Garden Time Pathway Bark
The product is low maintenance, attractive, light weight, and reasonably priced. While often used for pathways, I used this product as an alternative for a lawn. It blocks out weeds, easy to replenish, and provides a very comfortable step. I bought mine at Lowe’s (product description on their website: http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=58586-78212-58586) but check with your local gardening or home supply store to see if this or a similar product is available).
*Benefits: it does not require much maintenance (perhaps a rake or occasional broom), it does not need water, and it’s eco-friendly.
UPDATE: It looks like the Lowe’s hyperlink to this product is broken. Regardless of where you may purchase this product, it’s called Garden Time Pathway Bark, manufactured by Gro-Well Brands. If you place your cursor over the Lowe’s hyperlink above, but not click on it, you can still see a small image of what the bag will look like. Apologies for any inconvenience.
Earthgro Potting Soil
I find that this product retains water a bit longer than a competitor, Super Soil. Super Soil, from my experience, seemed too dry and not very “soil-like” even after it’s been watered. The difference for me was evident: seeds planted in containers with Earthgro thrived, while those in containers with Super Soil remained largely dormant (same watering schedules for all containers). Ironically, both potting soils are produced by The Scotts-Miracle-Gro Company. Information on Earthgro Potting Soil can be found on the company website: http://www.scotts.com/smg/catalog/productTemplate.jsp?bodyCssClass=scotts+blade+product+general+en&tabs=general&navAction=push&bodyId=product_general&proId=prod100070&title=p_product_general_general_title&itemId=cat60014&id=cat60014.
Mini Measure Maxx
This is a useful measuring tool, a non-electronic measuring wheel. The handle is long enough that you do not have bend down to measure. I just set it to zero and slowly walk along the area that I’m measuring – very simple. I think it’s similar to what I saw the real estate appraiser use before I bought my house. I purchased this tool a few years ago from Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) during the time when I started re-designing my backyard. Regular measuring tapes were frustrating for me because no matter how carefully I laid down the tape, it moved, making the measurement inaccurate. I needed accuracy to estimate the amount of mulch I needed. The Mini Measure Maxx solved the “movement” problem for me. While many folks use this tool indoors, I found that it worked well outdoors for garden design purposes. It’s made in the United Kingdom: http://www.survsys.co.uk/equipment/sales_detail.asp?top=1&product_id=193
BOOK: O’Sullivan, Penelope. (1999). Ortho’s All About Shrubs and Hedges. Des Moines, Iowa: Meredith Books.