Landscaping errors and how to correct them

Landscaping is intended to enhance the appearance of a home without overpowering it. Avoid these errors when choosing plantings for your landscape design project.

Planting In the Wrong Location

Error. Plants have sunlight level requirements from full sun to full shade that are stated on the nursery card attached to the plant. Placing a sun-loving flowering plant into a shady location can result in the plant not flowering. Placing a shade-loving plant into full sun can result in wilting or discoloration of the foliage.

Correction. Decide where you want to add plants to your landscape and then determine the sunlight level at each location. Use the plant label to identify the sunlight requirements. 

Improper Care

Errors. Shrubs like hydrangea produce buds in the summer from which flowers will emerge the following spring. Pruning the shrub at the wrong time can prevent the shrub from blooming the next season. In addition, you can kill flowers, shrubs or trees by over fertilizing, or over or under-watering them.

Corrections. If in doubt about fertilizing a plant, do not fertilize it at all.  Alternatively, spread leaf mold around the base of the plant to allow the decaying leaves to provide nutrients. Watering flowers and recently planted shrubs and trees, generally speaking, should occur every 10 to 14 days if it has not rained. Once trees and shrubs have been in the ground for one season, they should not need regular watering though shrubs can benefit from manual watering during drought conditions. Flowers will need continuing watering through the summer.

Size Matters

Errors. Selecting a shrub or tree that will grow to exceed the space where it was planted catches many of us. As the shrub or tree grows, it hides windows or protrudes into a walkway or entrance. In addition, air circulation and the flow of the landscape are impacted when closely set trees or shrubs merge as they grow.

Corrections. The nursery label will indicate the growth potential and how close together the trees and shrubs should be placed in the ground. Trees in particular need to be planted in a location where they can reach their maximum width potential with no obstruction, which may mean that there is no building or other tree within 20 or more feet. Shrubs planted in front of the house will need periodic pruning.

Too Much: Landscaping, Care, Expense

Errors. Too many or non-complimentary landscaping items negatively affect curb appeal. Forgetting or not finding the time to water, prune and tackle weeds can be the downfall of any landscape design project. 

Corrections. Stick to one theme such as a Japanese garden, cottage garden or tradition landscape design. Keep in mind when choosing landscaping items for your home that they will require some maintenance so interaction is needed on your part. You do not have to landscape the entire yard at one time. For instance, start with a few shrubs and a single tree, adding more plants in later years.