Landscaping can increase the resale value of your home by as much as 14%. Even if you aren’t planning on selling your house, creating a beautiful garden is a gift that keeps on giving.
But if you thought landscaping was easy, you’re in for a surprise. Plants have a mind of their own, and without proper knowledge, you’ll soon find yourself knee-deep in manure without a shovel.
To keep you out of trouble, we’ve created a list of 8 common landscaping mistakes and how to avoid them. These tips will be the first step towards earning your green thumb!
1. Plant With a Plan
Starting a new gardening project can be so exciting that many people rush into it without planning. Don’t start digging up flowerbeds or scattering seeds until you have finalized your ideal garden layout. Think carefully about your plants’ colors and sizes, and of course, your budget for landscaping.
Once you have finalized your plan, wait until the last frosts have thawed before planting anything. If you put your new plants in the ground before the last of the cold weather, they’re unlikely to survive.
2. Do Your Research
It’s important to research each new plant before placing it in your garden. That pretty little bushel of flowers you’ve bought might grow to be three times its original size, dwarfing all the plants around it.
Be careful not to buy invasive plants. These can quickly spread around your garden, smothering other plants or robbing them of nutrients.
Some plants may not like your garden’s growing conditions or the climate where you live. Too much or too little sun, or the wrong type of soil, might make the plant wilt and die no matter where you place it in your yard.
Check out this handy plant database to help you with your research.
3. Treat Your Soil
Some people are lucky enough to live in an area with nutrient-rich soil that plants thrive in. Unfortunately, the rest of us have to battle with clay, sandy, or chalky soil.
Mix compost and topsoil into your existing soil to give your plants the best chance of survival. Ideally, this should be done when creating a new flowerbed. If you want to treat the soil in an existing garden bed, pour the compost and topsoil between the plants and then turn the soil to mix it in.
4. Layer Your Garden
When you visit professionally landscaped gardens, you’ll notice that plants are often grouped according to their height and color. This leads your eye around the garden and celebrates each type of plant.
There is no reason you can’t apply this logic to your front yard and backyard. Plant at least 3 of the same variety of flowers in one location, then place a completely different variety of plant next to it. Repeat groupings of the same types of plants or colors of flowers in different garden parts to tie these areas together.
Break up these groupings with shrubs and trees to introduce different textures.
Alternatively, take the weight off of your shoulders by hiring landscaping companies to design your dream garden! Visit Franzwitte.com to see how they can create the perfect landscaping plan for your garden!
5. Avoid a Fertilizing Frenzy
We all dream of a lush green lawn and garden beds bursting with vibrant flowers. Unfortunately, in our well-meaning efforts to provide our plants with enough nutrients, we can literally spoil them rotten.
Fertilizing your garden is trickier than it seems. Too much fertilizer can damage roots and discolor your plant’s leaves. This is often referred to as fertilizer burn as your plants often look charred and wilted.
A common sign of over-fertilization in the formation of a white crust on the surface of your soil.
If you notice this crust or the burn-like damage to your plants, flood your garden with water. This will wash the fertilizer deep into the soil below the plant roots. Be careful not to create standing puddles of water that will drown your plants.
6. Don’t Scalp Your Grass
Moving the lawn is like getting a haircut, right? You cut it nice and short so that it takes longer to grow out again.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. If you cut your grass too short, often referred to as scalping, it stresses the grass and can cause it to die off. Short grass is also more prone to heat damage and weed infestations.
According to this grass-cutting guide, the ideal length for your grass is 2 ½ inches. If in doubt, place your lawnmower blades on the highest setting to avoid scalping your grass.
7. Trim Those Hedges
Hedges are a great way to section off portions of your garden without detracting from the greenery.
Left to their own devices, hedges will soon become wild and overgrown. A healthy hedge can grow above head height in the blink of an eye. You’ll need to trim your hedges often to stop them from growing out of control.
You should also keep a close eye out for weeds and other plants growing up through your hedges. Seeds often fall through hedges and germinate in the soil underneath.
8. Schedule Your Pruning
Annual pruning is necessary to keep your garden looking neat and well-cared for. If you are pruning to remove dead or diseased parts of a plant, you can do this at any time. If you are pruning to promote growth and keep plants looking neat, you should wait until late winter or early spring.
You have a small window of time to get this right. Basically, you’re waiting until after your plants wake up after being dormant in winter, but before they start to develop any new growth. If you prune them once they’ve started growing, you’ll be removing the buds that produce flowers.
The worst time to prune your plants in the fall. The open cuts from the pruning leave your plants more susceptible to the cold.
Pruning stimulates growth, but plants are preparing to become dormant in fall, not to grow. Pruning them too close to fall can overwhelm your plants and send them into shock.
Now You Can Avoid These Common Landscaping Mistakes
Gardens are constantly growing and evolving, which makes maintaining them a full-time job! While we can’t stop weeds from creeping into your garden, we can help you avoid these common landscaping mistakes.
All your hard work will pay off when your garden turns into a riot of colorful flowers and lush greenery.
Head over to the rest of our blog to find more wonderful tips and tricks to help you around the house!