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Do It Yourself or Not: Plant ground cover

Gene and Katie Hamilton, Tribune Content Agency on

A lush ground cover can take over a garden; but when kept in control, the carpet of color provides a backdrop for all your plantings, allowing vibrant flowers and bushes to take center stage. Use ground cover on a terrace or steep slope or in an enclosed courtyard wherever you want to create a well-tended uniform appearance that helps retain moisture and retard the growth of weeds. Since it’s a perennial it will return every year, a welcome feature for a shady area or to cover and surround tree roots close to the surface where little else will grow.

But with its persistent growing cycle a little ground cover can go a long way, so the plants are popular to divide and share with friends and neighbors. And while you may have to tame its growth throughout the growing season, you’ll be pleased with its steady appearance every year.

To plant a hardy ground cover like pachysandra in a 100-square-foot garden bed a landscape contractor will charge $415, which includes labor and material. You can buy the ground cover for $275, plant them and save 34%. You’ll need a shovel and rake to work the soil — make sure to remove any stones and clumps of soil — and a hand trowel to dig the holes for the plants.

Follow the advice of the local lawn care center about which ground cover works best in your area. Plant labels often stuck in the plants specify the distance between plants, so they’ll grow and thrive.

To protect the newly planted, cover them with a light layer of mulch to ward off weeds and retain moisture in the soil; it also creates a nice, uniform cover while the plants have a chance to grow and spread.


Pro Cost: $415 — DIY Cost: $275
Pro time: 4.4 — DIY Time: 5.5
DIY Savings: $140 — Percent Saved: 34%


To find more DIY project costs and to post comments and questions, visit www.diyornot.com.

©2021 Gene and Katie Hamilton. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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