Common Landscaping Mistakes
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Common Landscaping Mistakes

Most homeowners feel that they can watch a few home improvement or gardening shows and they can tackle their backyard landscaping problems with ease. The major problem with this strategy is that the good ideas shown on television as misapplied or not carried out to completion. You can drastically improve your landscaping success rate by avoiding some of the most common mistakes.

Most homeowners feel that they can watch a few home improvement or gardening shows and they can tackle their backyard landscaping problems with ease.  The major problem with this strategy is that the good ideas shown on television as misapplied or not carried out to completion.  You can drastically improve your landscaping success rate by avoiding some of the most common mistakes.

No Plan

Never start a landscaping project without a plan, even a sketch on an index card is better than winging it. Decide on a theme or look and then draw it out on paper. Select plant locations based on the shape and style of your house. Work with what you have and try not to incorporate items in your design that don’t fit in with the style of your home or neighborhood. Be aware of your budget when selecting trees and shrubs; spend a little more money on one or two specimens that you want to showcase in your landscape and consider relocating plants that aren’t too large to save money.

Being Shortsighted

Failing to think for the long-term is a common problem because many people can’t visualize what the eventual growth of the plants will be. You need to find out how they spread, how they reproduce and what type of maintenance they require. Some garden centers have software programs available where you can design a landscape and then click a button, and it will show you the growth rate of those plants over a period of years.

Overcrowding

 

When you don’t have a plan or you don’t consider the final size of the plants you select, you tend to overcrowd the landscape to make it look filled in.  Planting trees and shrubs too closely together causes several problems such as altering their growth habit, increasing the chance for disease, blocking the view of the home, and wasting money. If you think your landscape design looks a little thin in spots, consider planting smaller annuals or perennials to supply more color and interest throughout the season. Consider installing a trellis in that empty spot and plant a quick growing annual vine. You can relocate the trellis once the main plants start to fill in the area.

Poor Location

Improper placement is another common mistake for landscaping beginners. More times than not people fail to take into consideration the proper sunlight and exposure for their plants. When it comes to planting trees, read the tags to see what the final height and spread will be. If you have a specimen plant, make sure that you situate it in a location where you can enjoy it from inside your home as well as from any outdoor seating areas or the street.

Window Views

Keep in mind what your landscape looks like from the most common viewing angles. Place your containers where you want them, and then go inside and look through each window to see what they'll look like before you plant. The view from a window should look like a painting with the window’s trim framing the landscape.

Incorrect Planting

One of the quickest ways to kill a tree is to plant it too deeply. The part of a plant where the stem and root system meet is called the root collar which is where the base flares out between the trunk and the roots. Planting the root collar below grade can actually choke the tree to death because there is no air allowed to go to the root system. Going too deep can also encourage root rot. A good rule of thumb with plants is to dig to the actual height of the container in which it came.

Installing the Wrong Plants

Not every plant belongs in your yard. Consider your yard and located the amount of sunlight in the planting areas. Plants that require full sunlight should be planted in locations that face South. Some shrubs or plants can handle part-shade, so they can be planted on East or West facing exposures. Consider the amount of light that is going to be reflected off of your house. If you have white or light colored siding, consider installing plants that can handle afternoon sun or can dry out between watering.

Forgetting about Curb Appeal

Never underestimate the power of curb appeal. Many homeowners put all of their time and money into the backyard and the front of their house looks like a strip mall. If you have a limited budget and want to spend it on your backyard, consider a few small shrubs along a walkway and some colorful annuals.

Too Much of the Same Thing

Use various shapes and sizes to create interest in your yard as well as creating diversity for birds and beneficial insects. Each species of plant need certain nutrients so planting too many of one variety will drain the nutrients out of the soil. As stated before, disease can spread quickly between plants, so a large portion of your landscaping can be affected by only having a few varieties of plants.

Forgetting about Maintenance

Part of planning a landscape is to allow time to maintain it. Make up a maintenance schedule and stick to it. Planting beds need to be weeded at least once or twice a month; shrubs or roses should be pruned after flowering. If you don't have the time to take care of your garden, make sure you have enough money to pay somebody to do it.

Improper Pruning

Pruning is a mix or planning and technique so when pruning is done incorrectly you can do more harm than good. In fact, in some cases, it's better not to prune at all than to do it poorly. Each plant has a different pruning schedule and method so do a little research before you purchase your trees and shrubs.

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Comments (1)

Great advice and common sense ideas which I will keep for future reference.

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