By Heather O’Bryan
Columnist and Horticulturist
Homeowners all over the country are facing various problems in their yards.  Whether it is a soggy spot, a hill that is eroding or a place where grass won’t grow, the possibilities are endless.  But fear not, most of these issues can be solved with a little ingenuity and knowledge from an expert.
December is a great time to evaluate the problems in your yard and form a game plan.  These guidelines can help.
Eroding bank – A hilly landscape can present several problems including ponding at the bottom and soil erosion.  To keep your bank from being whisked away during a gully washer, make a plant plan.  For steep banks, deeper rooted plants like vines and shrubs can be incredibly helpful.  Plant vines like Ivy and Vinca for a low growing effect and arching shrubs like willow leaf Cotoneaster for a fuller look.
If you have a more gradual bank that can be mowed, think of planting a strong rooted turf. The experts at the Turf and Gardening Store can help you choose the right turf for your eroding bank.
Too Much Water – If you have ponding water every time a deluge hits, then it may be time to consider putting in a rain garden.  These gardens work to absorb ponding water through a filtration system and plants that like wet conditions from time to time.  Use plants like Elderberry, Cinnamon Fern and Pin Oak for maximum water uptake.
A Shady Spot – Shade presents a whole different problem.  Most plants need sunlight to convert to energy through photosynthesis.  If they don’t get enough, then they eventually die.  There are quite a few plants that can live on very minimal sunlight.  Plants like Vinca, ferns, Hostas and Huechera are just a few that are happy in shade.  If you want turf under trees, check out our shady blend of grass seed.
Scorching Heat – Lots of sun can also present major problems.  Too much heat can fry your plants and destroy your landscape.  Look for plants that thrive on heat such as Echinacea, Joe Pye Weed and Angelina Sedum.  In fact, most sedums and cacti are great for hot spots.  Just make sure the variety you plant can make it through the winter.  Do your research, it is absolutely worth it.
Lots of Leaves – If you have large, gorgeous shade trees in your yard, chances are they are a pain in your backside in autumn.  Instead of raking, try mulching your leaves with a lawn mower.  If you have a bagger, add the mulched leaves to a pile.  This will eventually make leaf mold, which is a great natural soil conditioner.
Compacted Soil – New construction is notorious for leaving the soil compacted, aka hard as a rock.  If your yard is too hard for you to dig in, then imagine a small root trying to break through the same soil.  Not going to happen.  Consider container gardening to make your landscape look better.  Build custom wood containers along the foundation, or choose various pots to plant in for a more modern look.
If you want to till up the ground, think of working some soil conditioners and compost in to make the conditions right for growing healthy plants of all sizes.
Issues arise in the landscape all the time.  Whether it is hilly terrain or a hole in the ground, there is a variety of plant or a product designed to solve the problem.  The experts at The Turf and Gardening store can help you with most issues in the garden.  Give us a shout the next time you are stumped about problems in your landscape.