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Backyard update: How to kill ivy ground cover

As you know, Pete and I have been working hard on our outdoor space every chance we get! We've had a super busy start to the summer with lots of big events going on, but we've been trying to get as much done as possible outside! As you know, I'm participating in an Outdoor Makeover Challenge with making it in the mountains to fix up our patio space. We also have tons of other outdoor projects we want to do, so I thought I'd share some of our progress so far!

The first thing we did when the whether got warm was clean up our garden beds. There are gardens all the way around the outside of our house so there was lots of weeding and mulching to be done. Most of the gardens have bushes in them, so it wasn't too bad, but the one off our patio was pretty empty, so after weeding, we filled it with some pansies to add some color and hostas to take up space. The butterfly bush was already there as well as the bush on the end. We're not sure what it is, but we learned this year that it should be cut all the way back in the fall! This thing grows like crazy!


Backyard update | Meet the B's



Also, we learned that next year, we'll buy mulch by the truck load instead of the bags at Home Depot. I had no idea we would need so much mulch! It definitely makes a world of difference in the appearance of our garden though :)


Backyard update | Meet the B's

It's been really fun seeing things pop up that we didn't know were there when we moved in last August, like these beautiful daffodils!


Outdoor update | Meet the B's


You also already know, we cut down the big holly tree in the middle of our yard! What a difference it made!


Backyard update | Meet the B's


That left us with a big round area without grass, so we put some grass seed down. We went with a tall fescue/rye mix because we're pretty sure that's what we already have growing. We did lots of reading about the "right time" to plant grass seed, but we decided we aren't patient enough to wait for the right time so we went for it. We figured if it didn't grow, we could just reseed in the fall. But hey, would you look at that! Baby grass!


Backyard update | Meet the B's


The other big thing we've been working on is getting rid of the ivy ground cover that extends across the back of our yard. After a lot of research, we learned that its' called vinca. I'll admit, it was kind of pretty when it was in bloom... but do we really need THAT much of it?? There's so much lost space back there!!


How to remove ivy ground cover | Meet the B's

We did some more research on how to kill or remove ivy ground cover only to find out that most people say you can't get rid of ivy without digging it up. Easier said than done. With a space this large, it would take forever to dig it all up. One day I got fed up and went out there and started hand pulling it for about 30 minutes... I covered probably 3 square feet and barely did any damage. That was enough to convince me that it was hopeless...


How to remove ivy ground cover | Meet the B's

Then one day I was strolling through Home Depot and saw this spray: Bayer Advanced Brush Killer. Why not give it a shot? So I developed a new plan.


How to remove ivy ground cover | Meet the B's


I covered a large area with the spray and waited a few weeks to see what happened. It didn't die completely, but it became very wilty and brown. Unhappy ivy makes me happy!


How to remove ivy ground cover | Meet the B's


I sprayed one more time, then immediately covered the area with black weed block sheeting.


How to remove ivy ground cover | Meet the B's


I covered over the weed block with mulch. The mulch and the weed block bag both say to use 3-4 inches of mulch, but I was running out of mulch (and mulch budget!), so I used a thin enough layer just to weigh down the sheeting. We can always add more later.


How to remove ivy ground cover | Meet the B's


My hope is that the combination of spray and depriving it of sunlight will kill the ivy over time. I anticipate having to repeat this method next year, but maybe after that it will be dead enough to till the whole area and add new soil on top. I'll be sure to update you over time on the effectiveness of my plan!


How to remove ivy ground cover | Meet the B's

We've still got plenty of work to do back there (more mulching and definitely some edging), but in the mean time, look at all that useable space we've made so far!! I can't wait to add a picnic table :)
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2 comments

  1. Looks like that Ivy doesn't stand a chance!! So fun seeing what flowers and plants pop up in your yard :)

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    1. Today, I found some daylillies sprouting up in a back corner! I love finding little surprises :)

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