Dear Ms. Matzke,
We are planning to sell our house next spring and have already completed a number of interior updates. (It looks amazing!) But we’ve been in panic mode because the exterior curb appeal doesn’t reflect the interior appeal! We have a number of bare spots under our trees and several spots around the shady perimeters that look absolutely desolate. We’ve tried planting grass many times without success. We’ve even tried sod! It still looks awful. Any ideas on what we can do to fix this?
Great House, Horrible Yard in Indiana
Thank you for writing in!
That certainly is a dilemma, but you do have some nice options. There are actually several shade groundcovers available that might work for you. And if you plant them now, they should come up nicely by spring. Be careful though, as some of the groundcovers can be quite invasive.
I’ve personally had very good luck with Spotted Deadnettle. It seems to stay quite contained and is easy to control, low growing, and a lovely bonus is that it flowers and really brightens up a shaded area. Another good one to consider is Barrenroot. Barrenroot also flowers…in variegated reds or whites…and grows 12-18 inches tall, so if you’re looking for something a little more showy, this might do it for you.
You might also consider planting some nice shade hostas. You don’t have to plant them directly under the trees, but a few feet away as many of them do get quite large and will fill in the bare spots easily. They also have miniature hostas now and with so many varieties to choose from, I encourage you to check out your local gardening center to decide.
Last but certainly not least…you can always just cover the bare spots with mulch! A natural mulch not only covers up the bare spots, but can give your landscape a finished look. If you want to add some color, consider digging a few clay pots into the ground just to the rim and planting some lovely shade flowers, like Begonias or Impatiens. You can also invest in ‘no dig’ edging to help contain the mulch and make the process faster and easier to complete.
Hope these suggestions help and wishing you success on your home sale this spring!
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