Cover under pine trees
I have a section of yard that has three very large, very old pine trees - under which it has proven beyond my abilities to get grass to grow such that it resembles a yard.
So, in an effort to make lemonade out of this situation, I plan to turn this section into a small landscaped garden area. Probably put in a bird bath, stone bench, perhaps a few other features, plus some small shrubs that find the pine soil helpful.
The problem I could use some help with is what to use for groundcover for the remaining open sections between the trees, shrubs and various other items. The source of the problem is the pine needles that come down every year at the end of summer and early fall. I could use some form of rock, and would able to blow the pine needles out of the rock for fall cleanup. However, rock is expensive and heavy to put in. If I use mulch, the pine needles would be almost impossible to get out without basically removing and replacing the mulch every fall.
So I got to thinking - is there any kind of ground cover or mulch such that the pine needles would not need to be removed every fall? Something that they would basically blend right in, adding to the overall depth of the bedding?
Thanks in advance!