Happy Thanksgiving – Add Some Color!

Pathways And Patios, Preparing For Fall With Ground Covering


918 Lafitte Street

Mandeville, LA  70448

(985) 674-9001 

Pathways & Patios


Long overlooked, gravel is finally being recognized for its enduring beauty. Warmer-toned than pavement, cooler and more neutral than grass, gravel is weather proof and manageable; gravel can follow curves as easily as it does straight lines. Properly installed, it acts as a weed barrier, and the colors pick up on the adjacent plant palette. Gravel is easy to set down, requires little maintenance, and, if well-contained, calls for only minimal replenishment every few years. It’s cost-effective, given that it requires no mowing, watering, or fertilizing. Local gravels range in price from $45 – $142 per cu yard; a 20-by-20 foot patio can be covered with roughly 3 cubic yards. Throw in that it’s biodegradable and gravel seems to be the surface without a down side.

 Lay Your Own Path…

Given enough patience and back strength, anyone can install a basic path. (1) Mark out the path’s outer boundaries using string or a garden hose, taking time to find the most pleasing curves and angles. Walking paths should be 24 – 36 inches wide and preferably on level ground. Excavate soil to eight inches below the surface. (2) Spread and level four to six inches of crushed concrete aggregate base (available from home improvement centers). Compact the leveled base using a drum roller or hand tamper. Hose it down once or twice to help compact. (3) To inhibit weed growth, lay a double layer of landscape fabric over the compacted base, leaving excess fabric to go under the the path’s edging (which can be made of brick, stone, steel or wood). Lay in edging allowing is top to sit no more than two inches above the finished surface. (4) Spread two to four inches of gravel over the base, using the back of a metal rake to help distribute the material.

 Not exactly a “Do it Yourselfer?”  …no problem, just call the experts GroundHOG.

Whats Your Color For Fall?

The time to plant fall color is quickly approaching.  GroundHOG is ordering flowers now and scheduling installations from late October to mid November.  John Gillis, our veteran horticulturist, suggests the following flowers for your Winter viewing pleasure.  Whether you like solid, bold, pastels or a mixture of colors, we can work out a plan for you.  Call our office to be part of this seasonal flower order.

Did you know Snapdragons are native to the Mediterranean? They are known for their strong-stemmed spikes ( 1 ½’ to 3′ tall) packed with large “dragons” and beautiful fragrance. Although planted in the fall, most varieties bloom in spring in our climate. Local growers often offer a variety of hues – white, yellow, purple, crimson, bronze and pink. Snapdragons are the perfect flower for beds, edgings and containers. Try them in your rock garden too.


Violas are native to the southern hemisphere and generally  more winter-hardy than the larger-flowered pansy. Often  planted late October through mid December, they can  bloom well into spring. Violas are small plants that  produce a wealth of dainty, fragrant blooms in jewel-like  shades of yellow, apricot, blue, scarlet, white and violet.  Consider filling and entire garden bed for the striking spring effect your neighbors will envy.



Petunias, native to Argentina, are commonly used in our area as a fall bedding plant. They have wide trumpet shaped flowers and branching foliage that is hairy and somewhat sticky. They are prolific bloomers, although some forms require deadheading to keep them going. The varieties are endless – single, double, ruffled, or smooth petals, striped, veined, or solid colors. The ‘Wave’ petunia spreads, making it a great bedding plant that doesn’t need to be deadheaded. You can find petunias in just about every color except black and blue.


Allyssum, native to EuropeAsia, and northern Africa,  with the highest species diversity in the Mediterranean  region, is often compared to a cheerful blotch of summer  sunshine. The delicate plants are available in a bouquet of  colors including white, yellow, pink and lavender. The  delicate scent makes them a welcome addition to any  garden. Growing only six to nine inches tall, it is wonderful for edging a flower bed, adding color to a rock garden or cascading from a hanging basket.

Adding Beauty with Ground Covers


Ground Covers Minimize Maintenance Around Trees:

Maintaining turf in the shade under established trees can be an ongoing battle. Mowing over large surface roots is hard on both the tree and the mower. And grass growing close to the trunk needs trimming, of course, but it’s tough to keep it neat without cutting into the trunk. Mulch can solve these problems, but needs regular replacement. The simple solution that maximizes long-term maintenance and enhances the beauty of the trees – ground covers.

Exploring Your Options:

Ground covers are not only practical solutions, they can also be eye-catching design features.

Single Solution:

A ground cover planting composed of one species or cultivar is easy to plan and plant, and simply adds a formal element to the landscape.


Groupings of several different ground covers that drift into one another give the plantings a more garden-like look, especially if you combine plants with showy flowers of colorful foliage.

Mixing It Up:

Choosing four to six different ground covers similar in height and setting them out in no particular pattern creates a natural-looking effect.

Planting Around Established Trees:

The root systems of even large trees tend to be surprisingly shallow, so avoid disturbing the soil as much as possible. Instead of using a sod cutter to remove the grass and weeds, strip them off manually. Or, if absolutely necessary, carefully apply an appropriate herbicide to kill the vegetation, wait at least three days, then plant through the dead turf. Resist temptation to spread a thick layer of top soil around the tree to create a fresh planting bed because changing the grade more than an inch or two may seriously damage the tree roots. Instead, dig individual holes for each plant, avoiding the medium-and large-size roots as much as possible.

Planting Around New Trees:

Establishing a ground cover at the same time you plant trees is a much easier project. First, remove or kill the existing sod. If you’re setting out large trees, it’s usually best to settle them in and then create the planting bed around them so you’re not compacting loosened soil with heavy foot traffic or machinery. With more easily managed trees, prepare the entire area first and then do all the planting at the same time. Newly planted trees typically don’t cast much shade, so you can use ground covers adapted for partial shade or full sun.

Post-Planting Care:

Add a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch and water thoroughly to wet the soil and mulch. Water again during dry spells for at least the first growing season to get the ground cover off to a good start. Regular watering is especially critical for plantings under established trees because they have to compete with the tree roots for moisture.

Beyond the Ordinary

Ground covers are suppose to minimize work, not make more, so stick with plants that are proven performers in our climate. There are lots of options beyond “the big three” -English Ivy, Japanese pachysandra and periwinkles-such as ferns, hostas and stonecrops.

Let GroundHOG maximize your view!

“Boots On Your Ground”


Dixon Mateo

Dixon“Dixon Mateo is one of those employees EVERYONE enjoys working with. He always has a smile on his face, and his work ethic is exceptional,” says Tim Twomey, Managing Partner of GroundHOG.

“While his talents are always appreciated, his contributions to our clients are always above and beyond even our own high standards. But perhaps even more importantly, our client feedback is always positive and his teammates rave about his leadership skills and supportive manner.”

“Dixon is the embodiment of GroundHOG’s spirit this year and we are very excited about the work we will complete and the contributions he will make in the future. With his help, GroundHOG is growing.”

For fun, Dixon plays guitar in the band at his church. Ask him how he spent his weekend and he’ll ALWAYS tell you he was in church.


Call GroundHOG Today for All Your Lawn & Landscape Needs!

(985) 674-9001

Proudly Serving the Southeastern Louisiana Area.

The GroundHOG service area includes: Abita Springs, Covington, Hammond, Madisonville, and Mandeville communities.

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