Containing Garden Growth

Each summer, there comes a point when many gardens can start to look a little overgrown. While a sprawling garden may boost the ego of your green thumb, it can also spell the start of a yard takeover.
 
With these three tips, you can admire your garden's lush growth all summer long, without worrying about a backyard eyesore.

 

Establish Boundaries

While it might seem more like dating advice, establishing and maintaining garden boundaries is critical to a lasting relationship with your yard. Mapping and establishing a border around your garden will help you understand exactly how far plant growth can extend, and provide an accurate measure of areas in need of maintenance. Not only do boundaries serve a functional purpose, they can also add some design intrigue to your backyard, giving a more polished look overall.
 
To start, use either a hose or tape measure to outline your garden. You'll want to stick with either long angles for a geometric shape, or rounded sweeping curves - short angles look messy and can be easily overtaken. Using a spade, follow the outline you've started by cutting 4 to 6 inches deep. Once you've established your outline, completely remove the edged soil with your spade, or use a lawn edger to zip through the outline for a clean line.   
 
If you're looking to add additional design features to your garden, you can go one step further by placing stone or brick alongside the boundary of your garden. Depending on the size of the stone, you may want to edge further from your desired boundary line to accommodate width.

 

Isolate Likely Suspects

Every garden has a few plants that require a more watchful eye. Whether herbs, creeping ivy or coverage perennials, you can help limit the potential for overgrowth by isolating or closing off their potential growth areas. 
 
Just like establishing boundaries around the perimeter of your garden, you can also establish boundaries around select plant areas. For plants like ivy that like to sprawl, use brick or stone to outline an area that you're comfortable with the plant extending to. 
 
For plants that have a tendency to overgrow within a smaller radius - like greens, herbs or beans - don't hesitate to invest in larger decorative pots. Container gardening doesn't have to be limited to just the porch, patio or window sill either; adding a large decorative container to your garden can create color, depth and shape to its overall design. 

Fill in Gaps

Nobody said your garden has to be all growth. Empty space can provide a nice balance. Beyond the aesthetics, adding mulch to help divide and fill in negative space is also helpful for suppressing weeds and conserving water. When selecting mulch for your garden, keep in mind the darker the mulch, the more your plants will stand out.