Steer Clear of These 7 Landscape Design Blunders

Tue Jul 14 2015 | off-topic | sod

A carefully designed and well-maintained yard will impress your neighbors and guests. Maintenance comes down to dedication-as long as you don't forget about your yard, landscaping upkeep is straightforward. But poor landscaping design might result in all of your dedication and work falling short.

Read below to learn about 7 common landscaping blunders to avoid in your own yard.

Blunder #1 - Going Forward Without a Plan

If you're taking the time to read this blog, you probably won't make this common mistake. But we thought we would include it just in case. Many DIY landscapers get excited about their plants and materials, but fail to consider how all those elements will fit together.

Sketching out a landscape design will help you balance out the vegetation around your yard, and will ensure that you highlight key areas or hide the parts of your home that you don't want to display. If you don't trust your artistic talent, carefully walk through your yard and take detailed notes about what you need.

###Blunder #2 - Plants Too Close to Home

You want to make efficient use of space in your yard, but some homeowners take this principle too far and place shrubs and trees right up against their home. If you do this, those plants will look unattractive and overcrowded once they mature. In addition to the visual conflict, overcrowded plants will cause functional issues with your home, such as blocked air vents.

Keep the mature height of your trees and bushes in mind when you plant them near your home. Make sure that each plant will end up at least half of its mature width away from your house. For instance, the edge of a mature, four-foot-wide shrub should not get any closer than two feet from your walls.

Blunder #3 - Crowded Plants

This one is an easy mistake to make. You live in a world where you can snap a picture on your iPhone and send it to a friend almost instantly. Even though you might want to have your perfect landscape just as quickly, you will regret it in the long run.

Just as we suggested in the last step, you need to think about the mature size of your plants as you plan. If not, your plants will crowd each other out and compete for attention or even survival. Crowded plants result in endless pruning that could have been avoided with more patient planning.

You can also buy more mature plants to begin with, but it will cost you.

Blunder #4 - Planting for Only One Season

Sure, the beautiful bloom in the late spring and early summer is nice. But you don't want to neglect your yard's appearance for the rest of the year. You'll see your yard in all four seasons, and with varied plant choices, you can keep your landscape beautiful and visually interesting.

Planning for autumn and winter takes a little more effort, but the results will be worth it. Include shrubs and trees that will change color in the fall.

Evergreens will spruce up your yard once other plants die out-just make sure to buy an evergreen that's well-adapted to California weather.

Blunder #5 - Forgetting About Irrigation

Due to California's water situation, you want to make sure that you use responsible, efficient irrigation techniques to keep your plants healthy.

Some homeowners install irrigation almost as an afterthought, which results in less-efficient watering and more work.

Certain water-saving devices could net you a rebate from your county. Rotary sprinkler nozzles, climate-based controllers, and drip systems all save water and could save you money in the long run.

Blunder #6 - Putting Form Over Function

Don't forget to consider your yard's function. You might feel content with simply sitting on a lawn chair and looking at a field of flowers and trees, but will your kids and your pets feel the same?

Intelligent landscaping caters to the functional needs of your yard. Trees can add privacy to your home. Retaining walls or lines of shrubs can contain and direct pets. A wide-open lawn in your backyard will invite hours of playtime. Plan your yard to look beautiful and serve its purpose.

Blunder #7 - Neglecting Your Lawn

Sometimes homeowners will pour all their effort into flowers, bushes, and trees, only to forget about their lawn's upkeep. Patchy or dying grass will detract from all your other landscaping details.

Use seed or sod to fill any holes in your lawn, or lay some new sod if your lawn needs an entire makeover. Choose the right type of grass to fit both the climate as well as the function of your lawn. Your lawn's color will feature heavily in your landscape's color scheme, so don't forget to take lawn color into account.

Remember these blunders as you head into your landscaping project, and don't make the same mistakes. A carefully planned and well-maintained yard adds so much value to a home. If you feel you need help with either planning or maintaining your yard, talk to a landscaping professional.

And if you need some grass seed or sod to get started, speak with a sod expert.