Tips From the Pros

Landscape fabric?

We are often asked if landscape fabric should be used when installing landscaping.  While this is often used as a weed deterrent, there are some things that you should keep in mind.  First, the material can be tough to cut through in areas where you will be planting additional plants such as annuals.   Also, keep in mind that you won’t be able to easily add compost to help with soil nutrition.  And over the seasons, the weed seeds that are naturally scattered on top of the fabric, will nullify their effectiveness anyway.

Keep maintenance in mind when you landscape design

A good way to design your beds is to start with laying a garden hose around the perimeter.  If you can easily move your riding lawn mower around the garden hose, you know you have just reduced hand mowing and weed eating.  Likewise, by avoiding sharp angles, you will reduce hand maintenance…gradual curves are more naturally pleasing to the eye anyway.



Landscape Trivia Viola aka Johnny-Jump-Ups

A member of the Violet family, this small, but popular perrenial is often also grown as an annual.  A native of Europe and eastern Asia, this flower is believed to be the basis for Shakespeare's "Love-In-Idleness" flower, a major factor in the plot of A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Viola's are easy to plant in beds with well-drained soil and partial sunlight.  Many varieties wil re-seed themselves year after year for a bright splash of spring and early summer color.  Oh, and don't be surprised if you catch Puck around those gardens at dawn!


Lily of the Valley

This woodland plant is native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere in Asia and Europe and a limited native population in Eastern USA. They are popular as garden, grown for its scented flowers and for its ground-covering abilities in shady locations. It is often called Our Lady's Tears, as the legand goes that it sprang from the ground when Mary cried tears during the crucifixtion.

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel is an evergreen shrub, popular in our area. All parts of mountain laurel, including leaves, twigs, flowers, and nectar (as well as honey made from it), contain a toxic resinoid and the leaves and twigs also contain a cardiac glycoside (arbutin).

Pampas Grass 

Pampas Grass is a beautiful ornamental grass that can transform the look of your landscape or garden with very little maintenance.  But you may not know that it has an amazing root system.  In fact, a mature plant will have a ball of spaghetti-looking roots that could stretch over 600 miles if each root's length were added together.  No wonder it is so drought tolerant!



Once very prevalent across our area, Bamboo (River Cane, Switch Cane or Mountain Cane) was once home to the now extinct Carolina Parokeet and was a favorite food of the Bison that roamed our area.  The Cherokee indians literally had hundreds of uses for the stuff.  From food, to tea, to basket material, to fish hooks, to roofing to weaponry.  Bamboo is a self-renewing resource.  In fact, within 5 years a new plant will produce wood that is harder than oak and structurally stronger than steel!


Eastern Red Cedar

This evergreen ornamental was often planted around homesteads as it was thought to ward off insects in the summer.

Lawn Mowing Tips What is lawn aeration?

Turf care in the Mountains of North Carolina can be a very rewarding job if a few simple rules are followed. Basic fertilization, irrigation and mowing will help to ensure a beautiful lawn. The Potting Shed uses a 7 step program to ensure the best results in your turf program. Six of the steps are shown below. The final step is an annual lime treatment to bring the soil ph to a more optimal level. Our program controls broadleaf weeds, crabgrasses and invasive species by utilizing pre and post emergent herbicides applied at the proper time. Turf damaging insects, including grubs, are controlled by using a insecticide.


Along with proper fertilization, irrigation is also necessary for optimal lawn growth. Most mountain grasses will be happy with one half inch of water twice a week. Avoid frequent light watering and go for longer deeper watering. Use a screwdriver to make sure that the top four inches of soil is damp. Water between 2 am and 8 am for optimal growth.

One factor to consider when maintaining lawns is the age of the lawn. New lawns require time to establish themselves and root in before you can mow. If you’ve seeded your lawn, it may be as long as two months before you can mow. Sod, on the other hand, you can mow within three weeks of being laid.  Plugs, stolons and sprigs can take as much as six weeks to become firmly established. If you’ve seeded your lawn, all seeds should have germinated before you mow. Plugs, sprigs, stolons and sod must have firmly set roots to prevent damage… just remember that mowing is the most often incorrectly performed part of lawn care.

There are two types of grasses in North Carolina that homeowners run into. Cool season grasses like Fescue, Blue grass and Rye are most common in the mountains of western North Carolina. These grasses prefer to be cut between 2.5 and 4.0 inches in height. Fescue seems to perform best at around 3.5 inches in height. Blue grass tolerates lower cutting, but don’t go lower than 2.5 inches. The other type of grass is warm season grass such as Bermuda, Zoysia and Centipede; these grasses will tolerate a very low cut. Golf courses typically use a lot of Bermuda and they usually cut it very low. Here are some more general rules to prevent lawn damage.

Never cut more than 1/3 of the grass height. Make sure the lawn is completely dry before mowing to prevent damage. Keep your blades sharp. Keep the underside of your mower clean. Make sure your mowing deck is set at the proper height. Mow your lawn weekly during the growing season to prevent clumping

The final touches to mowing a lawn are weed eating and edging. They make the lawn look crisp and well defined. Avoid scalping the lawn while weed eating to prevent damage. If lawn maintenance does not fit into your lifestyle or schedule then consider allowing The Potting Shed to perform regular lawn maintenance for you.