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November 07, 2006

Common Landscape Mistakes

In posts this week we are going to focus on some common detailing mistakes made by homeowners and professionals alike in residential landscaping. Some of these are little things, some are major errors, but all are good things to be aware of when working on landscape projects.

Common Landscape Mistake: Overplanting

This is a common problem we see in residential landscape projects, planting too densely or not realizing the mature size of plantings being installed. To a certain degree this can be stylistic and subjective, some people prefer dense plantings, but at times it can look downright comical. Often wanting things to look good right away, plants are planted too close for their mature sizes. Also, frequently shrubs are planted too close together. For example an Angel's Trumpet is planted 2.5' away from a Butterfly Bush, both of which can grow to 6'x6' in size. The most important thing is to remember to balance the immediate impact of plantings with their more mature look in 2-3 years.

Frequent plant spacings (on center)
1-2' Small flowering perennials and annuals
2-3' Woody shrublets, small shrubs, most grasses
4-6' Larger shrubs, hedging shrubs, large grasses
8-12' Small scale trees, aggressive vines, aerial and regular hedging shrubs

Dense plantings aren't always a problem- with these Lavender and grasses, tighter groups are desirable for distinct massings.

Notice the same planting about 18 months before, when the plantings had first gone in. The Lavender here is planted between 2-3' apart, but just coming out of the container the planting still looks insignificant.

These ornamental grasses and New Zealand Flaxes are another example of density used properly. Problems can arise when larger shrubs with courser texture are planted in the same way.

Posted by Michael O'Connell at November 7, 2006 01:12 PM


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