The Weekend

ADD A WATER-SAVING, EASY-CARE GROUNDCOVER PLANT

Remove grass from a section of your yard, and replace it with water-saving, easy-care groundcover plants like liriope, Asiatic jasmine, perennial peanut, beach sunflower, or sunshine mimosa (not to be mistaken with drinking mimosas every morning in your yard). Here’s how to get started:

  1. Decide on the shape of the landscape bed you want, and dig up the grass. If your soil is poor, you may want to mix in compost or manure. Another option is to cover the grass with sheets of newspaper or cardboard, weigh the sheets down with bricks, and leave them in place for 2-3 weeks.
  2. Buy and install your groundcover plants following the label instructions for spacing requirements
  3. Put a layer of mulch 2-3 inches deep around the newbie plants.
  4. Water your new plants every day or two for the first couple of weeks. That’s just enough time for them to get a toehold in their new home.

CREATE A LANDSCAPE BED

Prepare a landscape bed (a soil-filled area sectioned off from the grassy yard) and plant three or more large shrubs there. Simpson’s stopper, Beautyberry, Marlberry, Florida privet, and Firebush are all good choices (and have such fun names, no?). Make sure to mulch around the bushes to help keep weeds out and hold in moisture.

INSTALL A MICRO-IRRIGATION SYSTEM

A micro-irrigation system is for you if you (a) have landscape beds or a veggie garden (b) are looking for the most efficient way to get water to the roots of your landscape beds or veggie garden, or (c) really enjoy how smart you sound saying “micro-irrigation system” when talking about your landscape beds or veggie garden.

Local extension workshops can teach you the basics of installing micro-irrigation systems, and there are plenty of videos and online tutorials to coach you the rest of the way. Here’s one we like.