Site Solutions

6 common landscape problems and how to solve them.


Use plantings to help direct traffic: Line paths that lead to your front entry with beds and plant turf alternatives in areas where you want to discourage walking.

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Sometimes a landscaping problem needs to be solved before you can plant your yard. Other problems can be worked out by planting the right specimen. Here's a little insight into the most common issues homeowners face, and ways to solve potential problems.

Acidic Soil

  • Gardening Solution: Level out the soil's pH balance by adding lime.
  • Plant Solution: Choose acid-loving plants; azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons, hollies, ferns, pines, heather, bleeding heart, and lupine.

Alkaline Soil

  • Garden Solution: Balance the pH with sulfur, or go organic and add compost, sawdust, or peat moss.
  • Plant Solution: Go for alkaline-loving plants, such as privet, spirea, boxwood, some maples, cherry trees, yew, sunflowers, and peonies.

Dry Soil

  • Irrigation Solution: Use soaker or drip hoses to water conservatively.
  • Plant Solution: Use drought-resistant plantings, such as native grasses, low-water groundcovers, and herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme, and lavender.


  • Landscape Solution: Use terraces and retention walls to interrupt water runoff. Cover the area with porous landscape fabric or mulch until plantings grow.
  • Plant Solution: Opt for native grasses, shrubs, trees, and groundcovers, as they require less watering than imported varieties. Use plants with various depths of root systems to boost soil retention and ease water runoff.


A concrete retaining wall combined with plantings prevents erosion.

Sloped Terrain

  • Landscape Solution: Level slight slopes by adding fill dirt and perhaps a retaining wall; build terraces to create beds along steeper slopes; add a waterfall.
  • Plant Solution: Cover the bank with a low-maintenance groundcover: Virginia creeper, honeysuckle, certain roses, ice plants, ivy, and clematis.

Wet Soil

  • Drainage Solution: Clear the area and build a French drain, then plant as needed.
  • Plant Solution: Install plants that thrive in boggy conditions: ferns, irises, and marsh marigolds.


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