12 Landscaping Errors to Avoid - Backyard Boss
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12 Landscaping Errors to Avoid

Landscaping is one of the most exciting activities when it comes to home projects. The exterior of your home makes such a big difference to the aesthetic of your living space.

Have you ever heard of curb appeal? If not, it is a general attractiveness of your property that is seen from the sidewalk. That’s why your landscape has a huge effect on the curb appeal of your entire home.

So whether you’re getting ready to sell your house, or just updating your landscape, make sure to avoid these 12 mistakes for the best results.

1. Not Planning

As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. While this may be a little dramatic, the idea is important. Having a plan from the start will keep the whole project on track. It helps keep everyone on the same page, and it could also bring some design issues to light that would have been a major problem later on.

If you’re so inclined, use one of the best free landscape design software tools to visualize your plan. Plus, it’s exciting, so don’t skimp on the planning.

2. Plan For Time

Many plants bloom in spring and summer. This is normally when most people’s yards look amazing, which is great.

However, when you’re choosing your plants, consider adding in species that bloom at different times of the year. That way, you’ll always have something in bloom in your yard year-round.

3. Plan For Size

When choosing the plants in your landscape, plan the spacing for the mature size of the plants. If you don’t like the bare spots in your yard, plant fast-growing annuals to fill the space for now.

4. Forgetting About Drainage

Insufficient drainage will ruin your landscape in short order during the next catastrophic rain event. Even if you live in the desert, you should design proper drainage into your yard.

You want the water to have the opportunity to drain away from any buildings towards a place where it can drain away or be stored for later use. If you have a low spot in your yard, you might consider raising it to encourage runoff. Alternatively, you could turn that area into a garden pond.

5. Making Your Patio/Deck Too Small

If you’re going to build a patio or deck, you want people to use it. An essential factor to consider is the size of the space. As a rule of thumb, consider 6 feet in width to be the absolute minimum.

It will provide enough space for some chairs and maybe even a small table, with circulation space around the furniture. If you can go bigger, do it. Nothing results in an unused deck more often than insufficient space.

6. Not Considering The Edges

Consider public gathering places, like parks or city squares. Some of these will be filled with people and activity. Others will be barren and abandoned, a waste of space.

Without going into too much detail about the psychology behind it (hint: it has to do with survival instincts), open spaces need welcoming edges to define them. A low wall, a hedge, or a nook to sit in. We essentially need something to put our back against, with an expansive view over an open area in front of us to feel comfortable.

7. Straight Paths

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But that’s no reason to have dead straight paths in your landscape. It can make the area feel sterile and uninviting.

Consider adding a curve, or multiple curves, to your paths. It invites a more natural meandering as you move through the area. It provides opportunities for little nooks and corners to be discovered as one meanders through the yard.

8. Planting The Wrong Trees

When it comes to choosing the trees you want to plant, it’s easy to get fixated on one species which may lead to you planting the wrong tree in the wrong spot.

For example, any tree of the Ficus species should be planted far, far away from any structures. That includes anything with a foundation, as well as pools. The reason is that Ficus trees have very invasive root systems, capable of lifting foundations and driveways and puncturing pools.

9. Start Small

When it comes to planting out your landscape, you can save a bunch of money by planting small seedlings as opposed to more mature plants. Next time you’re at your local garden center, compare the prices between seedlings and mature plants of the same species. Quite a difference, right?

The good news is that plants grow. So within a year or two, that space will be filled with your plants as they become established. Starting with younger plants also gives them a better chance at adapting to your specific microclimate early on, giving them a better chance at a long and fruitful life.

10. Leave Enough Space

It’s tempting to try and fill up all those bare spots in your landscape from the beginning. It might give you satisfaction at the beginning, but it’s a sure recipe to have an overcrowded garden that needs an overhaul sooner than usual.

Pay attention to the spacing requirements of each plant and stick to them. Also, remember this when it comes to pathways. Garden pathways generally shrink over time but make sure this doesn’t hinder access later on.

11. Plan For Maintenance

This one goes hand in hand with the point above. Do you often need to navigate a wheelbarrow through your yard? Make sure your paths are wide enough. What about a lawnmower? Do you have a walk-behind mower or a ride-on mower? These are all things to think about during the planning phase so that you can avoid frustration later.

12. Pay Attention To Foliage

Flowers get all the attention. And what’s not to love? They’re beautiful, they smell great, and our awesome pollinator friends love them. The problem is that they usually only show up once a year for a short amount of time. When your plants aren’t flowering, which is most of the time, you’ll be looking at the leaves.

You can use contrasting leaves to great effect when it comes to decorating a landscape. Pay attention to the shape, color, and reflective qualities of the leaves in your planning phase.

Last Word

By considering the above points in the planning phase of your landscaping project you’re setting yourself up for success. The most important thing is to know how the different plants will develop over time. It might look sparse and a bit bares to start with, but after a year or two, everything will fill out and look lovely.

Another crucial thing to get right from the beginning is matching your landscape to your lifestyle. No use installing an outdoor barbecue if you never actually barbecue.