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10 Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid

March 26, 2014

After a long hard winter, you’re ready to get back outside and spruce up your landscaping. Before you let your enthusiasm overcome your sensibility, here are 10 landscaping mistakes to avoid: 1.     Jumped ahead without a plan. It’s easy to walk into a nursery, spend a fortune, and get home with a carload of live plants that don’t fit with your yard. Before you buy even a seed packet, plan your landscaping. Decide what you want to plant and where, considering the sunlight or shade it needs to thrive. Think about how the colors are going to look when your plants are blooming, and when they’re not. Create a budget, including your tools and maintenance cost 2.     Didn’t consider the 360º view. You might think how nice it will be to have a lawn ornament, pot, or tree outside your kitchen window, but don’t overlook how it looks from the opposite view—in other words, curb appeal. When planning your landscaping, consider what your yard will look like from both inside and outside your house. 3.     Ignored the maintenance required. Before investing in your plants, shrubs, and trees, look at the care instructions. Will it need regular pruning, fertilizing, special food, or other maintenance beyond simple watering? Ask yourself if you’re going to commit to cultivating this living thing in the way it will require, or are willing to pay to have someone else do the yard and lawn care. Otherwise, your investment will be wasted, and you’ll be pulling up dead plantings. 4.     Planted the right plants in the wrong way. Every plant comes with instructions for proper planting—how much light, depth, and space it requires. Be sure you’re putting them where they will have the right environment to thrive, including enough space to spread out. 5.     Over mowing the lawn. Grass grows quickly, so you might be tempted to cut it shorter to stretch out the length of time between mowing. But if you cut your grass too short, you leave it susceptible to burning out in the hot sun. Not only do you have unsightly patches in your lawn, but you also invite bugs. 6.     Didn’t account for long-term growth. Plants are going to grow, when maintained properly. Do you know how big they’re going to be next year? How about five years from now? Before you decide where to put your perennials, shrubs, and trees, consider the long-term growth. You might have to restrain yourself from over-planting in the first year or two, with the knowledge that you’re investing in the long-term growth of a stunning landscape! 7.     Failed to consider kids and animals When you’re making your plan, think about the other living things moving in and out of your landscaped areas. Will your kids and pets be able to avoid stomping through those spaces? Do you know what kinds of wildlife are slipping in and out when you’re not looking? There are ways to deter rabbits, deer, and other unwanted guests, so take this into consideration when you’re choosing the plants and placement. 8.     Used pots that didn’t fit. Nurseries use pots that are large enough for the plant in its current stage of growth. That’s not necessarily the size of pot to use when you transplant it. Think about the root system and be sure you’re giving the plant the room to spread out. Conversely, don’t plunk a small plant in a huge pot, because it could sink into the soil or soak up too much water. 9.     Forgot to consider color. We all have our favorite plants and colors, but limiting your vision means you also limit the appeal of your landscape. Think about the color scheme you want, trying not to go overboard with a wide range of color that can look too busy. Decide where you want your color, and how to accent it with greenery. Foliage actually brings more attention to the color in your yard. 10.  Overlooked exterior lighting. How will your yard and garden look when the sun goes down? If you want to enjoy your outdoor spaces in the evening, take the time to consider exterior lighting. Simple accents—like solar lights, lanterns, and strung lights—can be placed to highlight choice spots.

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