Outdoor spaces are great for building beautiful landscapes that you can enjoy for years. However, landscaping can be a difficult and lengthy process, for amateurs and landscaping professionals alike. Below are some common landscaping mistakes that can turn your outdoor getaway into a nightmare, and some tips on how to avoid them.
Putting Plants in the Wrong Spot
Plant placement is a key element of landscaping design and function. Placing plants like trees and bushes too close to your home can cause wilting due to heat, may cause dead spots, and can even erode paint. Additionally, placing plants in too little sunlight or suboptimal soil can be detrimental to plant health and growth. Landscaping technology, such as planning software, and even augmented reality devices, can help you visualize the space and avoid this landscaping design mistake.
Cutting Grass Too Short
When you cut your grass too short, your lawn can become more susceptible to weeds, heat damage, and may suffer stunted growth. If you cut your grass too short, the crown of the grass plant — where the roots of the grass and the blades meet — can be damaged by the mower.
If a lawn is suffering widespread crown damage, the energy of the plant is used for repairing the crowns, allowing weeds to grow more freely without nutrients to put toward the lawn’s natural defenses. The crown of the grass plant is also responsible for growing new shoots, meaning that crown damage can stunt grass growth and increase the appearance of brown spots. Many lawn care websites say that the ideal height for healthy grass is two-and-a-half to three inches.
Not Having a Landscaping Plan
Having a landscaping plan before you start work is incredibly important, for both professionals and homeowners doing their own DIY. Both professionals and homeowners can benefit from making a landscaping plan, as smart scheduling and organized billing can expedite the time spent on the project. Your landscaping plan should include design elements as well as practical details, such as your budget and information about the soil type and hardiness zone.
Not Pruning the Plants
Irregular or non-existent pruning can be a common landscaping problem area. Pruning may seem like an aesthetic choice, however, regular pruning can have many benefits to your plants’ health. Pruning can encourage new plant growth, which can improve the lifespan of your plants. The seasonal pruning of trees can also decrease the risk of falling limbs, and improve the quality and annual yield of fruits and flowers.
Planning Without a Budget
Landscaping can be more expensive than you might think. This is why it’s smart to decide how much you’re willing to spend, or the scale of projects you are willing to bid on, so you can tailor your ideas to your budget, or vice versa. Pricing estimations can help you budget for materials, lawn care tools, and even the cost of hiring employees. These estimations can help inform your budget, and the possibilities available to you.
Neglecting a Section of the Yard
To get the most out of your landscaping experience, you’ll want to make sure that you or your client’s landscaping plan includes the entire yard. Leaving out spaces can be tempting for practical or monetary reasons, but the visual difference between your spaces may leave you feeling unsatisfied with the whole.
Neglecting the Irrigation System
Your irrigation system is an integral part of your landscaping architecture. There are several types of irrigation, however, sprinklers are the most common for lawns. Outdoor sprinkler systems can be particularly susceptible to age, weather damage, and accidental damage caused by dogs, lawnmowers, or other outside activities. When you’re landscaping, it’s prudent to look at the current irrigation system for signs of damage. Poor irrigation can cause root rot for many plants, as well as increase pest breeding areas.
Creating a Non-Functional Design
Your lifestyle should factor into your landscaping priorities. If you have kids, pets, or outdoor hobbies, you want to make sure you’re not creating a space that will present obstacles to your daily routine. It’s important to note that a non-functional design isn’t just a space that is too small or too big, but one that can also pose dangers — such as choking hazards for small children, or plants that are poisonous to pets.
Climate is a huge factor to take into account when designing your landscape. You want to make sure that any plants and landscaping architecture that you install into your space can withstand the weather in your area. This could mean planting tropical plants in humid, southern climes, or learning how to winter-prep your lawn. Trees are a great, decorative, weather-friendly option, as they’re often hardy enough to survive cold winters and provide cooling shade in the summer.
Creating Designs That are Difficult to Maintain
If you have an elaborate landscaping design, it’s important to make sure that design is something you, or your client, can maintain in the long run. Plants can be high maintenance, requiring time and specific care. If you’re someone who travels often or who keeps a busy schedule, then having a lot of potted flowering plants that may require daily watering may not be for you. If you don’t like to rake leaves, you may want to limit the number of deciduous trees — these are trees that drop leaves — that you plant; instead, stick to evergreens. Upkeep, just like your budget and space functionality, should all factor into your landscaping plan.
Underestimating the Importance of Good Outdoor Design
Just like with interior design, having a good sense of how to decorate your outdoor space can improve your satisfaction with the space. Adding design elements, such as outdoor accessories, pops of color, and symmetrical patterns or designs can better your mental health by decreasing stress and improving your mood.