How many of you still get the newspaper delivered to your front door every weekend? There are still a few of us out there, myself included, who like the experience of flipping through the pages. Once done, off to the recycle bin they go and we wait for next weeks delivery. What if I told you to stop recycling your newspaper, but save it instead? You would most likely think I was a bit “out to lunch”, however; I promise my faculties are intact. You see, your newspaper has a bigger purpose that just housing the latest updates and global trends. It is the perfect material to use as ground cover for your garden bed and landscaping projects.
My mother taught me this subtle trick a few years ago. In an impulsive act of reckless abandon, I had decided to remove a massive portion of my back yard turf and turn it into a landscaped edged focal point. What I had failed to do was understand there were helpful tools to easily remove the sod, instead, I laboured by hand through much of it. It took 4 days and the process almost killed me. My mom patiently said nothing while my neighbour watched with a grin, afraid to point out the fact I could have rented a sod cutter.
Together they waited for me to exhaust myself, lift my head, and ask for help.
By this time, all the sod removed was from the clear areas and the sod remaining sat surrounded by shrubs and trees. Not the best location to maneuver awkward machinery. My mother walked out with a bundle of newspapers and said lay this down. It kills the grass, prevents weeds, and saves you having to rip anything up. It also acts as a great compost encourager. I was doubtful, but too tired to question her. I lay it down, covered it with cedar bark and crossed my fingers.
It worked. Not only did this work, it worked for free! Now you do have to lay it down thick. About six pages of layering so this requires quite the collection depending on the size of your landscape project. You can grab your own; however; you can also ask your local corner store if they will give you the days old newspapers. Most will gladly do so.
So how does this newspaper work?
Take your garden bed and give it a good rake to level it out. Top up your soil with some Triple mix from your local landscaping company. Spread it out evenly leaving some room around the base of your tree and shrubs. Then, use your newspaper as you would landscape fabric. Lay it out 6 pages deep, being sure to overlap the edges by at least 2”. I use my garden hose to wet the paper as I go to make it stick down and not blow away. Once in position, add your mulch or your cedar pieces on top. Voila. Done.
Now you can enjoy the weed free summer landscaping you created in a sustainable, economic way. 🙂