1: Not planning for the seasons
It’s easy to forget that even the most beautiful plants won’t look so beautiful year round, or to overlook the fact that your perennials look great in June, however, may not be visible in the winter months. A landscape professional thinks ahead, through all the seasons, and plans accordingly. Choose plants that take advantage of successional interest and offer form, texture and color to create beauty that lasts year-round. Here in the Northeast, one must also consider the changing seasons from the cool Spring, to the heat throughout the Summer months and the salty harsh Winter. Choosing the right plant is critical for the success of your landscape investment.
2: Not planning for plant growth
Another example of a lack of forethought is the all-too-common mistake of failing to plan for growth. It’s not enough to have a landscape that only looks great for a few days after it’s installed, it is vital to plan ahead and consider how it will look and grow weeks, months, and years into the future. Selecting and installing a plant based solely on its current size can lead to problems down the road. Plants can outgrow their space and cause unanticipated problems. If planted along a foundation, the wrong shrub species could grow to block a window causing additional maintenance to maintain, and an unhappy tenant. Nearby flowers or perennials may be cast with excess shade depriving them of needed sunlight. This in turn can also lead to further insect and disease potentials that could be avoided. Proper research and consideration of the plant’s average mature size is essential for long term success and a sustainable landscape .
3: Overuse of one species or color
This one is more subjective and a little harder to watch out for, but nonetheless important to consider. A good landscape thrives on a balance between similarity and contrast, and it’s important not to lean too far in favor of either principle. You may love a certain variety of a plant or color of flower, however; using that plant throughout the landscape narrows the diversity and seasonal interest. As mentioned above, choose plants that will compliment each other year round. Find a combination of plants that work together and maybe repeat that grouping it in certain sections of the property. Another tip would be to use different shades of the same color to add a slight contrast.
4: Using too many different species or colors
On a similar vein to the last point, it’s also important not to have too much variety. Planting different colored flowers in the same bed can create a beautiful effect, but only if those colors are limited and of similar shades or 2-3 complementary colors. A flower bed with multiple different colors becomes a hodgepodge of color and loses its aesthetic appeal.
Similar to color, having many different species in a planting bed will lead to an area that looks undesigned and just a collection of random plants. It’s a good rule of thumb to plant in groups of threes and fives of the same species.
Proper planning is essential; landscapes should be planned around a central concept, theme, styles, or color schemes depending on the property and site conditions. They should employ contrast without seeming chaotic.
5: Not considering maintenance
This is the simplest, but also the most important one on the list and sometimes overlooked. Being active in the upkeep of a landscape will prevent many other problems from arising. Landscapes are living, growing and ever changing, even though it might not be immediately visible. Plants are, of course, the most obvious example. They must be regularly watered and fertilized to ensure their survival, but a landscape professional also must be active in looking for weeds, insects, diseases and attentive in pruning plants to ensure proper health.
Even inorganic elements such as walls, walks and patios in a landscape must be tended to. Heat, cold, rain, snow and ice all affect these aspects of the landscape. Proper drainage must be maintained as well as the consideration of sealants.
If you’re struggling to keep your facility or community landscapes looking attractive, contact us to discuss our commercial landscape maintenance services.