Landscaping Ideas: 11 Design Mistakes to Avoid
Early spring is the season of hope: for the most beautiful garden ever. And you can have that. You also can lay the most charming front path in the history of hardscaping projects. And create the most welcoming outdoor living space that mankind has known. All you have to do is avoid 11 common landscape design mistakes. Here’s how.
Add pots, not pandemonium.
Above: Potted plants on my front porch don’t distract from the view. See the rest of my garden in our Gardenista book. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.
Potted plants are accessories and, as with jewelry, less can be more. You wouldn’t wear diamond earrings, a turquoise necklace, an emerald flower brooch, and a jangling charm bracelet together. Nor should you group together mismatched pots of different styles and random sizes.
Create a group of two or three pots of similar colors, materials, and size for harmony. When choosing container plants, redundancy is good. If you repeat a particular plant in each pot, you will create a visual refrain to make containers look purposeful. When in doubt, plant an evergreen shrub such as boxwood to give containers a strong silhouette.
Above: Photograph by Marie Viljoen.
It’s tempting to buy the biggest plants available to make a garden look more mature, especially if you are getting a tree or plants for a privacy hedge. But the price of impatience is high. A plant in a one-gallon pot costs approximately $5, whereas a five-gallon pot may be $20. After two or three years, you won’t see a difference.
Frame a view.
Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.
Don’t pass up the opportunity to design a garden to be enjoyed from indoors. What’s the view through your window? It should frame the garden. Place focal points in strategic spots and create garden vignettes for each window.
Leave room to breathe.
Above: Photograph by Nicole Franzen. Bare spots in April will disappear by summer. For more of this classic Mediterranean garden, see A Modern California Garden Inspired by the Classics.
Plants grow. Repeat that until you believe it. We all want to ignore spacing recommendations to avoid bare spots when planting a garden. But if you do, your garden beds will soon be too crowded, forcing you to pull out plants you paid for not so long ago. It’s OK to see bare spots, especially in early spring.
Remember the four seasons.
Every garden looks beautiful the last week in May and the first week in June. But you also must look at yours the other 50 weeks of the year. Don’t make the mistake of limiting your plant choices to spring and early summer bloomers. Roses, irises, and peonies are wonderful garden companions, but you can’t rely solely on them. Consider plants that look good year-round such as evergreen shrubs and trees with interesting bark and perennial grasses, which can turn into lovely straw-colored feathers in winter.
Early spring is the season of hope: for the most beautiful garden ever. And you can have that. You also can lay the most charming front path in the history