While I do appreciate that a weed is simply a plant in an undesirable location, I also understand the chore that comes with them. I never knew what a weed problem was until I moved to a tract of land that was previously a wild space and chemical treated farmland. Acres of open space for weeds to blow and I was in the middle of it.
The first thing I knew I had to do was to amend the soil. Weeds prosper in poor soil so amending it was a benefit. Compost is a chemical chelate, it breaks down into food for new trees, plants and lawn and retains moisture.
Plant an Ecosystem
Keep your beds full. The fuller your plant beds are with plant material the less chance weeds have to grow. Native plants and trees take up real estate in beds blocking light and room for weeds to grow.
Keep Beds Mulched for Better Weed Control
Keep a minimum of 4″ of mulch in your beds. Compost and mulch every spring, and again in the fall. Shredded natural colored hardwood mulch is the best choice for beds. As previously mentions, these act as a weed preventative, helps with water retention and protects the compost from being burned up before it can do the most good.
Mulch can also keep the temperature of the ground a little cooler and prevents cracking of foundations when placed around a home. Be sure however, to allow at least 4-6″ of space from mulch to foundation to prevent termite damage.
Use a Plastic Liner Beneath Rock
The river rock path (above) is an excellent way to address drainage, function and compaction; they are still maintenance in the way of weeds. I recommend river rock sidewalks have a 4-6mil painters plastic liner and landscape pins attaching the plastic beneath the river rock anywhere there are no large plants or trees such as the space above. Only use landscape fabric beneath rock when you have large plants or trees whose roots could be covering access to mature plants. If possible simple cut large holes in the plastic allowing for water to each plant in the beds, or use fabric and expect to replace it in about two years when the weeds have penetrated it like a spaghetti strainer.
NEVER Use Chemical Weed Killers
Fabric lasts about 3 years in our heat and once the fabric has been compromised, the swearing and desperation starts which typically looks a lot like a job for Round Up. You’d be WRONG! Round up is NEVER the answer to anything but more disease and ecological devastation so don’t use rock if you’re not going to hand weed or use an organic weed killer.
Buy A Quality Weed Popper Tool
Weeds are the enemy when we are seeking heathy lawns and flower beds. Most weeds are easiest to pull right after a rain or the day of irrigation. This is the best time to get roots and all because the plant is nice and plump and not so easily detached from the root. Weed poppers like these can be great tools for the job.
Embrace The Weeds!
Sometimes our lawn is the weed. Sods like Bermuda are invasive sods that send out runners and stolons that create more plants and so on. However, if your lawn consists of mostly weeds that aren’t prickly and stay evergreen, you have the best lawn going. Weed lawns are natures carpet so if you’re tired of fighting, just join em. Mow weekly and you’ll have a super drought tolerant ground cover of native and adapted plants that are perfectly happy in your space.
Consistency Is Key
Consistently making a plan to remove weeds as they come in is the best way irradiate the problem. Make a point every other Saturday morning or Tuesday evening (but you have to pick a day) to get out there and pull for 15 minutes and you should have things well in control.
Never Allow Weeds to go to seed
Immediately after flowering, weeds go into seed production. Never let your lawn or bed weeds go to seed (above). Remember that weeds blow and once you start that cycle it can take years to correct. Be sure to rinse your lawn mower after each mow to rinse off weed seed. If you have a service, ask if they have a protocol to avoid this. Otherwise, theyre bringing every seed and disease they mowed over from all the other yards they service.
Consider It Therapy
Finally, don’t get frustrated. Removing weeds can be a great form of therapy. Frankly, I take it rather personally and I’ve been known to kick the heads off of a few after a long day in traffic. Like bad thoughts, they will take over if you let them. Here’sHere’s some more information to get you started.
Lisa’s Landscape & Design
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”
I think everyone’s acutely aware of what’s happening in the world around us. And while I think it’s important to stay informed, it’s also important for us to stay grounded and give our heads time to recuperate from the harmful noise in the background. Creating some of that peace in our landscape is a lot easier than you may think.
Gardening For Purpose
For centuries landscapes have been used for food, flowers, art and sustenance. This practice is also one of mindfulness that many times comes in the form of therapy.
What constitutes therapy is very different for each individual. To me, working in the garden while getting a little exercise and sunshine is delightful, to others that may sound like work. This is where balance comes to play.
The first consideration when creating a peaceful garden space is to just determine how much time you wish to spend in it. Prioritizing for time spent at work on flower and food, versus how much time you’ll spend at play. Creating a low maintenance, therapeutic garden is as simple as determining what is most important to you.
Water is the Sound of Tranquility
Water features such as ponds are certainly more maintenance, but the tranquility and sound buffer they provide are well worth the effort for a small feature.
Disappearing water features are very popular for their low maintenance and safety with small children and animals.
The custom feature below demonstrates how creative you can be with a myriad of vessels and rocks.
To find peace in our landscape choose a favorite focal point or several, and play it up whenever possible.
Even the most intimate spaces can provide a peaceful place to rest and meditate. Fragrance and color are strong memory cues. Moving water can guide the neuronal waves that create a calming effect through white noise. A pleasant view is a recalibration tool that can boost your mood and improve your mental health.
Color And Texture
Surround yourself with your favorite colors, an abundance of flowers or an evergreen planting with interesting textures. Always choose native and adapted plants for low maintenance and low water needs.
Statuary, religious symbols and inspiring signs or plaques can also be a reminder of what’s most important.
Your special place should be a distraction from the busy world. It should replenish and ground you with a peace that only nature can provide. Rather it’s a few pots next to a bench or an entire landscape of your favorite plants and trees, start somewhere and start now.
If you’d like help with creative design and low water landscape ideas, contact me for a consultation or complete landscape design for Austin and the surrounding area.
May peace be with you,
Lisa’s Landscape & Design
”Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”
Purple flowering plants are one of the most requested colors in my landscape designs and for good reason. Purple is the color of luxury, creativity, wisdom and power. Purple is a calming color but also stimulates our imagination. Purple is also one of the most common colors in the Central Texas landscape.
One of my favorite deep shade plants is the Purple Oxalis. is a shade loving beauty that is as unique as it is low maintenance and low water. Compact at 1’x6”, it makes a great border plant.
From sun to shade, Bearded Iris is low maintenance, drought and deer resistant. In an array of colors it’s a perfect spring bloomer for any landscape.
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)
Native to Texas, this medicinal plant that that’s used in therapy, for colds and general aches and fever, it’s also a beautiful flowering plant that grows to 2×2’. Sun lot part sun, drought and deer resistant.
Blue Rambler Rose
The Blue Rambler qualifies for both the blue and purple categories because it starts out a dusky blue and ages into a light mauvy/purple. One of the few roses that can thrive from sun to part shade, it’s an evergreen beauty that grows to 15+’. Low water and an abundant spring bloomer.
A smaller relative of the Indigo Spires, this profuse bloomer reaches to about 2×2.5’ish and is a beautiful specimen or planted in mass. Low water and deer resistant.
Low mounding, evergreen, with small purple flower spikes throughout the summer months. Growing to about 1’x1.5’ it’s a cool border plant that’s deer resistant and loves a sun to part sun landscape.
This beauty does best in Central Texas with morning sun I’ve found, but it’s highly prized for its medicinal uses and funky flowers that can be found in shades of pink and purple. Peters Purple is a particular hardy variety for Central Texas.
Is another native plant that loves a dry bed. Preferring part shade, it’s deer and drought resistant and a produce spring and summer bloomer. 1’ x 2.5’.
As a member of the garlic family, this is both mosquito repellent and a prolific bloomer. Full to part sun, 2×2, deer resistant.
Walker’s Low Catmint
Sporting silver leaves and bright lavender flower spikes throughout the summer. It does well from sun to part sun and is deer resistant, evergreen and drought tolerant. It’s low mounding shape makes it an excellent border plant.
Mexican Bush Sage
Commonly seen both in residential and commercial designs, and for good reason. This native jewel is low maintenance, loves the heat and the sun. Deer resistant growing to 4 x 4’.
Texas Fall Aster
Producing hundreds of purple daisy flowers spring and fall that almost glow in the dark. 3 x 4’, low water.
Aside from the stellar flower show, it produces yellow berries that attract birds and its cascading shape creates interest in the sun to part sun landscape. 6’x6’ish, deciduous, deer and drought resistant.
Seen everywhere from commercial to residential properties for good reason, because it’s tough as nails. Known as the barometer plant for its bloom cycle just before a rain.
Mountain Laurel Tree
A lovely native, evergreen tree with fragrant purple flowers each spring. from sun to shade, growing to 30’.
Here are just some of the beautiful purple flowering native and adapted plants you can choose from. If you’d like help with your landscape, contact me for an educational Consultation or complete Landscape Design.
Lisa’s Landscape & Design
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”
Of all the landscape designs I’ve created in last 20 years, shade gardens in Austin are by far the most challenging. I’ve compiled some of my favorite native and adapted shade plants for Austin. We have very little color for shade so it’s Important to use a lot of texture with a splash of color where you can find it.
From sun to shade, low to moderate water. Hummingbirds love it.
Another great plan from sun to shade, low water, low maintenance.
3)Soft Caress Mahonia
Low to moderate water needs, beautiful texture and yellow flowers.
4) Japanese Aurelia
With low to moderate water needs, this interesting plant does beautifully in deep shade to part sun.
5) Possumhaw Holly Tree
Thriving in sun to shade, losing its leaves in the winter, exposing the bevy of berries for wildlife.
Deciduous and low water, this is a great way to attract butterflies and hummingbirds in the shade to part sun garden.
7)American Beauty Berry
Wildlife love the berry buffet. Low maintenance and growing to 6’, it’s worth every foot and does great in deep shade to part sun.
8) Japanese Maple Tree
Japanese maple varieties for zone 8 can be super hardy in deep shade to part sun. Sporting interesting texture and fall color.
9) Purple Oxalis
Lovely purple leaves and lavender flowers cover this low mounding perennial. It’s short stature makes it a great border plant.
10) Blue Plumbago
The bright green leaves and glow in the dark blue flowers are spectacular in shade to part sun.
11) Jerusalem Sage
Yellow flowers, like crowns along the stems. With true sage colored leaves with silver undersides, this plant is an all around winner from sun to shade.
12) Foxtail Fern
I love this funky plant in pots and the landscape from sun to shade which makes it an incredibly versatile plant.
13) White Mistflower, Shrubby Boneset
Incredibly fragrant, with fuzzy white flowers and uniquely shaped leaves. It’s a great choice from part sun to shade.
14) Flax Lily Dianella
This variegated plant is striking as a border plant or in mass. Producing delicate orchid like flowers, it’s great from shade to part sun.
15) Liguilaria, Leopard Plant
Loving a wetter soil, this deep shade plant is perfect for a low spot or where drainage is a challenge.
16) Turks Cap
I love Turks cap for its ability to thrive in full sun to deep shade with little water and low maintenance.
17) Dwarf Pittosporum
Dwarf Pittosporum is an evergreen, low mounding shrub that has bright green, new growth with a deep green background. White fragrant flowers in the spring, low water, low maintenance.
18) Mountain Laurel
Most people don’t realize how well Mountain Laurel do in the shade, but it’s true!
19) Giant Liriope
Unlike its wandering little cousin, the Giant Liriope is a superstar, low water beast in the shade.
20) Twistleaf Yucca
Native, low water and light reflecting.
These are just some of the many beautiful shade plants for Austin and the surrounding area. If you would like help with shade plant selections or a thoughtful landscape design for shade, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Examples of My Shade Garden Designs
I hope you’re encouraged to try some of these great plants no to explore the many native and adopted options for our region.
Lisa’s Landscape and Design
”Saving the Planet One Yard at Time”
While in the middle of a Central Texas “winter”, you’ll quickly notice a pattern of freezing/thawing/hot/repeat. If you think it’s confusing for you, imagine how your plants feel. Evergreen plants for Austin are more interesting than you may think.
It’s especially frustrating when plants are in full bloom, then we get a hard freeze and you notice that half of your landscape looks dead and it’s 78° again. This is a good time to reevaluate your landscape and add a balance of evergreen and deciduous for all year impact.
The good news is that there is a plethora of beautiful evergreen plants for hardiness zone 8 a/b and they’re low water and low maintenance.
Dwarf Pittosporum, 3 x 3’,sun to shade
Upright and Trailing Rosemary, 3 x 4’ / 2.5 x 2.5, sun
Dwarf Japanese Boxwood 3 x 3.5’, sun to part shade
Dwarf Burford Holly 8 x 8’, sun to part shade
Blooming Perennial Plants
Dwarf Ruellia, 1 x 1’, sun to shade
Loropetalum ranging from 2 x 2’ – 6 x 8’, sun to part sun
Salvia Greggi, 3 x 3’, sun
Trailing Lantana, 8”x 2’, sun to shade
Texas or Grey Sotol, 4 x 4’, sun
Japanese Aurelia, 5 x 5’, shade
Shades of Green/Grey
Agave and Paddle Cactus 3 x 3’ – 5 x 5’ ,sun to part shade
Vines and Roses
Evergreen Wisteria 20+‘, sun to part shade
Crossvine ,15×15’, sun to part shade
Mountain Laurel Tree, up to 30’, sun to shade
Little Gem Magnolia Tree, 10 x 20+’, sun to part shade
I Can Help!
If you’d like help with your evergreen plant & tree selections, contact me @ Lisalapaso@gmail.com for an online or in person Educational ConsultationEducational Consultation or complete Landscape Design.Landscape Design.
I can assist you with xeriscape, deer resistant plant choices that are native and adapted, low water and low maintenance. There are also many great selections right here on my blog!
Lisa’s Landscape & Design
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”