20 Landscape Planning Mistakes To Avoid When Gardening

Posted on Mar 12 2014 - 9:59am by Ethan Hampton


The art of gardening is not easy to master, especially for those with large lawns. Sometimes, it can seem that the greenery has a mind of its own. About 90-95 percent of landscaping projects fail because of too many mistakes. It therefore pays to know the biggest and most common landscaping mistakes to avoid and what you should do to fix them.

1. Failure to plan

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make when considering the design of the landscape is failure to come up with a plan. Without a set plan, you risk purchasing too many plants or additions that could end up making your yard look cramped. Find out ideal locations for your shrubs and plants in relation to your house’s style and shape.

Draw a simple sketch of your garden, and include things that are already there as well as those you might add later, such as pools, patios and outbuildings. Look for ways of bringing everything together so that you can end up with an attractive, harmonious design when you are finished.

2. Making budget blunders

Many homeowners do not include landscaping in their construction budget. This is why it is all too common to find a new beautiful family room, solarium or screened porchwith a few lonely azaleas planted close to the foundation as an afterthought. Landscaping can be just as expensive as other types of home improvements. A number of factors are involved including labor. So ensure that you have enough budgets if you want to get it right the first time.

3. Poor fence choices

Few things can make a home more uninviting than a rundown fence. Not only does it betray lack of care for your yard space, but it could also pose a danger to neighbors and children. Be selective about the type of fence and the material it is made from when choosing a fence.

4. Mismatching styles

When choosing plants and shrubbery for your landscaping, you should match your garden’s theme to you home’s architecture. Do not focus all your efforts on the plants you want to grow; you also need to take your hardscape into consideration.

5. Ignoring sun conditions

One common pitfall homeowners make is to choose plants based on how they lookrather than the sun and soil condition they need to thrive. It is not uncommon to find rookies planting sun loving perennial under a tree while sun-shy hosts are left in the open. Typically, everything looks great for about a week before the plants start dying.

Observe the spot you intend to put your plant to estimate the amount of sun it get exposed to in an average day of their growing season. Next, look for plants that would thrive under that level of sun exposure.

6. Irrational irrigation

Many homeowners over-water their beds. It is important to use the correct amount of water for your lawn and plants. Most lawns only need around 1 inch of week per week. Ideally, the lawn should be watered in the early morning leaving it with a full day to dry. The market is full of sprinklers designed with automatic timers to reduce water wastage while ensuring that the plants are watered at the ideal time.

7. Failing to fertilize properly

Incorrect fertilization is another common mistake homeowners make along with outright failure to fertilize. Visit your local garden center and ask for assistance on how to choose the best fertilizer for your plants and soil. It is recommended that you fertilize twice a year, once in the spring and in the fall. It shouldn’t be done in bright sunlight and the yard should be watered immediately afterwards.

8. Losing sight of curb appeal

When it comes to landscaping, many people make the mistake of focusing all their attention on their backyard. But curb appeal also says a lot about your home’s upkeep. Take some time to give the greenery in front some joy as well.

9. Using inappropriate pruning techniques

Pruning is both an art form and a science. If done improperly you can end up doing more harm than good. If you do not know the correct pruning techniques for your specific plants, it is better not to attempt it at all rather than do it improperly.

Differing techniques are required for different plants. But the timing is also important. Most plants respond well when pruned in the fall, but ensure that you find out to be sure.

10. Planting too many trees

If you love trees, then you probably have a few in your yard. But keep in mind that the tree will eventually become large. When planting them, be sure to spread them out, leaving enough room for them – and other garden plants to reach their full potential.

11. Letting shrubs get out of hand

Landscaping also involves setting some time aside to maintain the lawn. Come up with a maintenance schedule and stick to it. Garden beds should be ideally weeded one or two times a month. If you do not have time to proactively care for your shrubs, then you should consider paying to have someone do it for you.

12. Tacky and excessive lawn ornaments

Nothing can degrade your outdoor space worse than excessive use of lawn ornaments. While your lawn may benefit from one or two well-chosen ornaments, there is a thin line between enough and too much. If you feel the need to adorn your lawn, ensure that you select something that can withstand a variety of weather conditions to avoid a weathered, tacky look.

13. Mowing the grass too short

Scalping your lawn can easily result in bare patches which are inviting to insects. Avoid cutting the grass too short to avoid mowing it less. Instead cut the grass to different heights through the year. Ideally the lawn should be cut a little high to prevent water from evaporating easily. In the winter, the grass should be cut short to allow for optimal sunlight penetration.

14. Failing to use right-sized pots

It is recommended to plant in large pots to allow plants ample room to grow. But refrain from planting in pots that are simply too big; it can sink down, shift, dry out too quicklyor get too much water. When re-potting plants, be sure to leave them ample time to get acclimated to the new pot before re-potting.

15. Using themes that are not family friendly

Do not get carried away with your theme. Consider who will be using the yard and how they would like it to look. While a rock garden may look pretty, it may not be the best thing for a family with growing children.

16. Failing to account for wildlife

When selecting plants for your yard, take the pests you have into consideration. For example, deer are attracted to beautiful flowering plants, so it may be good to inter-plant them with a few bitter tasting ones to discourage them. If your neighborhood has wild rabbits, then it may be necessary to build a small fence to protect your garden.

17. Forgetting to repaint

Maintain the look of your house and other hardscape is just as important as designing and maintaining your garden. Ensure that you touch up the paint of your house whenever it starts looking drab.

18. Not putting neighboring felines into consideration

Do you have cats in your neighborhood? Don’t forget that they like turning yards into litter boxes and that certain plants tend to attract those felines while others repel them. To avoid creating an outdoor hangout for all the felines in your area, ensure that you limit the number of cat friendly plants in your yard and make the soil hard for them to dig and uncomfortable to walk on.

19 Uninviting bench

People use yard and garden benches to add a friendly and welcoming touch to their homes. It is therefore important to ensure that you choose a comfortable bench for this purpose. Hard, stiff benches will take away that welcoming feel from your home.

20. Forgetting to recycle

A significant amount of waste is produced in yard projects yet not many people take advantage of the opportunity to recycle. Instead of throwing away clippings, branches and other debris, look for eco-friendly ways of disposing them. You can turn the waste into mulch using a shredder and put the clipping back into the lawn as fertilizer. Alternatively, you can create a compost pile or use a compost container.

About the Author

Ethan Hampton is a blogger and writer. He likes blogging about business, health and legal issues.