If you're like most people, you keep your gardens near the house. Neighbors walk by, but they may not stop to chat. The little strip of land between your sidewalk and the street - sometimes called a parkway, parking strip, or boulevard - is just begging for an attractive garden. While you put it in, new friendships could sprout at the same time.
You may or may not own your parkway, but you're responsible for maintaining it. Also, your town or village may have rules to maintain clear lines of vision for cars and pedestrians. Once you know the rules, it's easier to plan.
Do you like working in your garden every day, or do you prefer letting your garden grow on its own? Your style, the look of the house, your climate are all important elements to think about when you plan.
Parkway soil can be pretty awful. It's often filled with builders' leftovers. As a shortcut, try making little soil islands for your plants, rather than amending the whole garden. Just dig out holes that are twice as wide and deep as your plants' containers and back fill with quality soil, such as Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Flowers and Vegetables or Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice.
Your future parkway garden could get full sun or heavy shade, depending on your tree cover. Either way, you'll want to see how much sunlight gets through before you spend money on plants.
Parkways are harsh environments. Sprinklers don't always reach them. They're sometimes exposed to salt. Being so close to pavement, they bake. Your best bet is to choose native perennials adapted to poor soil and low moisture. Flowers that grow low to the ground are less likely to get knocked over by kids and dogs. Ornamental grasses, such as blue fescue and prairie dropseed, are ideal for parkway gardens.
Mulching your garden will help cut down on weeds and retain moisture. Try to avoid making a mound in your garden, since that will increase runoff. Your mulch will dry out sooner, and your soil, fertilizer and other stuff will eventually flow into any nearby stream. You can keep a small strip of grass or groundcover next to the curb to hold back your mulch. You could also install a plastic border next to the curb.
People walk their dogs for a reason, and dogs like to go where other dogs have gone before. Rather than letting your petunias take all the punishment, try putting a rock or a decorative piece of wood out for them. Again, some towns may have rules about what's allowed on parkways in your area, so find out first.
You'll need to water and feed your parkway garden. You can do both jobs at once with Miracle-Gro® LiquaFeed®.