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8 Mistakes That Drive Landscapers Crazy

- Courtesy Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images
Courtesy Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

Sidestep these issues to create a stylish garden space.

Your garden is your sanctuary. It’s where you go to dig, to explore, to cultivate, and to relax. A beautiful landscape design takes years of work—and some planning as well. When you’re readying your garden for planting, avoid these mistakes that drive landscapers crazy. Take note of these DIY landscaping ideas, and you’ll have a gorgeous garden oasis in no time.

Mistake: Skimping on Color

Don’t get us wrong, monochromatic palettes are lovely, but when you’re in the business of landscape architecture, you know that a well-placed burst of color can make a real impact. An unexpected infusion of vibrant color—whether that’s a spring bloom, a flowering tree, or a bit of seasonal foliage—adds life to your garden. It draws the eye in, infusing your green space with contrast and depth.

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Mistake: Cramping Your Garden Style

It strikes fear in the hearts of landscapers everywhere. You’ve seen it: a garden crowded with too many plants. Flowerbeds with too many tight rows, trees tangled together, yearning for some space to breathe. Don’t cramp your garden. Give your plants some space. Learn exactly how much space your plants need in order to thrive, and care for them accordingly.

Mistake: Not Considering Scale

If it’s a large space, tiny shrubs won’t make an impact. Teensy blossoms will be swallowed up by a big plot if they’re not carefully incorporated. Likewise, massive trees can overwhelm a tiny space. When planting, if you don’t consider the sizes of both your plants and your space, an optical disaster will ensue. Study the scale of your unique plot, and choose plants that will fill it—the aim is not too big, not too small, but just right for your particular garden.

Mistake: Disregarding Shade and Water Requirements

This is the most egregious of landscaping mistakes. When you’re buying seeds or plants, take note of their tending requirements, and think about your space—is it shady? Does it get good morning light? Plants won’t thrive if the conditions aren’t right. Planting shade-loving plants in direct sunlight (and vice versa) not only drives landscapers crazy, it will also drive you crazy once your plants begin to wither.

Mistake: Not Mapping Out Your Plantings

We know how exciting it is to bring new plants home from the garden store. You’re itching to put on your gloves and get to digging, but landscapers know to take their time. If you just start planting, things can get messy. However, if you make a landscape plan, create a pattern, and draw it out, you’ll be much more prepared to bring to life the vision you have for your garden.

Mistake: Pairing Incompatible Plants

Pretty gardens make the most of interesting plant combinations. Pairing plants together because of unusual colors and textures will elevate a flowerbed to a piece of living art. However, it’s important to pair plants together that have similar sunlight and shade requirements. Unless you want to set up miniature umbrellas over shade-loving plants in a sunny garden, you should only pair together plants that like the same types of environments. That will ensure that your whole flowerbed thrives. The same goes for water requirements. Planting water-loving plants next to ones that need less is a no-no. If their requirements are too divergent, one or both plants won’t thrive.

Mistake: Forgetting About Architectural Elements

Landscapers know that a well-placed urn can work wonders. Explore using architectural elements, like pots and arbors, in your garden, but be sure to also make the most of architectural elements that are already present. Do you have a little-used arbor? Start training a climbing rose or a wisteria vine onto it for a riot of spring color next year.

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Mistake: Overlooking Textural Variety

If you like a more monochromatic garden, explore the variety within your greens. Vary the shapes, sizes, and shades of leaves in the plants you choose. Creating a diverse patchwork of plants, even within the same green shade family, will create vibrant visual interest. Adding evergreen shrubs and trees is a great way to incorporate even more interesting texture, and it will retain its unique impact all year. As your garden matures and evolves, there will always be a new garden tableau to enjoy.

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