Monday, June 28, 2010

Common Mistakes In the Landscape

 

Plan to Avoid Mistakes 

Too often I have had to undo, redo, or constantly maintain a section of the landscape simply because I did not follow some practical advice.  So let me share with you a few mistakes I've made. Live and Learn!

Mistake 1 - NO PLAN   Keep is simple and pace yourself.  I got ahead of myself several times by thinking too large.  Your yard is yours.  What do you need?  What do you want? What entertaining do you do?  Do the kids need room to play soccer?  Do you need storage for tools.  As these uses become clear, THEN you can start. 

Mistake 2 - TOO MUCH LAWN  As a landscape feature lawns suck resources.  Lawns use 30% of treated water.  Shallow roots do little to stop erosion.  Lawns absorb only 10% of rainfall.  The average homeowner spend 40 hours a year on mowing and trimming his yard.  And an acre of turf costs that homeowner $400 -$700 a year. 

Mistake 3 - NOT PROPORTIONED  When we moved into our current home, we could not get into the front door unless we backed into a four foot high yew.  The front of the house was buried behind taxis so high that we could not tell we had a brick home.

Mistake 4 - TREES TOO CLOSE TO HOUSE  We have an 'L' shaped entry to the front door.  I told a landscape designer that I wanted a 'dwarf' weeping cherry tree.  Needless to say, I didn't get a 'dwarf' but a full size weeping cherry.  In a few short years, the tree was hanging off the gutters, rubbing the roof, and made a very dense screen from my kitchen window to the front yard.  Remember, plants grow!


Mistake 5 - IVY  Never let ivy grow up frame houses.  Moisture and insects can ruin clapboard siding.  Even on brick or stone facades, ivy can cover windows, and attach to gutters.  Yearly pruning is a must.


Mistake 6 - ONE DIMENSION  Plantings should be layered. Put tall plants to the rear, then shorter ones closer in front.  One dimensional planting are boring, have no rhythm, no flow.  Since curb appeal has a monetary value,  this kind of mistake can cost you money.


This small, but well proportioned bed is very appealing.

Mistake 7 - TOO MUCH   When I first started this garden, I collected plants.  If I didn't have it, I got it.  A little bit of this, a little bit of that.  Each trip to the garden center rendered a new plant, a different color, a new variety.... and very soon we had chaos.  Nothing went together.  No patterns, no groups, no pleasing views.  We had color overload. And nowhere for the eye to rest. 




The remedy is to group plants.  Mass plantings are visually pleasing and use fewer varieties rather than more. 




The photo on the left is showing a planting featured by Home Depot.  HGTV provided the photo of the caladiums and bench.  The mass planting of one type of plant is easy on the eye.

One other feature I have to caution all of us.  Less is more.  Keep accessories, statues and art objects to a minimum.




Mistakes can make gardening chores overwhelming with constant pruning and transplanting.
Mistakes can limit the use of the space.  And unless you have very deep pockets, the money these mistakes could cost you is huge.. 







Unity, and order will bring about that peaceful, appealing area you want in your yard.







Thanks for visiting today.  Let me know about a mishap from which you learned.  


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