Home Gardening: Easier Weeding and Watering

Updated: Jun. 12, 2023

These great tips will help you create an ideal, low-maintenance and beautiful outdoor living space.

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Low-Maintenance Perennial Garden

When you start a new perennial border, spread non-woven polypropylene black landscape fabric over the soil. The fabric keeps weeds under control, holds heat in cool spring weather (giving your plants a faster start), and lets water soak through to the roots.

Buy a non-biodegradable fabric that weighs about three ounces per square yard (about $10 for a 3 x 25-ft. piece). Use U-shaped metal stakes to hold down the fabric.

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laundry watering can
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Laundry Jug Watering Can

Instead of throwing away empty laundry detergent containers, rinse them thoroughly and then recycle them for watering plants. Drill 1/8-in. holes in the top of the cap and a 1/2-in. hole just above the handle to relieve pressure so the water flows freely. Here are more smart watering tips.

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Sprinkler Socket System

Use PVC pipe to hold sprinkler spikes. If you use spike-type sprinklers, try setting them in permanent sockets made from one inch PVC pipe. These sockets will make it a snap to move the sprinklers, and they’ll keep them upright and shooting water where you want it.

What can’t you do with PVC pipe? Here are 56 incredibly smart (and cheap!) ways to use PVC.

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Weedy Tip

Use paper collars to identify plants. When you sow seeds, it can be hard to tell little weeds from the young sprouts. Cut cardboard tubes from toilet paper into one-third sections to encircle the seed and keep you from plucking out your young plants. Here are 10 tips for growing plants from seeds.

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Space-Saving Hose Storage

Use galvanized pipe to corral your hose. If you have a small yard, don’t waste precious real estate on a bulky hose reel. Pound a four-foot length of galvanized steel pipe into the ground, coil up to 50 feet of hose around it and top the end with a nozzle that hooks into the pipe’s end. Here are 14 small yard landscaping ideas that will give your space serious style!

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Drive-By Weeding

Spray weeds as you mow. Attach a spray bottle of herbicide to your tractor or lawn mower so that when you’re mowing your lawn, you can spray weeds right when you see them for weed control on the fly.

Use hook and loop tape to hold the bottle. Attach the bottle of herbicide to your lawn tractor or mower with a hook-and-loop strip (like Velcro) in a spot where you can easily grab it. Plus, check out these ten handy lawn mowing tips.

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no-trim border wall
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No-Trim Wall Border

Bury stones to make a mow strip. If you’re building a fence, a retaining wall or a planter, set a course of protruding stones in the soil beneath it. That way your mower can cut all the grass, no trimming by hand needed.

The stones should protrude about four inches from the wall and stand at least an inch above the soil so grass doesn’t creep over them. You will still have to pull out grass from between the stones occasionally. Check out these other easy lawn care tips.

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Homemade Soaker Hose

A sprinkler isn’t always the most efficient way to water your plants, especially if you live in a hot, dry climate. Soaker hoses ensure that theplants get most of the water, and you don’t need to spend $25 at a garden center to get one.

Give your worn-out hoses a second life by converting them. Just plug the end of the hose with a round stick and perforate the hose with a sharp nail. You’ll get a free soaker hose and conserve water at the same time. Plus, check out these 31 cheapskate handy hints for the outdoors.

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Ice Cube Trick

Tired of water draining too quickly through hanging baskets? Try ice cubes. They’ll melt slowly enough so plants can absorb as much water as they need. Plus, check out these pro lawn and garden tips.

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Spray Herbicides on Calm Days

Herbicide overspray can damage plants. Apply liquid herbicides only on calm, windless mornings. When the wind’s blowing, you’ll not only waste material but also possibly kill nearby shrubs and flowers. Check out these 23 yard tool hacks that will make your life easier.