5 Landscaping Planting Mistakes to Avoid


Landscaping mistakes are costly but easy to avoid when you’re equipped with a few basic landscaping guidelines

This list has evolved from the many homes we have visited in the Pottstown, PA and surrounding areas who have hired us over the years to correct unattractive and overgrown plantings.   We do a lot of front foundation makeovers that completely transform a ho-hum landscape into a real show-stopping front yard.

So whether you are a new homeowner wanting to learn some simple tips to get it right the first time or whether you are fixing some flaws or correcting tired landscaping, read the following common mistakes to avoid.

Landscaping Mistake #1 – Shrubs are planted too close to the house

Shrubs planted too close to the foundation have an unattractive ‘cramped’ appearance.   They look fine for a few years but then outgrow their space.

Solution:  Shrubs should be planted half their mature width plus one foot away from the wall.

Therefore, a shrub that will grow to be five feet wide should be planted 2 l/2’ plus 1’ = 3 l/2 feet away from the house.

Landscaping Mistake #2 – Poor Spacing

Shrubs are often planted too close together in order to get that ‘full’ look right away.  But in a short time, that ‘full’ look becomes crowded and steps need to be taken to reduce competition by drastically pruning or removing all together.

Solution: It’s hard to be patient to wait for shrubs to grow but avoiding the temptation of having an ‘instant landscape’ will pay off once they start growing.

Landscaping Mistake #3 – Choosing the Wrong Plants

Just because a plant looks pretty, especially when it is blooming, doesn’t mean it actually belongs in your yard.   Do some homework about what will work best for your yard.

Solution:  Take into consideration how much sun or shade it will require, what type of soil you have, and how much space it requires when full grown.  Also consider if it’s going to look good year-round.

Landscaping Mistake #4 – Shrubs Grow Too Tall and Block Sunlight

When this occurs, homeowners try to sheer the shrubs to control the plant size which often disfigures the shape and makes it look unnatural.

Solution:  Purchase shrubs with a mature height that fits their location.  It’s OK to prune and clip stray shoots to keep the plant neat and full.

Landscaping Mistake #5 – Planting Too Deeply

A common mistake among well-intentioned homeowners is to plant too deeply.  Putting too much soil around the base actually can choke the shrub or tree to death because air can’t get to the roots and occasionally the roots will suffocate.  Also don’t mulch too deeply especially around the base of the shrub.

Solution:  A good rule of thumb with planting is to dig the actual height of the container in which it came.   It’s only necessary to cover the root ball where all the tentacles come out from the main stem.

In closing, we believe that landscapes are ‘value added investments’ that can and should increase the livability, beauty and value of your home.  If you feel you need a professional to help you with your design and installation, contact Whitehouse Landscaping to help you with your landscaping project.