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Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Posted by ColMuldrow 7a (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 2, 12 at 10:10

I need some ideas for creating some sort of border between the gravel driveway in front of my house and a shade garden underneath a large oak. There are several large oaks actually and the area is very shaded so grass is unfortunately not a problem right now. At some point, if I can't find anything else, I may experiment with some shade grasses later to form a border.

For now, I just need something to define the area.
There is a link to pictures below. May have to click on the link and scroll through. Suggestions?

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/838/frontyardj.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/209/frongyard2.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/20/cornerbed.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/208/frontyardeast.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/832/frontyard4.jpg/

Here is a link that might be useful: Front Yard- See the drive to the right?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Here are the pictures:

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Driveway is between the 2 oaks:

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

No definition between the driveway and any kind of bed area:

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

No definition on this side either:

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Driveway wraps around this oak:

Uploaded with ImageShack.us


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

English ivy would transform the bare areas from drab to lush, contrast well with the drive, and require little attention, once established. You might even play around a little with aspidistra or something.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

I agree 1000% with whitecap2. English Ivy is the problem solver for this yard. Many people who don't know how to manage it have a phobia of it. But as one who lived with a quarter acre of it for many years (and then more, later, at another house) I believe it to be vastly easier than maintaining grass. (That does not mean it can be ignored.) Another aspect is that if you're handy with simple propagation, English Ivy can be obtained for free if there is anyone nearby who has it. Believe me, if you offer to trim where overgrows a walk or drive, no one will ever say no.

Ditto on the Aspidistra.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Thanks. I am opening up to the idea of putting the bed around the white oak in some variegated ivy. What about winter creeper fortunei instead? I just want to be sure there is some color.

What about monkey grass to outline the other side of the drive? I have planted several small azaleas and other plants in that bed and wouldn't want the ivy to overtake. Is there another border you would recommend? Or do you think ivy could live in harmony with the other plants?

I am not familiar with Aspidistra but will look into it.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

I re-read your initial message and see I have been responding, not to what you're inquiring about, but to your pictures. They are begging you to do something to beautify the acre of barren dirt. While your question is actually "what to do" about one small piece of a little area. To answer that question, Liriope is the most common, easily controlled "edge" used where one wishes to border an area. It doesn't look good unless the bed it borders is full. Even then, there are better looking ways of creating landscape. I speculate that you are ignoring the big picture of creating beauty for the big yard and instead are focusing on small areas... thinking that by the time you work on them and add them up, you will have a nice, big beautiful Yard. It doesn't work like that. You should begin by looking at the big picture and then working your way to problem-solving smaller areas. Not the opposite.

(Hopefully, the hose that is seen in one picture, is not the proposed edge, as it's way too "busy" and does not reflect what the site is asking for.)

"Variegated" English Ivy would not be readily available or what you'd use for a large area.

It only takes the smallest effort to keep E. ivy from growing onto shrubs, including Azaleas. What mostly protects them from the ivy is their own height and their own shade. It's necessary that the Azaleas are healthy and full for this to happen. It's more difficult if you allow low branches to remain on trees and produce shade that is too dark for Azaleas to grow healthy. While they're good at tolerating shade, they do not like shade that is too dark. Your property looks like Georgia to me. Around Atlanta, the existence of Azaleas and English Ivy growing together is as common as air molecules. Managing them together is not a problem.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Purple wintercreeper is one of those "What was I thinking?" plants. It may not give you the color you want, without a little more light, anyway.

Monkey grass can be frustrating. It does well in shade, but tends to "walk" to less shaded areas, leaving behind no trace of itself where you wanted it.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

That hose is not a proposed edge. Just a soaker hose for the azaleas and small japanese maples I have already planted in the bed.

I appreciate the thoughts and think that I am beginning to formulate a "big picture" idea. I can use the ivy to define the "bed" areas next to the drive and closest to the road. With a little maintenance I can keep this from overtaking my azaleas and hydrangeas.

You mentioned that there are better ways of creating a landscape than the liriope/monkey grass. What suggestions do you have? The liriope might be best used between the edge of the drive and the existing turf away from the beds. (Hard to see in the pictures but to the left of the drive.)

Thanks for the help. By the way, I am not in Georgia but you were close.....North Mississippi.


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Problems with Wintercreeper?

Problems with wintercreeper? I was thinking about planting it on a small, steep bank on a another part of the lot. Mostly morning sunny. Am I going to regret this?


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

My wintercreeper, over time, formed dense and rather "woody" mounds, much less attractive than the pictures of it I had admired. Very aggressive, too, and most difficult to remove.

I also experimented with variegated Algerian ivy once. I seem to recall that it's not nearly as drought tolerant as English ivy. You might check it out.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

"That hose is not a proposed edge." Thank goodness!

I would say that ivy would not so much define a bed as BE the bed. It would not be an "edging." Something should cover the vast areas of dirt. Nothing would work as good, be as available, as controllable or as cheap as E. ivy.

A very common use of plants like monkey grass is to string them up into a skinny line--like a necklace--and use that line to "edge" beds. If the bed that's being edged is full (of some other plant) the edging might be compared to piping on a suit. While not my favorite look (it looks better on a suit) it might look acceptable, depending on all the details. If monkey grass edges an empty mulched area or an area that's just dirt, it looks more like an empty cookie baking sheet... not the least bit attractive in a yard. What looks much better is full, solid beds of plant material... not just edges. Monkey grass that IS the whole solid, full bed looks great. (BTW, when I speak of Liriope or monkey grass I'm talking about L. muscari, the most common kind. I'm not talking about L. spicata which is difficult to control but does have its place where large areas need to be covered and where invasiveness is not an issue.

Euonymus coloratus does not develop much, if any, red color when grown in shade. As far as disease problems, you'd need to check with the local extension office for your area. Plant diseases are regionally specific.

Please don't take this as any kind of accusation, but I get the sense that you are just beginning to work out the issues of landscaping your property and don't have a good idea of how to go about it. I suggest that you develop a to-scale "map" of your property (a plan) which shows all of the major features (house, drive, walks, trees, etc.) and then begin to work out the geometry of the landscape beds. Usually, a major focus of bed creation would be the shape as how it divides from the lawn. You have a property that doesn't look the least bit conducive to grass so I'd think about "the lawn" as a groundcover. Divide the shrub beds from the groundcover area. You'd be looking for ways to work out the geometry so that it's simple and pleasing. (Not anything like that hose!) The great beauty for you is that all the major trees are already in place. You only need to add the smaller elements. Creating a plan will allow you take a monstrous project and divide it into small, manageable projects that can be done over time. Each bite-size project gets you closer to accomplishing the monstrous goal.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

You know, I'm not sure that defining the edges of your driveway with plants really matches the scene here. What you have is landscaping that consists of large mature trees. Don't worry, Yardvaark, I'm not going to suggest cutting them down. But what I will say is that what looks natural under large mature trees is NOT a carefully controlled bed of English Ivy which, I'm sorry to say, is a plant I advise against not only because it tends to be invasive to neighbours and nature and a danger to other plants, but also because I find it butt-ugly. Your mileage may vary, of course. But me, I'd prefer what you have now to ivy.

Nor is what looks natural under large mature trees a tidily outlined driveway.

Myself, what I might do would be some variant on large branches/small trunks as edging, with some ferns, some bulbs and spring ephemerals tucked around them, and some small shrubs like the azaleas you've got... there are other understory plants for your zone, I'm sure. If you want spreading plants, try some of the ferns... Thelypteris noveboracensis comes to mind for some reason, no idea if it is native to your area.

The other thing that you might consider is the quality of the hardscape that is there, and adding some more. Is that the public sidewalk, all broken up, or yours? Just a very subtle edging of flat stone might also look pretty good along your driveway - if it would not be a hazard in winter.

Karin L


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

The plant known as "monkey grass" or "mondo grass," in common Southern parlance, is botanically designated as ophiopogon japonicus, which has rather different characteristics from the various types of liriope.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

It does look as if there are some condition issues with your gravel driveway and failing sidewalk. If it were ME spending YOUR money,
I would bite the bullet and first get those professionally corrected. Then I would add an attractive, extruded concrete curbing alongside the freshened gravel and mulch the now defined beds with 3" of good pine straw or shredded hardwood. Lastly, I would plant casual groupings amongst the trees of a few different species (rather than a monoculture) of whatever native shrubs or woodland flowers that you prefer. Probably not as inexpensive as might be hoped but certainly more cost effective in the long run.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

I suppose a simple stone edging would deter people from driving through your yard, but it seems a pity to make such a splendid old house look like the Shady Groves Retirement Home.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Whitecap, it must be regional. Where I've lived Mondo Grass is Ophiopogon and Monkey grass is Liriope.

"because I find it [English ivy] butt-ugly" I wonder if in the future we'll discover we're talking about different plants. I don't know how it can be called ugly. To me, it's the opposite. It is attractive, versatile and practical. It's easily the most used groundcover in Atlanta, whether at modest homes or multi-million dollar mansions.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

I think the attractiveness of ivy has a lot to do with the application. Contained in a defined area and controlled so that it doesn't overgrow its boundaries, being careful to burn, not compost the cuttings - yes, it does look green and shiny substitute for a lawn.

However, to advocate purposely planting a highly invasive, alien species in a woodland where it inhibits biodiversity by smothering all native species (including trees) seems to be the equivalent of...oh, I don't know, the application of herbicides near open water.

Maybe eco-responsibility is a regional thing :)


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Adrennemb, I'm sure you have a view of life that you believe in deeply. In spite of your pushy, self-righteous, politically correct manner, I think you're short on actual facts and logic.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Before this gets too far off track.....

How would the liriope look as a buffer between the grass I do have along the outer edge of the driveway and the driveway itself? Any other suggestions there?

I am not sure why you are so insistent that I don't have a plan for the bed layout. I think my options are pretty limited in that regard. (The layout of the driveway pretty much forces my hand.) I'm just not sure what I'm going to use to outline them. From our discussion, I have decided to use ivy in one area and liriope in the other.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Hee, yet another time loop continuum...


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Ivy would not be something you "outline" a bed with. It would BE the bed (similar to what you see in my picture above) and if you outlined it with another, different plant, like Liriope, that would make managing ivy next to impossible, or at least, much more difficult. If you have a plan, that's great. You're farther along than I would have guessed.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

These Yanks are so ecologically crude, eh?

Another advantage of the ivy is that it will swallow your leaves. Only thing, ivy is forever. The leaves have a waxy coating that repels herbicides, and the stuff's well-nigh impossible to dig up completely.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

I loathe English ivy -- it is an uncontrollable exotic invasive throughout large portions of the United States and, IMO, it is ecologically irresponsible to deliberately cultivate it my area. I was happy to see that the best nursery in my region will no longer carry or sell it.

I see the virtue of planting a monoculture of something that will tolerate the dry shade under those trees to better delineate the area, but I, personally, would not make it English ivy. I've seen plants like epimedium and hellebore used very effectively in similar situations.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Butt-ugly vs. attractive might be the difference of fifty feet or so. Or drive-by vs. stopping. Or a mass vs. individuals. I see my plants up close, and up close I want to like them, and as I wander through my yard, I want to see more than a repetition of ivy leaves. The right balance of a good impression from a distance and something nice to look at up close is up to the gardener. Some will sacrifice one for the other; others will eternally pursue the holy grail of maximizing both.

Not to mention that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I could take a yard full of ferns. But ivy? Just not my taste.

Anyway, as previously agreed (I think), we are allowed to have different opinions, even very strong ones. One of us does not need to win - it is is good if the OP comes away with a good sense of the pros and cons, which I think we have now provided.

Karin L


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Saying that one prefers the existing state (dirt, gravel, thin leaf litter) to a smooth, green bed of English ivy, doesn't exactly jive with a claim to be in search of the "holy grail" of what's beautiful from near and far.

"I loathe English ivy -- it is an uncontrollable exotic invasive throughout large portions of the United States and, IMO, it is ecologically irresponsible to deliberately cultivate it my area." I'm sure there are people who would say this about daylilies, too... another "exotic" (as are we.) That's fine. But I don't look at this as anything but trying to spread one's own fear and ignorance through the medium of political correctness by invoking their idea of a superior ecology. To say that Ivy is uncontrollable is just factually incorrect. Also, it's killable. But one must understand it in order to be successful with it. As I maintained for many years a quarter acre of Ivy at my own residence in an area of the country where it grows stupendously and vigorously and then, again, began this same process at the next residence, I understand its ins and outs. And for a number of years I also was responsible for caring for institutional sized tracts of it. How much experience do these people who profess near-rage loathe of it have? It's not likely much. Yet that doesn't keep them from making irrational claims that can't be backed up by hard data or an explanation of the mechanics of how evil, murderous ivy takes control of the world. Oh, well. If one wants to jump on the "all native" bandwagon I say, fine, have at it. But thinking these ideas are superior and trying to push them on others is, well, just pushy.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

It's all about self-image, really--the delectable sense that one is on the cutting edge of social responsibility, waving the torch of Prometheus amidst a sea of the ethically and intellectually defective. You may as well try to reason with "facts" with a meth addict.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 5, 12 at 14:48

Is there an ivy alternative? Does it always have to be ivy? You've undoubtedly tended other groundcovers in your career. Even if the OP has no preconceived notions about ivy, maybe offering a choice would be kinder than trying to ram it down everyone's throat. In the right place, with regular maintenance, ivy can be blandly acceptable. (There, I said it. I do want to get along.) Although it's most often used as a groundcover, it is a vining plant with aerial roots. (simple fact) Okay, I'll stop before I get to the part about the snails.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

If I were on an all-native bandwagon, I would not have recommended epimedium or hellebore. And there is ample science that ivy is uncontrollable in natural areas. There's a reason it's listed as a noxious weed in many states and on do-not-plant lists in many more.

I've seen the damage ivy does when it spreads into natural areas and it isn't pretty.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

I've seen the damage ivy does when it covers a house facade.

The problem I see with it is that, despite best intentions, it gets away from people. Not only ivy, landscaping/gardening in general - why else would there be so many threads on trying to tame a yard gone wild?


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Maybe I'm missing something (as a non-pro), but does it have to be groundcover? If I lived in a more temporate zone (instead of the tropics), I'd love to put in a layer of camellias and azaleas with some nice foilage plants such as huerchera below. Looks like you'd have the room.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

"maybe offering a choice would be kinder than trying to ram it down everyone's throat.

The "ramming it down throats" is not my offering, but the senseless attack of ivy based on fear, not knowledge that follows. What is stopping anyone else from offering what they think is a better alternative? If anyone knows of a large scale GC that would work better in the above conditions, what is it? Karin suggested ferns and though it wouldn't be my choice, I didn't find it necessary to go attack her or ferns. People have named a few things that will work in small spaces. But where's the recommendation for what's needed here? What is better?

English Ivy advantages:
Evergreen
readily available (inexpensive)
reasonably quick rate of coverage
easy to start from cuttings (cheap)
10" ht.
grows in shade
grows in sun
tolerates drought
does not require a root barrier
can be walked on without damage
can be driven on infrequently without permanent damage
can be controlled at paved edges by mechanical means (string trimmer, machete, etc.)
can be controlled at grass by mower or string trimmer (the lazy just mow)
can be controlled at remote edges by herbicide (if appearance not critical)
will not transform into flowering stage and produce seed unless allowed to climb
can easily be kept off of trees by routine edging or once per year tending
If allowed to climb trees will not smother their light source (will not grow on small wood)
Grows only vertical (does not wrap around) so does not strangle trees
easy to keep out of shrubs by growing healthy shrubs or occasional tending
Does not attract unwanted wildlife any more than any other groundcover of same height
has no pest or disease problems
smells good when cut
glossy leaf and uniform coverage is attractive
CAN be killed by herbicide, if necessary
While not the easiest groundcover for small areas, it can nevertheless be confined to fairly small spaces. (I've seen it used as a 2' wide edging band though I think this is a ridiculous use.)

It's main disadvantage is that is cannot be allowed on structures, but that's easy to control. If there's another plant with as many capabilities, I don't know what it is.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Can this ivy business be put to rest? A nice change of pace might be to extoll the questionable virtues of aegepodium - bishop's weed, goutweed, snow-on-the-mountain. Or the benefits of allowing yucca to proliferate to the eradication by dynamite stage...


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Yup, I'm the one who's pushy and self-righteous. Oh, and as reasonable as a meth addict as another poster chimed in...
(sorry, couldn't resist that)


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

"Yup, I'm the one who's pushy..." Learn the difference between "defense" and "offense."


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Oh well, adrien, and let's not be confused (amused or bemused) by that particular post of whitecap's - it sorta smacked of those heady college days; a few beers and everybody's an intellectual.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

I love the idea of spring bulbs, ephemerals, azaleas, ferns, maybe hellebores and hosta, too if they grow where you are. With your trees and lot (which I love, btw), I think a more natural design would look best. Disclaimer: not a pro, but spent years trying to get rid of ivy and still find it popping up. City inspector told me rats love ivy and bamboo which was pretty much the entire backyard when we moved in here. All I needed to hear was the word rat and I was done with it!


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Your mega-intellectuals pontificate over on Hot Topics.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

HT is an interesting forum. Give it a try; it's theraputic to get ripped a new one periodically.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

The historical Colonel Muldrow is said to have been quite the colorful character, but I suspect even he would be embarrassed by this mud wrestling. Let it be remembered who started it.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 6, 12 at 1:24

An amusing treatise on the virtues of English ivy... Seems to miss the point that it is also a declared noxious invasive only slightly less vigorous than Kudzu vine, most definitely does provide a perfect habitat for both snails and rats, can also grow so densely up into trees that it smothers them or can cause them to fall over from the weight, if allowed to fruit has berries which become a vector for spreading over whole neighborhoods
because birds spread them, and as a
mono culture greatly decreases
biological diversity. Plus, it is just boring.

There are no guarantees that a large
scale planting of ivy won't get away from the owner at some point in the future; it
smacks of hubris to assume the problems that presents aren't valid
concerns. Personally I equate both English and Algerian ivies as
the horticulture cultural equivalent of Kudzu vine or Japanese
Honeysuckle, and never recommend it. Generally on any new project where ivy exists, it is the first thing to be attacked and removed. I've yet to meet one client who didn't agree...


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Ah, such a glorious display of botanical certitude, and so effortless, produced without the slightest attempt to ascertain the nature of the area surrounding this property.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Selling fear is easy because it requires only that you instill a doubt. It does not need to be based on fact or logic, or even proven. It need only create an unanswered question. Bahia, some of your claims of English ivy are patently false.

"[Ivy] can also grow so densely up into trees that it smothers them..." Smother means cover their leaves to prevent the light source from reaching them. Interesting. But you would never be able to provide a single photograph of this condition because it's an old wives tale. Ivy only grows on the stout wood of a tree. Never on the wood that moves to any appreciable degree in the wind. It can never reach the outer limbs and branches where the leaves are. And it never covers them.

"...[Ivy] can cause them to fall over from the weight" There is no science that would support this claim. If a tree is otherwise sickly or dead it would fall over in time if there was only a dandelion or nothing at all growing on it. There are tens of thousands of trees with ivy growing on them in Georgia that continue standing for decades in spite of ivy and severe wind.

"it is also a declared noxious invasive only slightly less vigorous than Kudzu vine" Fear mongering does work. Even among professionals. But this claim is proof certain that you cannot have understanding of both of these plants.

"perfect habitat for both snails and rats" Ivy is not a food source for rats or snails. Rats will hide in any groundcover. Snails are wherever they want to be, on all manner of plants. These claims are more fear mongering with zero science to back them up.

One of the unfortunate aspects of Horticulture is that actual scientific research is so expensive and difficult that a lot of what passes for facts, are merely beliefs and opinions that are passed on ad infinitum. False information is often spread for decades.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Guys, original poster here. This thread has gotten way off track. The purpose of the thread was to get some ideas to create a border between the drive and the grass/beds on the edge of the drive.

After this is done then I hope to begin filling the beds. One option is English ivy. I get that. So be it. Done. End of discussion. But I'm not putting all my beds in English ivy.

Can we get back to the original issue?

I intend to fill one of the beds with shade tolerant hostas, azaleas and hydrangeas as well as mulch. I will probably just edge the border of the drive and this bed with liriope. I may do this where the grass meets the drive as well. I am not lining this edge with ivy. It would be too hard to control. A picture of that area is below. Does anyone have any ideas what I can put there other than liriope? It will get a good bit of morning sun. Especially in the summer months.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

I'd like to not mention ivy again here, but some of what you say Col. indicates a misinterpretation of recommendations. NEVER was ivy recommended as any "edging." This would be an impossible way to use it. Nor was I recommending it as something to put in your shrub and perennial beds. I ONLY recommended it as a lawn substitute for the large shade areas where a lawn would be desired, but grass would not grow. I identified this need from your photos, not from what you said.

If you feel the need to outline shrub and perennial beds, Liriope muscari (especially 'Big Blue') in the South, is the standard. But you can use any tough little non-spreading perennial you like if it has the qualities you like. People do this with Hostas and Peonies up North.

Outlining lawn areas that are next to paved (including gravel) areas is patently a bad idea...or as good an idea as installing an 18" fence. It creates the "empty tray" look. If you would think of your grass areas as carpeted floor, and the other paved areas (including gravel) as "hard" floor areas, what would be the logic of separating them with what's essentially a barrier? If you had a spacious royal castle mansion with a wide carpeted runner going down the center of a large room while the perimeter of the room was hardwood floor, you would never consider installing a barrier between the two. It makes no more sense outside. I know people do it all the time, but it's not good design. It only adds cuteness. Additionally, it makes it more difficult to maintain a lawn.

Sorry for sidetracked discussion, but unfortunately, when people lob off attacks it creates the need for defense.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

"If you would think of your grass areas as carpeted floor, and the other paved areas (including gravel) as "hard" floor areas, what would be the logic of separating them with what's essentially a barrier?"

Because otherwise there is nothing to keep the gravel drive from "spreading" onto my grass and keeping cars where they are supposed to be - the driveway. This is the same reason I want to outline my shrub and perennial beds - to keep gravel and cars out of them.

Attractive utility is my goal. Not cuteness.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

ColMuldrow, I think you have had a lot of suggestions here for things to do IN the beds and you were looking for things to OUTLINE the beds. No one has really addressed the virtue of your idea of outlining the beds, and I think the message in that is that outlining them may or may not be a good design decision. Could you maybe tell us what is driving your desire to outline them? That would assist in a design discussion... this being a landscape design forum. And in design, purpose often drives decision-making.

For me there is some confusion, as I may have suggested in my post, between the image of what you have, and what you want to achieve. What you have is kind of hard to argue with, and because of its dominant nature, trying to put a different kind of landscaping underneath it would have a bit of a futile feel to it. And so, a tidily outlined bed would have a slightly surreal feeling to me in this setting. It is obviously your yard and your preferences will prevail, but given that you've chosen a landscape design forum rather than either a plant forum or a local nursery for advice, I'm afraid that does drive the kind of advice you'll get (unless the conversation turns to ivy...).

That said, there are not many plants that will stay exactly where you want them to in the conditions you have here; at least, it may depend on the trees, but I don't think so. Plants travel in response to where they find moisture and light and nutrients. Areas under trees are notoriously short of these attributes, and you may find a carefully planted edge wandering from where you laid it. That is why I suggested a physical edge, which if nothing else would create moisture-retaining areas in the soil that would keep plants inclined to stay where you put them, and allow you to correct if they wander.

Yardvaark, I thought we were all going to try to get along. The key to doing that is, I think, in your last remark where you characterize opposing advice as an attack. It is not, and regarding it as such will always lead where this thread has led. Opposing advice, even if it criticizes advice previously given, is just the way the cookie crumbles when you ask a room full of people who are not an organization or hierarchy of any kind for advice. You will not get a single answer, the answers may disagree, and as the asker, you simply have to sort that out and the people in the room have to come to terms with being disagreed with. You could have opposed my advice to use ferns on some basis, and I would not have regarded that as at attack on me, but rather as contextualizing the advice I gave the OP. I might have responded, or reiterated, but probably not if I thought your additional advice enhanced the OP's ability to evaluate the option. I don't regard it as an attack on me when someone denigrates my ingrained aversion to foundation planting; I simply see it as a good thing that the OP gets a variety of advice. If all else fails, we should all be addressing the OP, and not each other.

Karin L


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addendum

Sorry, didn't see your response before I posted. For that objective, I really think you need to consider a physical edging, not a plant one.

Karin L


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

"Yardvaark, I thought we were all going to try to get along. The key to doing that is, I think, in your last remark where you characterize opposing advice as an attack." Karin, I hope you're not misinterpreting that I viewed your comments as "the attack". I didn't. But when someone else charges that my advice is ecologically irresponsible--never mind that they're wrongly corkscrewing information out of another thread-- It's an attack. I think if I called you ecologically irresponsible, you'd want to come back with a defense.


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RE: edging gravel drive

I, too, Col. did not see your last post before I posted. People will drive over Liriope, too. It's not a good driveway edging. The best edging to separate gravel from grass is something like properly installed steel edging or a brick mowing strip. To stop them from driving on grass, a curb. But is it worth it?


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Karin, you mentioned physical edging that will retain moisture. Can you give me an example what you're referring to?

I am not against physical edging. In fact, my initial intention was to build some sort of small, curving stone edge around the shrub/perennial bed. The purpose of this thread was to see pick a few brains about other options.


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

I love gravel driveways - the look of them, the feel of them, especially the feel of them underfoot. I would even consider marriage :)
And rather like some husbands, when they get a little tired, it's easy enough just to re-grade and top them up. Because they do tend to spread out as they age.

I know that I mentioned extruded concrete curbing earlier but I did find that it invaluable in containing and defining past driveways. As well, the back lip was terrific as a spill-resistant edging for lawn, mulch and water runoff from the garden. I have never found anything herbaceous that can even compare in functionality.

There is now so much more variety. The curbs can be as plain or fancy as you want, blatant or unobtrusive, in whatever colours or stamped design or profile that you prefer. Aggregate mixes though might blend in too well, becoming an invisible tripping hazard.
There are even options for imbedded driveway lights - something to consider for safety reasons in dark areas.

I pulled up a few examples here...

Untitled Untitled Untitled Profile curbing choices
Some choices of colour and stamp pattens


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RE: Edging/Border ideas between shade bed and gravel drive

Colonel (assuming that is the correct form of address :-)), if you go out into the yard and pick up a rock, or a pot, or a piece of wood, you will see dampness underneath - simple condensation. That will happen anywhere in the bed that you put something down. The tree roots will find it too, but perhaps the oaks, being more deep rooted, will compete less with the smaller plants than under a more surface rooting species.

Putting a rock or paving stone near a plant in an arid area is thus often a good idea, whether at the edge or not.

Karin L


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