Solutions to the 9 Biggest Landscaping Mistakes
Read on to find out how you can avoid the most common landscaping blunders, as well as how to fix the ones that may already be happening in your yard.
Mistake: Neglecting Curb Appeal
While a lot of homeowners spend all their time and energy on the back yard, the front of the house is where first impressions are made. Do not underestimate the power of curb appeal.
Instead, try these three simple improvements: Paint your door a contrasting color than the rest of your home, keep the grass green and trimmed, and plant colorful flowers.
Mistake: Excessive Lawn Clutter
Decorative lawn items can be cute, but people often go overboard and add too many which actually distracts from the beauty of the natural landscape.
As a solution, be selective! Before adding more yard decor, ask yourself why you want it there and how it fits into the context of your overall design. Try to stick with one choice rather than multiple — one whimsical statement goes a lot further than a dozen.
Mistake: Not Recycling Yard Waste
Yard projects often produce a significant amount of scraps. By not recycling, you’re losing out on some major benefits and letting those scraps go to waste.
So what’s the solution? Composting! Instead of throwing away those branches, clippings and other debris, use them in an eco-friendly way. You can shred the branches and turn them into mulch, and put the lawn clippings back on the lawn as fertilizer. Or better yet, you can create a compost pile or compost bin. By layering yard waste and food scraps, you’ll have rich fertilizer in no time — and it won’t cost you a dime!
Mistake: Improper Plant Placement
Plants need specific conditions to thrive, like certain levels of sunlight exposure and spacing requirements. People often do not take this into consideration when placing plants in their yard.
This is easily avoidable by reading the plant tag when you purchase plants. If you are given plants and there is no tag, go online and research the plant’s ideal conditions. As far as trees go, remember how big they could get and how much space they are going to need.
Mistake: Leaving Tools Out in the Elements
Tools can cost a pretty penny, so avoid leaving them out in the weather to get rusted, dulled and ruined. Rusty shears make uneven, dull cuts that can harm even healthy plants.
Instead, consider creating a dedicated storage spot for all your garden tools. Whether it’s an organized corner of your garage or a standalone garden shed, keeping those tools indoors and protected will give them prolonged usefulness and a longer life.
Mistake: Planting too Deeply
Planting a tree too far into the ground is actually one of the quickest ways to kill it. Although some think that putting more soil around the tree is better, doing so can actually choke the tree to death by cutting off oxygen to the root system. Planting too deeply can also encourage root rot.
The correct way to plant a tree is by looking at the main stem, locating the largest branch and then where all of the “tentacles” come out. That is the root ball, and is the depth you want to match when digging the hole. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to dig to the actual height of the container in which the plant came.
Mistake: Not Planning for Pets
Most pets, especially dogs, are going to spend some time outside — especially if that’s where you’re going to be spending time! It’s important to take this into consideration when planning your yard. There are some common plants that may be harmful or even poisonous to your little furry friend.
The solution? Develop a pet-friendly garden. Research to find common landscape plants to avoid, and plan accordingly.
Mistake: Overusing Pesticides
Despite what many newbie gardeners may think, a regular dousing of pesticide is not necessary to keep bugs away and promote healthy plants. In fact, even a little bit can be disastrous. Pesticides are basically poison and can wipe out beneficial bugs, like bees, moths and butterflies, in addition to the pests you’re hoping to target. There’s also a good chance pesticides will ultimately end up in the food you eat.
Mistake: Cutting Grass Too Short
Have you heard the common myth that cutting the grass shorter means you have to mow it less? Not only is that not the case, you can do more harm than good cutting your lawn too short — including creating bare patches that invite insects and make the lawn susceptible to disease.
Instead, try cutting the lawn different lengths throughout the year. During the summer months, let the grass grow out a little bit to give the lawn more shade. This will also help water not evaporate so quickly. Then in the winter, cut it a little bit shorter so that sunlight can reach the soil.