Every homeowner would like to have a beautiful, lush lawn in front of their house. Many of us work hard at lawn upkeep, striving to maintain an image we find comfort or pride in, but these efforts don’t always pan out the way we had hoped. Sometimes, what we do—or what we don’t do—ends up sabotaging our lawn’s potential.
Why Mistakes Are So Common
With the vast amount of information, tools, guides, and raw information that exists in the world today, it’s somewhat surprising to learn how common these yardwork mistakes truly are. What’s the reason behind this?
•The complexities of an ecosystem. Part of the problem is the sheer complexity of the average lawn ecosystem. There are dozens, if not hundreds of variables at play in what makes grass green, and what makes a yard beautiful. Because of this, it’s hard to pinpoint specific causes of general problems, and it’s hard to tell what actions you’re taking that are working versus ones that aren’t.
•Sensible isn’t always right. Many homeowners and amateur yard workers end up following common sense logic when it comes to lawn maintenance. In some cases, this is suitable, but in others, it can easily lead you astray; for example, it makes sense that more water would lead to an extra-lush lawn, but over-watering is a significant possibility.
•Ignorance, apathy, or laziness. Of course, some mistakes boil down to ignorance, apathy, or laziness on the part of the homeowner. If you want the most beautiful lawn on the block, you’ll need to do your research and put in the effort.
Most Common Landscaping Mistakes
Now let’s take a look at some of the most common landscaping and lawn care mistakes that can sabotage your work:
1. Letting old trees and bushes remain in place.
It’s never fun to see a tree or a bush die, but it happens. Old plants may naturally start to wither away. Out of nostalgia, or maybe indifference, you might allow these slowly withering plants to remain in place. However, allowing them to remain could cause them to become an eyesore in what is otherwise a gorgeous landscape. Beyond that, remember that these plants are still actively drawing nutrients from the soil, competing with other nearby plants for resources, and potentially weakening your lawn’s overall heartiness.
2. Failing to account for the eventual height of trees and shrubs.
It’s exciting to get new plants for your lawn, especially long-term installations like trees and shrubs, which have the potential to grow for many years. In all the excitement, you might forget the fact that the eventual height of these plants may someday interfere with the other elements of your yard and home. Be sure to check how tall these plants may grow, and account for that height in your surrounding work.
3. Cluttering a lawn with ornaments.
You may think that gargoyle is beautiful, and it may very well appear that way to outsiders as well, but every piece of ornamentation you add to your lawn takes away some of the attention that your plants and landscaping are getting. If placed correctly and sparingly, ornaments won’t actively damage your lawn, but they can be an eyesore if you accumulate too many, or if you arrange them in a way that obscures or competes with your existing plants.
4. Neglecting to test soil conditions.
There are dozens of factors in the soil alone that can affect how your plants grow (and which plants thrive the most), so it’s important that you test your soil before you do any planting or soil modifications. For example, if the pH levels of your soil are off balance, you may not be able to sustain much plant life. If your nitrogen or phosphorous levels are too low, your grass may not be as green or lively.
5. Over or under watering.
If you’re trying to save money, or comply with water shortage laws, or if you’re just not that invested in your lawn care, you may end up under-watering your grass and plants. When under-watered, plants tend to wilt, turn brown, or otherwise lose the potential they have for lush beauty. However, it’s also possible to overcompensate for the watering problem by over-watering your plants. Too much water can dilute the soil and may even kill some plants.
6. Failing to account for seasonal changes.
This factor depends on where you live, but if you experience a regular change of seasons, you have to be aware that your lawn isn’t going to look the same throughout the year. Be sure to choose some trees and plants that last the entire year, and others that have a natural, season-based lifecycle.
7. Planting things too close together.
It’s a natural tendency for most homeowners to want to fill up empty space; after all, if there’s a spot of bare soil, a plant may look better than nothing. Unfortunately, this mentality often leads to overcrowding in lawn and garden areas. Not only is this visually unappealing, it creates too much competition for any of the plants you chose to survive.
8. Forgetting about the wildlife factor.
No matter where you live, wildlife can be a problem. You might experience bugs and pests, or something larger like deer eating your plant material. Keep these threats in mind as you design and continue to improve your lawn, and consider adding fences or other natural deterrents.
As you can see, landscaping and lawn care can be deceptively complicated. What seems like a good idea isn’t always a good idea, and even if you’re an experienced homeowner, you may find yourself unable to account for the unknown factors that control your lawn’s potential. If you’re interested in getting a little outside help, in order to make sure your lawn gets a professional touch, be sure to contact Proactive Landscaping for a custom quote.