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Landscaping Solutions for a Driveway Divider

Make this common area as low-maintenance as possible.

It's that skinny stretch of land that separates your driveway from your neighbor's. Driveway dividers usually contain a tree of some sort surrounded by grass. The problem is that over time, the tree soars while the curb appeal plummets. Due to the lack of light and competition for water between the grass and tree, very little can actually grow in this space.

To rejuvenate an overgrown driveway divider with a mature tree, lose the lawn altogether. The tree's canopy filters out much of the needed sunlight to grow vigorous turfgrass. Replace a tired, patchy lawn with low-maintenance, shade-tolerant groundcover, such as English ivy or Liriope. But be careful when planting underneath a tree; you don't want to cause major damage to the tree roots.

If planting underneath the tree would be too difficult, a mulch of river rock or colored stones provides a durable alternative. Rock is drought-proof, requires no maintenance and lasts an eternity. Although rock is more expensive than sod initially, consider how grass requires the cost of water, sprinklers, fertilizers, herbicides, mowing, edging and trimming; beyond the initial investment of the rock and labor to install it, stone mulch is an appealing, cost-effective solution for this landscape situation.

When tree roots limit what you're able to do with the space, add colorful pots planted with shade-tolerant annuals or perennials to brighten up the shady spot. Use gravel or shims to level pots. Anchor the containers in place with a dog-leash stake. Normally this stake would be screwed into the ground and the family pet would be hooked up to the stake. However, here it can be repurposed by screwing the stake through the pot's drainage hole, firmly setting the pot in place. Add soil and plants after it has been anchored. Not only does this creative system keep the pots from potentially falling over but they keep people from stealing the containers from your driveway. Another theft deterrent is placing rocks in the bottom of the pot before adding soil; this makes the heavy pot much more cumbersome to remove.

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