Shaded Front Yard Fix

7 Materials
2 Weeks
When we bought our house 18 years ago, we planted shade trees. Now, the trees are so big - duh - grass won't grow under them. So I came up with this plan to keep the yard attractive without dealing with grass. The reason it took 2 weeks is I did it myself, without help. I was 57 at the time and I'm five foot tall woman - I know when it's quittin' time for the day!
In this pic you can see how the grass has died under the tree and either weeds or just a few blades are surviving. (We live in North Texas and this is Bermuda grass which need 8 hours of direct sun.)
The first thing I did was spray weed killer and till up the soil. Had to stop and treat several fire ant hills before moving on. Did I mention we live in Texas? - aka fire ant central.
Next, I covered it with landscape material. This is the tough kind, not that thin stuff that needs to be replaced every year. I also bought brown metal edging and pounded it in. A circle went around the Chinese Pistachio tree and a long side curved from the house to the driveway. You can see a pile of weeds I raked off after tilling.

Next, I decided to do a swirl pattern under the tree, just for fun. I used white rock for that.
Now, rock went over the plastic. Super easy. Just pour and spread around with the back of a sturdy rake. I added a few decorative plants to keep it from looking barren. A few weeds grow back near the driveway every spring - but they are rooted in the rocks and pull out with a slight tug. The brown thing behind the tree is a yard sculpture. Its a road runner - we're in Texas after all.

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  • Carol Harris Carol Harris on Jun 02, 2021

    looks good.. You could have planted some hosta's they do great in the shade and come back every year, since you live in Texas they may not even die down in the winter, would look lovely with the rocks. Just a thought.

    • Jan Clark Jan Clark on Jun 03, 2021

      Thanks! I thought that, too. But I have killed MANY hostas in my time, lol. Better just with rocks that can't die and a few super-hearty focal plants.

  • Dani Hyde Dani Hyde on Jun 02, 2021

    I personally can’t see the swirl. Just the ring thing around the tree.

    but yep. Cute. Can put more non sun plants under it in bright pots to help liven it up

    • See 1 previous
    • Ellis Ellis on Jun 04, 2021

      Another poster here on Hometalk this week showed a project with bricks and pavers around her tree, and mentioned getting a product that you spray on the rocks so they always look wet. I'm afraid I can't find it now, but that always-wet look might be great for your project, since your "swirl" is obvious when the stones are wet.

      No matter what, your project turned out great, and I really like the way it looks.