consolidate
Carve an interesting shape around several close plantings to make one
larger bed. You may want to lay a rope or garden hose first to experiment with the shape and
size. There's no need to dig up the sod that covers your intended planting bed; simply
edge it and
smother the lawn inside it.
Choose new plants that harmonize with the existing ones.
Choose groundcovers that you'll be able to keep in bounds. Here are three ways that groundcovers
- Many groundcovers spread swiftly, but those that spread across the surface on runners
(ground ivy or Creeping Charlie) can be pulled out or clipped at the edges of the bed. Don't
leave clippings on the ground or they'll sprout into new plants. Also, running plants are hard
to control in the interior of a bed and, for lowest maintenance, should be allowed to run free within it.
- Other groundcovers grow in clumps and may be therefore easier to contain, unless they
self-sow prolifically, in which case clip the flowers before they set seed if you want to keep them in bounds.
- The hardest plants to control are those that spread from deep underground roots. One
such root can produce a colony spread across a large area, and the entire deep root, and often
all subsidiary roots, must be found and dug up to eradicate the plants. With this type it is "all
or nothing"--you either decide you want them permanently in that location or you must rid the area
of every scrap of them.
Connect distant beds to convert large tracts of lawn into a
stroll garden, then design a path through
the new area so you can enjoy it from within. As Joe Eck says in
Elements of Garden Design, "...a garden
one can wander through is always more thrilling than a garden one must simply stand before and