Mary Lou Marchand

Weeds. Mowing. I don’t mind mowing until I get to the curbside. The sand and salt the plow throws on that area during the winter often leaves us with a problem area that is more grit than soil, more weeds than grass. How to improve the area has led me to look at the boulevard or street-side garden concept.

I thought about what plants would work best and if the city had any special regulations such as plant height and how to best cope with the sand and salt. Learn where the various underground utilities such as water, gas and electricity run before digging, especially if shrubs are part of the plan.

The boulevard is a harsh home for plants. It’s hot and dry, plus de-icers and snow piles can stress plants. Regular soil tests will help identify any soil problems that need to be corrected. Pick your favorite method for preparing the area for planting. A no-dig plan using newspaper and wood chip mulch is one option. Amending the soil with compost and peat is another.

Keep in mind that plants closest to the curb will probably suffer the most from sand and salt or other de-icers. A 1 to 2-foot strip of mulch by itself or planted with annuals, or…