Updating your landscaping can be an enjoyable project. Whether you’re just considering a few changes, or completely revamping your area, you’ll find a large variety of ideas and things to chose from. If it’s a design element you want to borrow from a friend, something you found on Pinterest, or just have an idea of your own, it seems like you can’t really make a mistake—but you can. Before you spend any money or do any kind of digging, let’s look at five landscaping mistakes you can make (so you can avoid them.)
1. Ignore the front side of your property: “curb appeal” is a big deal! One of the biggest landscaping mistakes is avoiding the front side of your property. First impressions come from the front of your house, not the back. Don’t upgrade the back of your property at the expense of the front. Painting the front door a new color, trimming up the grass and other foliage, and adding healthy, colorful plants will make the outside of your home a much more visually appealing place. Weeding and other regular maintenance keeps your property looking its best year-round.
2. Too many ornaments: while the occasional physical decoration and garden gnome can decorate your property, too much can make it look like a junkyard. It’s like putting every piece of décor you own out in your living room, including all your holiday décor, all year around. You wouldn’t do that in your home, why over-do it in your front yard? Carefully chose one tasteful (or whimsical) statement piece that blends in and accentuates the natural landscape.
3. Improper fertilizing: spring and fall fertilization are ideal, and using the right product for your climate and soil is important. Adding too much, too little, or at the wrong time can be a recipe for ruining your hard work. Check with your local garden center for the proper fertilizer for your garden. Adding the fertilizer with soil when adding new plants will ensure that the plant has a good amount to draw from until the next application.
4. Consider the critters: animals like deer, raccoons, rabbits and other forest foragers love to nibble on your beautiful, colorful plants. Solution: plant the kind of foliage they hate. Plants with bitter tastes include French Marigolds, crape myrtle, foxglove, rosemary, some mints (in pots), fountain grass and the prickly yucca plants. Once they get a taste of some of these plants, they will likely steer clear of them. Wild rabbits can be deterred by chicken wire, a raised bed or by adding a small fence. (Poisons are never a good idea.)
5. Planning: What do you want to do with your property? Entertaining on the patio? A small garden? Consider your family situation, how much it will be used, and what you’d like it to look like, then sketch it on paper before buying or starting anything. Examine what your landscape looks like, or will look like, from all angles. It’s great if your curb appeal is a ten, but if you hate the view from your living room or dining room window, you’ll need to revise and reconfigure your plan. Have small children, or have them visit? A rock garden may not be the best idea. Research what kinds of plants you want, if they will live well in your climate, and what they need (shade, watering, etc.) Make sure your plants will look and work well together. Otherwise, they’ll be mismatched and look like you just didn’t care.
With a little thought and planning, your landscape can be the ideal space you’ve always imagined. Take your time, write down and sketch everything, and research plants, costs, and other variables. And don’t forget to avoid these five landscaping mistakes! Once you’ve finished, you’ll have an enviable landscape that will inspire others.