Landscaping is as critical as the construction of the house itself. Aside from not serving its intended purpose, a poorly designed landscape may leave your property looking unpleasant and can even cause other problems later.
If you plan to make your estate look one-in-a-million, one of the biggest mistakes you should avoid is hiring an unqualified landscaping service provider. Doing so will put you at a disadvantage right from the very beginning.
To make sure you do things right, here are the five most common mistakes in landscaping and what experienced professional landscaping contractors do to avoid them:
1. Lack of Careful Planning
Establishing a healthy and sustainable landscape for your property not only requires monetary investment but time and effort as well. This means you have to carefully plan the landscape according to various factors, including:
- Available space
- The climate
- Color patterns
- Water supply
- Potential threats from pests and wildlife
When coming up with a landscaping plan, you and your landscaper should talk about the plants and hardscapes to be used. This will help you ensure that all the elements of the landscape will work together in harmony.
Before finalizing the design, try to look at the big picture. Take a step back to give you a better perspective of the entire landscape. Determine how to make the area to be landscaped a unified part of your estate and imagine how it would look like when the work is done.
To make sure you don’t lack planning, work with your landscaper in starting a couple of flower beds. Then, gradually add features to the landscape in the course or several weeks or months. Don’t attempt to do them all at once.
Also, you should keep in mind the time when most landscapes look their best and use it to see how your property would look like at its prime when the work is done. This is usually during spring when most of the plants are blooming.
A well-balanced landscape considers color, texture, and size. This way, you can keep elements proportionate and within scale. This can also be used for matching the outdoor scape with indoor designs.
2. Putting Plants in the Wrong Places
One common rookie mistake that unqualified landscapers make is putting plants in the wrong places. Just because a flowering plant looks nice doesn’t mean it can be planted just anywhere – you have to consider its needs and growth as well.
Although enhancing the aesthetic is one function plants have in a landscape, it should not be the only thing taken into account in a good design. You must also make sure to pick the right place where to put them based on their specific needs.
For example, some plants require exposure to the morning sun, but not too much that they would wilt. In this case, you should put them along the eastern portion of the property where the sun’s rays hit first. Irrigation and the type of soil used should also be considered when deciding where to put plants in the layout.
Forget to take its needs into account, and you’ll find the plants not only failing to reach their full potential but also deteriorating very quickly. Plants like daylilies and irises, for instance, require plenty of light and water but don’t do great with mulch. Purple coneflowers, on the other hand, can thrive even in low light and arid settings.
3. Forgetting Functionality
As part of the planning process, you and your landscaper must think about the functionality of the landscape. This means that you must consider how you and your housemates will be using your yard.
For example, planting flowers on places where kids love to run around on is a bad idea for obvious reasons. The same goes for shrubs planted along a pet’s pee path.
Remember that, beyond its looks, your outdoor design should first align with your lifestyle before it can be declared a well-designed landscape.
Excellent landscape design also takes the future into account. Aside from its present use, you should plan for the things you wish you could do in your yard. After all, it’s never too early to plan for a swimming pool in your landscape design.
4. Not Thinking About the Trees First
Another common mistake you can avoid with the help of a landscaping professional is the correct use of trees. Since they would essentially become the biggest living features of the landscape, trees must be placed in the landscape design before everything else.
Unlike other elements, trees cannot be easily moved. This means that, if you make a mistake in planting a tree in a place where you wish to place a gazebo, then you’d have wasted years of tree growth, not to mention potentially destroy the landscape.
This is because trees are also used to frame the landscape. As they mature, they serve as the most visually interesting part of the landscape and take up a big part of your “eye space.”
5. Not Considering Existing Structures When Planting Trees
While it is ideal for trees to be planted first, there are cases when structures are already built in the premises way before the landscape project even begins. In this case, make sure to carefully think about where to place them in the landscape to make sure that they don’t damage your house, outdoor pools, patios, and other existing structures within the property. This will help prevent branches from scratching your house’s wall paint or damaging the roof or sidings during inclement weather.
Tree roots also spread and may also cause damage to the foundation of the structure. To avoid this, follow the rule of thumb: plant shrubs and trees at least four feet away from any existing structures.
Also, put thorny plants away from driveways, sidewalks, and other areas with constant traffic to prevent them from brushing on people.
Landscape Your Property to Perfection
Remember that outstanding landscaping entails careful planning and making the right decisions based on the expert knowledge of landscaping professionals. To avoid mishaps, seek a qualified landscaper’s help and prevent the landscaping mistakes mentioned in this article.
Rachel Hennessey manages the Pools and Landscaping Division of Hennessey LLC. She also works on Tender and Pre-Qualification and brings in new business to the company’s Construction, Interiors and Civils Division.