1. Plant in masses
Photo/Illustration: Jerry Pavia
More is better, right? Yes, if you are referring to chocolate or time-saving design strategies for gardens and hard-to-plant areas in your landscape. When designing or reworking garden beds, make it easy on yourself by planting fewer varieties but in greater numbers. By doing so, you reduce the number of different maintenance tasks and tools required by applying the same repetitive motion longer to a greater number of plants (this also allows for safer daydreaming).
Many of us curse bugleweed (Ajuga spp. and cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 3–9), sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum, Zones 5–8, photo, above), creeping phlox (Phlox subulata cvs., Zones 3–8), and other ground covers, labeling them thugs. In all fairness, however, they are only doing what comes naturally to them: covering ground. Take advantage of those tough, free-spirited roots, and plant them in hellstrips under shallow-rooted trees or on slopes where mowing is a challenge.