JeffCo H20:Rock, paper, garden

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner.  But along with warmer days come issues like bare patches, aggressive weeds, soggy spots, and soaring water bills.  Before using yard chemicals to control pesky plants, giving up on too wet or bare areas, or dragging out the hose to water the landscape yet again, you might want to consider some stormwater friendly low maintenance options.

Bare, sloped or otherwise hard to maintain areas easily can be transformed into a yard feature by installing a rock garden.  If you don’t already have appropriate rocks in your yard, you can purchase them at a home and garden store.  Properly installed, the rock will help reduce weeds, hold in moisture, and stabilize the soil.  When choosing plants for your rock garden, make sure that they are suited for our local conditions, and all have similar water and sun requirements.

Rock Garden

A rock garden can help tame a difficult to maintain area of your landscape

You already may have a weed control solution at your home and don’t know it.  Correctly applied, layers of newspaper are an inexpensive and easy way to prevent weeds.  Spread the newspaper about 10 sheets thick over the soil and overlap the layers by several inches to eliminate gaps.  Work newspaper around existing plants, or poke holes in the newspaper to install new plants.  Gently spray the newspapers with water until they are soaked, then lightly cover with leaves or other mulch to give a uniform appearance and help hold the sheets in place.  The newspaper will prevent weeds from springing up, help keep soil moist and cool during the growing season, and add nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.


Newspapers are an inexpensive, chemical free way to control weeds.

A rain garden is a great remedy for depressions (in your yard that is).  Placing water loving plants in low lying areas will help soak up the sogginess and create a beautiful and colorful area.  Installing a rain barrel to collect rainwater from your roof is an easy way to store up rainy day resources and reduce the cost of watering thirsty areas of your yard.  Rain barrels can be purchased at home and garden stores, ordered online, or homemade from food quality plastic drums.

What’s Happening?

Household Hazardous Waste Day – April 26 – Get ready to bring your HHW to McLendon Park (Legion Field), Birmingham from 8 to11 am.  Proper disposal will be available for paint, auto and alkaline batteries, used motor oil, electronics, ammunition, white goods, and paper shredding.  This event is free and open to all residents of Jefferson County.

Birmingham E-Cycling Day – May 8 Here’s another chance to properly dispose of your old, broken, or unwanted electronics.  Bring them to Linn Park from 8 am to 12 noon for recycling. Items accepted include personal computers, televisions, monitors, VCRs, stereos, DVD players, microwaves, phones, laptops, keyboards, mice, printers, ink/toner cartridges, remote controls, modems, projectors, and cameras. This event is free and open to citizens of the Birmingham Metro Area.   Call 787-5222 for more information.

Alabama Master Gardeners Helpline – Help for your home gardening challenges is just a phone call away!  Dial 1-877-252-GROW and select option 3 to speak to a master gardener volunteer serving the Birmingham area.

Lyn DiClemente
Jefferson County Department of Storm Water Management
B-210 Jefferson County Courthouse Annex
716 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North
Birmingham, AL  35203


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