Everyone wants a backyard that is beautifully landscaped and low maintenance. A place where you can relax after a long day.
However, if you’re going the DIY route to creating a backyard landscape, there are some pitfalls to avoid. These mistakes look fine when you first plant them, but in 3-5 years, you will regret your decisions, pull out plants, and redo the whole thing.
Who wants to create extra work in the yard? Not me!
Seven beginner Landscaping Mistakes
Don’t sharpen your pitchforks just yet. Cedars are beautiful, and I love them too, but after 15-20 years, they look tired and have often grown way too big for the space they were intended for.
Avoid this problem by trimming them once a year, and make sure you plant them far enough apart.
2. Planting Trees and Shrubs Too Close Together
Sure, those trees or shrubs look perfectly spaced now, but they will soon be overcrowded and die in two years time. The suggested space between trees on the tag is there for a reason.
3. Cheaping Out on Mulch
If you use mulch, make sure you use landscape fabric or cardboard underneath the area and put a full 4 inches of mulch on top. Anything less means you’ll have weeds in a month, and your whole project will be ruined next year.
Once you use proper mulch, you’ll love how much work it saves you. With less weeding and watering, you’ll wonder why you didn’t join the mulch bandwagon sooner.
4. Forgetting that Trees make Shade
That adorable little tree next to your garden or flower bed might barely cast a shadow these days, but it could completely shade out your growing space in just a few short years. It can be hard to visualize how large a tree will grow, but trying to do so and planning accordingly will save you a world of hurt (and an expensive tree removal bill) down the road.
5. Planting a Tree Underneath a Power Line
Enough said. Why?!
6. Digging Through Power and Cable Lines
There’s a reason you’re supposed to call before you dig. Please call your power and cable companies to come and mark your lines before you take on any landscaping project. They can usually be there within two weeks, often sooner.
7. Planting Invasive Perennials
I know, I know. You have this giant blank slate of a yard, and you want to fill it. Perennials save you money, but they don’t really get to their full size until after 3-5 years. Invasive perennials will fill out sooner but can quickly take over a space if you’re not diligent about removing plants in spots you don’t want them in.
Don’t believe me? I bought an old house with an overgrown backyard, and I was constantly picking out ferns, bellflowers, and lily of the valley out of my flower beds every year. After owning it for three years, I barely made a dent in the fern/bellflower/lily of the valley population.
Here’s the backyard we started with, and here are 28 perennials you’ll regret planting, plus 50 more perennials to avoid!
Have you made any of these mistakes? Do you have anything you’d add to the list?
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