No enjoys it, but it needs to be done!
Let's face it. Weeding is an integral part of gardening. There is no final method or even combination methods that can stop weed growth permanently. Many weed seeds are carried by the wind or by various animals. All you can do is try to limit this hard work.
Do not use any weed fabric!
Although it is one of the most commonly used solutions, we don't recommend using weed stopping membrane. This may hold back weeds for a short time but lead to more long-term problems. The barrier causes fungal diseases, the tendency for plant roots to grow very shallow or even deep into the fabric, rather than developing a proper root system in the ground. It also reduces air circulation and has a dramatic effect on worms, microbes and other soil organisms, so crucial to maintaining a natural balance in your garden.
Mulch your beds
Use a thick layer of mulch, at least two inches (5 cm). It can be compost, composted bark, ornamental bark or wood chips. Regular mulching will help keep the soil fertile and keep the soil from drying out in summer. Just remember that some plants, such as rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, and Japanese maples require an acidic soil pH, so use heather compost for them. Universal compost should be used for plants that prefer a neutral pH soil.
Watch out for the spacing between plants. If you spread the plants over the beds like scattered dots, weeds will eventually appear due to the availability of light. Most spacing recommendations are based on the assumption that neighbouring plants will barely touch each other when they reach maturity. However, some plants may grow closer together.
Note: we always suggest you follow guidelines for plants susceptible to leaf disease.
Use ground cover plants
There are many species for any soil and light condition. They simply spread and don't give weeds a chance to thrive. Remember though, if you already have lots of weeds in the area you need to get rid of them thoroughly. Do not expect that ground covers exterminate them for you. After planting, you need to wait until they spread and establish. So, from time to time, weeding will be inevitable, but afterwards, you will see how beneficial your job was.
There is also a different approach. You can accept some weeds as they are a natural part of the environment. So relax a little. Place some bird feeders and bathtubs, insect hotels to attract local wildlife to your garden. If you have a nice view of an open field with natural meadows, you can embrace it and make your garden endless by simply letting neighbouring plants into your garden. You can create a lawn with nice curves or a meandering path through the meadow to your summer cottage.
If you would like to explore more of any of the options listed above or need help implementing it in your garden. Feel free to contact us. We will design and propose the most convenient solution for you.
Author: Vito (Garden Designer)