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Ten Landscape Mistakes to Avoid

Mistakes. Who says we don’t make them? In landscaping, as with all things in life, we sometimes overlook an important step or decide with wrong or lacking information. Mistakes in landscaping may still be corrected. But this may mean extra money, time, and effort.

The best thing is to avoid making landscaping mistakes. How? By learning from other people’s mistakes and listening to expert advice. Here are some mistakes that Utah’s best landscaping company say you should avoid:

–  Mistake #1: Starting the project without a plan. Always have a plan so that you can visualize the kind of style or look you are going for. The plan also makes it easier to identify the steps you need to make and how much budget you can allocate to the project. To draw the plan, decide on what Utah shrubs, trees and plants you want, where you want to place them, what kind of arrangements you will use and what landscape accessories you want to add. Consider how all these elements complement the overall look of the house and its grounds. A plan is also a good deterrent for impulse buying. Without it, you may falling into the temptation of buying plants and ornaments on impulse and discovering later on that you don’t know where to put them.

–  Mistake #2: Not considering the future growth potential/movement of the plant. That fir tree may look like the perfect frame for your doorway now. But you must ask, “How about 5 or so years from now, when the tree is fully grown?” It may overpower rather than frame. As a general rule, avoid planting trees that can grow higher than 15 to 20 feet near the house. Better yet, if you’re in an area that is prone to forest fires, avoid planting trees near the house. The size of the plants also affects the amount of sunlight that comes into your home. If you want more sunlight, choose small shrubs or flowers. If it is shade you want, tall trees or full bushes can provide you with the “sun cover” you want.

–  Mistake #3: Buying plants just because of its appearance. Don’t choose plants just because of how it looks! Of course, appearance is an important consideration but you should also look into the properties of each plant (whether they are indigenous and have been known to thrive in your area, the level of maintenance required, how much water you will need and how much sun and shade is required). If you are thinking of combining different plants, check to see how well these plants “work” together. Group plants that have the similar requirements when it comes to the soil and the amount of water and sunlight.

–  Mistake #4: Putting the right plant in the wrong place. Misplaced plants can actually damage your home and other structures. Here are some examples:

  • Wrong use of vines. For instance, vines placed near the house can crawl along the walls, get into gaps and weaken the walls. They can also block the gutters so that the roofing is more susceptible to damage. Generally, vines should not be allowed to grow higher than what your ladder can reach.
  • Placing water-loving plants near water infrastructure. Water-loving trees planted too near the house can compromise the foundation of the structure. The roots can also get into leach fields, septic tanks and the sewer. These roots can even penetrate water pipes to get to the water. Planting on the wrong place may also mean planting on a steep area in the landscape.
  • Planting on a slope. If your landscape features a steep slope, consider installing a Utah retaining wall first to prevent topsoil erosion, especially during the rainy season. This will help make sure that plants placed in that area can thrive.

–  Mistake #5: Going overboard with plants and landscape ornaments. Putting in too much can overwhelm and make the landscape look and feel “busy”, but not in a pleasant way. If you have limited space, decide on one or two focal points of the landscape – these are areas that draw the eye and make a statement. If you have a wider space, you can work with more. Also, overplanting is not healthy for the plants. The soil can only accommodate so many plants given the nutrients and space available. Too many ornaments will also prevent the sun and water from getting to some areas of the lawn.

–  Mistake #6: Wrong or no irrigation systems in place. Irrigation mistakes can go both ways – you can water the plants too much or you may miss out on the chore of watering the plants regularly. If it is within your budget, consider installing an automatic irrigation system that is designed to provide your plants with just the right amount of water they need at the right times.

–  Mistake #7: Foregoing functionality for beauty. Don’t focus only on beauty. Design your landscape to be functional as well. A Japanese rock garden may sound like a good idea, but it will not be friendly to children or pets. How are service areas accessed? Would you like to allocate a space where children and pets can play?

–  Mistake #8:  Forgetting about the seasons. Ask, “How will summer’s heat affect the growth of my plants? “How will my garden look during the winter? Or the fall?” There are trees and shrubs that add enough visual interest during the fall and winter. Don’t plan your landscape solely for spring or summer.

–  Mistake #9: Improper planting and maintenance practices. These practices include:

  • Using too much fertilizer or using the wrong fertilizer.
  • Putting the plant too deeply into the ground. Place the plant deeply enough for it to take root but not deep enough that the roots become susceptible to root rot.
  • Pruning improperly. Plants have different pruning requirements but generally, limit pruning to no more than 20 to 30% of the foliage.

–  Mistake #10: Going at it alone. Landscaping can look like a fun DIY project. But if you’re a first-timer or have little experience with plants, it’s best to work with a professional Utah landscaping company. It is so easy to overlook some details and end up needing a do over. Actually, the mistakes listed here can be easily avoided with an experienced and knowledgeable landscaping expert working with you.