Landscape Tip - Create A Gravel Path
In contrast to concrete, brick, or flagstone, gravel paths and walkways are about as versatile, inexpensive, and simple as you can get (since we're on the subject of simplicity). Gravel also makes an excellent ground cover where shade won't permit anything else to grow.
For pathways and childrens play areas I would suggest a fine pea gravel which is basically pea size and shape and is void of jagged edges. If it's too small, it can more easily stick to your shoes and be tracked indoors. Size and color, of course, depend on what is available in your area.
It's important to underlay the area with a durable landscape fabric. Don't use plastic. It will trap water, create a soupy mess, and doesn't allow the soil to "breathe". And don't use cheap fabric as it will tear and disintegrate under traffic and time.
I personally use a professional 3 oz. spunbonded landscape fabric. It allows soil to breathe, water to penetrate, and keeps weeds and grass down.
Two inches of gravel is about the right depth. Anything thicker will be too mushy to walk on. If this is still uncomfortable for you, you can incorporate stones, pavers, or flagstone into or on top of the area. Simple, yet inexpensive and it looks good and fits almost anywhere.
GARDEN TIP - Time For bareroots and Roses
In most parts of the U.S. it's getting close to or already is time to start thinking about the bare root plants you'll plant in the spring garden. By bareroot I mean balled, burlapped, or bare trees, shrubs, and Roses.
I say most parts of the Country because here in Carlsbad, New Mexico, we haven't even had a hard enough frost to drop the leaves off of the trees. And us landscape designers and contractors are still hard at it trying to finish out the season.
The best time to plant bareroot plants is in the Fall and Winter. This allows these plants time to establish a good root structure before the growing demands of Spring. Yes, even in dead of Winter plants will produce a root system and begin to become established.
After planting, remember, that even in Winter these plants will still need water. A good soak every 7 to 10 days should be good in most areas. Also, don't fertilize until plants have established leaves that are mature and past the Bud stage. And even then, go lightly.
For just Roses -
Select grade #1 select Roses. Check the soil and roots to make sure they're not dried out. The roots should be pliable and not crack.
Try and pick Roses that have a good form to begin with. 3 or 4 thick, upright stalks usually creates bushes with good form. Also, try and avoid bushes that are waxed to lock in moisture. Even in colder climates, the sun gets hot enough to burn them from the wax.
Avoid planting in the shade or too much shade. Roses need at least 6 hours of sun to do well. However, they don't like it too hot. Morning sun is best and do try and keep away from hot walls and rock beds.
If you get stuck on your planting scheme, see Pre planned gardens - Plans for creative and economical ways to use pre planned garden designs in your landscaping project.
That's all for this issue. Until next issue, take a look at the new pictures gallery at Front Yards. It's a great gallery of ideas with a few hundred front yard landscaping pictures.