My COVID Project – Solving Problems

When I first told you about my COVID backyard project, I identified two problems – weed management and ineffective use of the space. Read on to learn how I created a space that is both low maintenance and highly functional for my family.

While I love the look and sound of ornamental pea gravel its tendency to grow weeds is a significant downside. When meeting with clients to discuss gravel patios this is always an issue that I mention, because I’ve seen the ability of aggressive weeds (stiltgrass in my yard) to completely overgrow the space, and quickly. On the plus side, pea gravel patios are significantly less expensive than other hardscape alternatives – decks, flagstone, pavers, or brick. My yard is additionally challenging because I have very poor access to get to the backyard. Bringing in new materials whether stone or lumber would be cumbersome, and many of these materials were also in short supply because of COVID.
Blowtorch(Propane Blowtorch for Weeding)

So the question became – could I make the existing gravel work? And could I solve the weed issue while avoiding chemical pesticides (my preference)? While talking this over with Jon, he asked if I’d considered using a blow torch to burn the weeds down. I hadn’t but was excited to give it a try, and it worked great! To avoid any danger of fire I use the blowtorch after rain. I don’t burn too close to any of my plants, but am able to burn both the gravel and rock edging to kill any top growth of weeds. I typically burn the patio every other month, more often during spring when lots of new growth emerges. It takes about an hour to move everything off the patio and completely burn down the weeds.

Now that I had a plan to deal with the weeds I needed to figure out how to make the space more functional. I measured the area, plotted all the existing plants, and started playing with the idea of what the space could become.

Check back over the next few months to see my inspiration for the space and how the design evolved. Have a project that you need help with? Contact Bright Leaf Landscaping at 919.619.4460 or fill out our online contact form. Design and installation are our expertise, and we are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential projects!