In my yard, I am slowly losing sunlight because of my maturing trees. It has been a struggle growing grass the past few years, lots of shade, not a lot of moisture. 3 large pine trees sit in a triangular pattern so the pine needles can act as mulch as they fall. I have not raked them up in about 3 years.
So I gave up last year and decided to reduce my lawn size by turning this area into a shade garden. I took small areas and covered them with newspaper and/or large pieces of cardboard when available. I then threw leaves, grass clippings, mulch, and pine needles on top of the cardboard to cover it. This helped to kill the remaining grass so it wouldn't grow through the mulch.
The newer area I started working on still had grass breaking through. My husband and I bought some artwork this year and saved the HUGE cardboard boxes they came in.
|Grass still poking through|
|Large pieces of cardboard|
I have been slowly adding small shrubs, trees and perennials as I run across them. I did plant about 4 or 5 native ferns last fall, but the bunnies must have eaten them to the ground so severely they could not recover. I also lost a small dogwood tree. And the Bayberry and hydrangea are oddly shaped due to bunny pruning.
|Rabbit damage on small dogwood tree - RIP|
In the older part of the garden I have a hemlock tree, a young Paw Paw tree, pee wee hydrangea (native), and a bayberry.
|bayberry is the strange shrub on the left.|
|pee wee hydrangea|
For plants: hosta, columbine, painted fern, helleborus, wood aster, and a mystery plant bought from a sale table at a local nursery for 50% off.
|Japanese painted fern|
|wood aster - another rabbit favorite|
|Black Cohosh - Racemosa|
|Heuchera - Coral Bells|
|Dicentrra - Bleeding Heart|
|Spicebush - lindera benzoin|
Below is the Virginia Creeper. The leaves turn a brilliant red in the fall. The berries are an important food source for birds in the winter.
|Weighing down cardboard with mulch|