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How to Avoid 5 Landscaping Blunders: Tips for new and experienced gardeners

Leyland cypress planted too close to structure
Leyland cypress can grow up to 70’ in height and 15’ in width. They should be planted at least 15’ away from each other and 8’ away from any structure. This was taken in June 2013.

Creating a beautiful landscape takes time and resources. Invest in careful planning and research before you begin to establish or renovate a landscape. It will pay off in the long run!

Here are a few common blunders that occur in landscaping and, more importantly, how to avoid them.

  1. Planting without planning. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the planning of any project, let alone one you don’t have a lot of experience with. Believe me, we’ve ALL done it. All of these blunders come under the category of insufficient planning. So, what are the most important planning tasks?

    Site plat plan

I know these all sound really boring but you’ll thank me later. If you were going on a vacation to a far-away land, would you just drive to the airport before planning and expect everything to work out fine?

  1. Just say “NO” to impulse purchases! Businesses love impulse purchases but you know what happens when you grocery shop when you’re hungry, right?
  1. Don’t ignore a plant’s needs! Yes, plants have needs too! And they can’t just get up and walk to a place in the landscape that would meet their growing requirements. Plants that are struggling to survive aren’t thriving and are more susceptible to insect and disease problems.  The phrase “Right Plant, Right Place” says it all. Perhaps you should start with a list of native plants. Plants that are native to an area are adapted to that environment, are less susceptible to pest and disease problems, and require less products and maintenance.
  2. Don’t mistakenly plant invasives! Invasive plants can cause serious economic and environmental damage. Maryland has imposed restrictions on the sale of invasive plants. View our invasive plants page for more information, and see the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s list of invasive plants.
  3. Don’t try to do it all as one big project. Unless you plan on hiring professionals to do the job, it is best to start small.

Additional Resources

By Ria Malloy, Assistant Program Director, Home & Garden Information Center. This is the first in a series of articles on landscaping. Look for future posts on plant selection, planting practices, and maintenance.

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