7 Top Landscaping Don'ts

Avoid the time-, money- and maintenance hogs of big landscaping mistakes. Here are 7 must-not-dos of home landscaping.

  • Don't let landscaping overwhelm your house. Choosing varieties of trees and shrubs that are bred to grow to a particular size means you won't have to spend your time pruning — or fighting your way out the front door.

  • Don't start landscaping without a plan even if you intend to do the work in stages. A plant-by-plant detailed rendering isn't necessary, but do know where your hardscaping needs to go, allow room for access by delivery or work vehicles, and, where there's going to be heavy traffic, put plants in last.

  • Don't plant too much of the same thing. When these trees stop flowering, what will the landscape offer?

  • Don't let a big lawn suck your resources. A nice stand of lush grass is a time, water and nutrient glutton. Reduce the size of your lawn with landscape beds that feature attractive, low-maintenance perennials, shrubs and trees.

  • Don't let ivy climb your house unless you're ready to do annual pruning. The ivy vines may be beautiful, but once established, they can cover windows, gutters and beyond. They can also serve as bridges for pests, especially termites. And never let vines climb a frame house.

  • Don't plant trees too close to the house, and don't plant species that may overtake the yard or your home's proportions.

  • Don't install one-dimensional planting beds. Plant in layers, with low-growing plants concealing the legginess of the taller plants behind. The small \"facer\" plants give you the chance to introduce plants of a complementary color and texture.

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