Seeing that plain space on your front yard, you may want to give it a bit of your touch here and there, but wait. If you’re a novice or you have no prior experience with front yard landscaping, then I’d suggest leaving that space as is for the mean time. You should know some of the things to avoid when landscaping. Though these mistakes aren’t going to transform your yard into a wasteland, they can still make or break your landscape design.
So, before getting your hands dirty, take time to check this list, and know what to avoid. This article is meant for those homeowners who don’t think of themselves as experts in landscaping, but I assume you’ve had a bit of experience in gardening. If not, you better check out another article about starting a garden from scratch – essentially the basics of gardening, the dos and don’ts.
Blunder No. 1: Your house foundation is not the ideal place for plants that can immediately outgrow their allotted space.
Researching is the key to preventing this. Before picking which foundation plants to use, make sure to inspect the full-grown dimensions of those plants. It’s a preemptive measure to avoid disappointment that the shrub you liked so much at its early stages is going to be an annoyance later on because it’s going to keep outgrowing its allowed space, you will also have to keep on trimming it.
You should also consider the matured height and width of the plant. Taking these into account, dwarf trees and columnar shrubs are good choices for you to start of with.
Blunder No. 2: Choose ground covers that efficiently work.
Of course, you will not want weeds to populate your ground, this is what you need the ground covers for. Ground covers, as their name suggest, must remain low and cover the ground of your landscape instead of weeds. Weeds grow fast and will take any space that is available for them so it’s best you install a ground cover that will outspread and outgrow the weeds. But take note that some ground covers can become nuisance later on; the english ivy and some ground covers can flourish under the shade and can possibly get out of hand sometimes.
Blunder No. 3: Deciding which mulch to use and how to use it – wisely.
Mulch is the protective covering to lessen evaporation and soil erosion in your plants, and the improper choice and use of mulch can cause troubles like damage to plants and giving you extra labor. The decisions involving mulch are rather complex than they may appear.
Some mulch can be a perfect fit with many plants but may not be with others. Other mulch like the one that has small stones, use of it should be avoided if you don’t plan on maintaining it for a long period because the stones eventually end up shoving their way down the soil; when you want to remove them, you’re in for some hard work. Other mulch choices can also cause sheer harm to your plants. Though mulch can help your perennials survive winter, you will have to know when to take out the mulch in spring.
Blunder No. 4: The arrangement of plants isn’t optimized for display; epic fail.
Well, it’s true this depends on your preferences but there are fundamentals when it comes to front yard landscaping. And whether your landscape gives you a good time or a bad time is kind of at stake so you can’t just brush this aside. It’s important.
For instance, it is better to plant in groups than planting a random assortment of plants here and there. This is often pronounced by landscape designers. Grouping similar plants together will be a better hit than planting them in solitude – in this case, no plant is an island.
Not just the grouping, timing also plays a big role. For flowering plants, one must consider when their flowers are going to bloom. Say you have grouped together plant A and plant B; while plant A is in bloom, plant B’s flowers are already wilted – bad placement and awful timing. You should group them in such a way that they will complement each other.
Another thing to consider is that sunshine can definitely enhance the look of your landscape. Think about this: Will this plant look great when the sunshine is behind it or in front of it? Where will you be viewing the plant from? What time of the day will you usually view the plant? And position the plant according to your answers.
Blunder No. 5: Pruning a plant without knowing when to best prune it.
You should not prune your shrubs without prior research. Yes, running around pruning your shrubs so they look well-maintained is not a bad idea unless it can affect the plant in some negative way like stopping them from blooming. Some flowering shrubs may not be able to bloom because you have been whimsically using your pruning shears on them without knowing the appropriate time to prune them.
Blunder No. 6: The lawn and mishandling it
These are the common errors involving the lawn:
– Your lawn is too wide from the start.
Not everyone enjoys mowing the lawn, especially if it’s one big lawn. It’s tiring and time consuming. If you’re more interested in planting shrubs than praising the green grass, you may opt to get rid of some grass and use it for shrubs.
– Mowing could have been more convenient had you installed a mowing strip.
Mowing strips cast aside the necessity to string trim the grasses which the mower blade wasn’t able to cut; and thus less work for you.
– You just made mowing tedious (if it isn’t tedious for already) because you placed planting circles on your lawn.
If you find mowing around planting circles to be extra work, then consider merging those circles into few larger beds.
Blunder No. 7: Landscaping the driveway and forgetting about winter
Seasonal changes must never be forgotten. During winter, the shrubs you added alongside your driveway can be buried in snow. Shrubs that are planted too near to the driveway can get damaged when the snow is plowed. If you prefer shoveling the snow, shrubs are going to be in your way when tossing away the snow, and sometimes you can bury them under the snow ending with shrubs missing their value in your winter landscape. You may still add shrubs to your driveway; but don’t you think they’d be better off somewhere else?
Blunder No.8: Trees that make mess.
You may feel like you are a nature lover when you have trees in your yard, but soon enough you may realize that they leave litter in the landscape.
However, different trees have their own level of messiness.The Sunburst Honey Locust is a comparatively less messy tree because of its small leaves that aren’t really that obvious when they drop on the ground. On the other hand, these are likely some of the messiest trees namely the Ginkgo Biloba, Sweetgum and Pine. Ginkgo Biloba can get really messy particularly the female one due to its fruits, males are no different because of their leaves; Sweetgums are also messy because of their fruits so you should plant non-fruiting ones; and Pine trees like the Eastern White Pine is really messy because of its pine cones, the sticky pine pitch that can drop on anything under it.
If you still want trees but don’t want the mess, you can settle for dwarf pine trees which are quite clean. Other than that, artificial trees can also come handy, they’re simply mess-free.
Blunder No. 9: Overrating your abilities
Yes, most of us will want to go hands-on with our front yard landscaping designs but it is necessary to know the limitations of our current capabilities. One must evaluate his or her abilities realistically when dealing with front yard landscaping projects specifically the hard ones. There are times when it’s better to leave things to a pro than doing it yourself, and end up with bad results. Your landscape may end up looking terrible, and you might even get injured in the process.
If your landscape needs an image change yet your DIYs are not up to the task, then call the professionals. They are not called professionals just because.
Blunder No. 10: Purchasing a property without knowing how it will affect landscaping
Your property’s location, zoning laws and your NEIGHBORS, etc. will have an effect to landscaping; it’s either of the two: advantageous or disadvantageous. For an instance, you bought a property located on the side of a hill. Such a location will present a plenitude of challenges you must face. So before buying a property, you’ll have to think about what consequences it will have; an unwise decision can break your hope of realizing your dream landscape.