Review: The Low-Maintenance Garden

Picked up an older gardening book recently, titled “The Low-Maintenance Garden” by Susan Berry  and Steve Bradley.  This is an easy-to-read book for the home gardener or anyone who wants some fresh ideas on sprucing up your yard and lawn.
I would recommend this book to anyone who gardens, or who wants to improve your landscaping. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 2:

By far the cheapest of all hard surfacing materials, gravel is attractive to look at, helps to reduce moisture loss, and allows a natural and relaxed style of planting in and around it.

There are three types generally used in gardens– pea gravel, river washed pebbles or sandstone, which has a softer texture and more muted colors.
The Japanese have long used gravel raked into patterns, as a design feature in their gardens. This looks laborious but in fact is not, provided the ravel is in an area where it is not talked upon. It will simply need to be raked over every few weeks–unless there are deciduous trees and shrubs that drop leaves onto it, in which case raking in fall will need to be more frequent. Gravel is not the most comfortable surface to walk on, so the best solution is to lay a stepping stone path through it. The steps can be of natural stone, concrete or wood, as preferred. Gravel can also be used in conjunction with railroad ties to construct low-maintenance paths (see pages 22-23).
Before laying gravel, make sure the area has been cleared of perennial weeds, which should be burned. Once you have cleared the ground in this way, you can lay a heavy-duty black plastic membrane (or old carpet) over the soil before laying the gravel, which acts as a weed suppressant. Failure to do this may cause problems…..

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