Landscaping Ideas For Parking Strips

The parking strip, that awkward piece of land between your sidewalk and your street, can be one of the more challenging places to landscape. It's difficult to run irrigation to it because you must go under the sidewalk. It is also prone to heavy usage, from people walking on it to debris being tossed into it from the road. One way to tackle this area is to skip the lawn and get a bit more creative. These ideas can help.

Start With a Clean Slate

The key to low maintenance is to ensure weeds don't grow in the parking strip. The easiest way to do this is to strip out all the old sod and to remove the top few inches of dirt. This should eliminate most weed and grass seeds. Then, line the entire space with a weed-blocking fabric. Finally, fill the area back in with clean soil if you plan to plant directly into the strip. If you don't want to plant into the ground, fill in the area with gravel or sand to further prevent weed growth.

Choose Some Hardscaping

Parking strips are meant to be walked on since they are an area for people to step out of the car without blocking the sidewalk. This makes them a good option for hardscaping elements. You can go simple and just fill in the entire space with decorative rocks. Another option is to strategically place stepping stones, pavers or brickwork to create a design. The space between the stones can be filled with soil or rocks, depending on your design preference.

Create Some Texture

Height creates texture, which is especially important if you aren't planning to grow anything in the ground. A simple way to do this is to add decorative concrete planters at intervals along your parking strip. Don't place them too closely together, since you don't want car doors to hit them. You can then grow flowers in the planters, switching them out as desired. The plants will add further texture to the space.

Add In the Right Types of Plants

If you do want to grow some ground-based plants, opt for ground covers that are hardy enough to handle light foot traffic. Creeping thyme is an easy solution because it will eventually fill in the spaces between your pavers. If you have sufficient walkways created with the paver stones, you can instead opt for low-maintenance plants that are a bit taller for added height and texture. For example, sage and lavender are two low-mounding options that require nothing more than light annual trimming. They can even survive without regular watering. Contact a local landscape company (such as Glynn Young's Landscaping & Nursery Center) for more design and plant ideas.