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Why let so much cardboard and newspaper go to landfills? (Ideally you are recycling it—but it has so many uses in home landscaping!) In landscape beds or islands around trees, lay an inch of newspaper or sheets of cardboard and then cover it with attractive mulch, such as shredded bark or pine needles. The paper layer discourages weeds and retains soil moisture. (To improve the soil further, add a layer of compost before you spread the mulch. You will be amazed how quickly the paper will decompose, “feed” the worms, and add organic matter to the soil.)


The same idea works to make your path weed-free longer. Just line the bottom and sides of the path’s base (or trench) with paper or cardboard. Some professionals use landscape fabric for this purpose, but it does not have the ecological value of improving soil texture and sparing the landfill.


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