The Q&A Archives: landscaping

Question: I just put in a new driveway and they cut into a slope on one of the sides of my drive way. I don't know what to do with that slope now that the drive way is done. I don't have much money and am wondering what are some easy idea's that I could do to the slope to make it look nice?

Answer: My first instinct is to recommend a spreading groundcover. This will help stop soil erosion and soften the look of the area. Groundcovers can be purchased in flats and divided into small clumps of plants so your money will stretch further if you purchase flats. Here are a few suggestions:
Bugleweed (Ajuga spp.) is a low-growing, spreading plant that develops into a dense groundcover. Leaves are typically dark green. However, the varieties that are most commonly grown in the home landscape possess more colorful foliage. The leaves of these colorful varieties may be combinations of bronze, purple, gray, burgundy, and white. Flowers are usually violet-blue, but may be pink or white. Bugleweeds perform best in well-drained soil.

Several varieties of spotted deadnettle (Lamium maculatum) are excellent groundcovers with attractive foliage and flowers. 'Beacon Silver,' 'Pink Pewter,' and 'White Nancy' have silver leaves with narrow green margins and pinkish purple, soft pink and white flowers, respectively. Plants bloom from late spring to mid-summer. Spotted deadnettle grows 8 to 12 inches tall. It performs best in moist, well-drained soils and will take partial shade.

If you are fond of grass, creeping lily-turf (Liriope spicata) may be the answer. Creeping lily-turf possesses grass-like foliage. Plants grow 8 to 12 inches tall. Creeping lily-turf produces small white to pale violet flowers in mid-summer followed by blue-black, berry-like fruit. The grass-like foliage of creeping lily-turf will persist through the winter. However, by late winter it often looks rather scruffy. To promote new growth, remove the damaged foliage with a mower or grass shears in early spring.

Two other widely grown groundcovers are bishop's goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria 'Variegatum') and lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis). Bishop's goutweed and lily-of-the-valley are very adaptable plants and will grow in very difficult sites. Unfortunately, they both spread rapidly and often become invasive. These aggressive spreaders should not be planted in beds with other perennials as they will quickly crowd them out. These should be planted only in areas where they can be confined or allowed to spread freely.

Hope this information helps!

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