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Do's and Don'ts of Landscaping Your Property

May 01, 2015 01:57PM ● Published by Face Editor

When you drive through neighborhoods, one thing that sets apart a nice property from a ho-hum property is the landscaping.  Some homeowners have hired professional landscapers to add curb appeal to their homes, while others have done their own landscaping.  With a bit of skill and forethought, even the do-it-yourself gardener can enhance his property with some well-appointed landscaping.

Every spring, gardeners flock to local garden centers.  Often included in the mix are homeowners who've moved into a new home that has little landscaping on the property.  Many of these avid shoppers return home with a vehicle full of plants, trees, and bushes to put in place.

Landscaping seems easy at the outset. You buy plants, dig holes and bury the roots.  But small plants grow into large plants, and it's often once plants are established that problems are noticed.  On just about any street, gardening blunders include too tall trees, overcrowded bushes, and overgrown shrubs that block the windows of a home.  There's little curb appeal achieved from landscaping that hides a house from view.

Taking time to make a plan before heading to the garden center may help a homeowner prevent such mistakes. Here are a few simple do's and don'ts that can guide any gardener in planning a garden that works:

▪  The best gardens have a shape.  Rather than starting out plunking a tree or shrub here or there look through books, magazines or online photos to get ideas of potential garden shapes.  Garden retaining walls and flowerbeds can curve or follow straight lines.  Choose the most flattering pattern.

▪  Plan your garden beds in proportion to the size of your home and property.  What looks like a two-foot deep flowerbed in a photo may actually be six-foot deep.  Make your flowerbeds large enough for impact. 

▪  Before heading to the garden center, look at your home from the curb and visualize where you'll place hard plantings.  These might include trees that will accent your home and provide a backdrop for smaller plants or flowers.  Measure the space so you'll know how many plants will fit nicely together when mature. 

▪  When choosing trees or shrubs, read the garden centre labels and choose those with the most appropriate mature size. 

▪  When you return home, place the plants in the approximate location of choice.  Step back and imagine the plant at full maturity.  Only plant it if it seems it will improve the look of your property.  Ensure it won't eventually block the view of your home from the street, or grow over windows. 

▪  Never plant right on your property line.  Allow for spread.  Also ensure trees are far enough away that branches won't eventually bow onto a neighbors' property.

▪  Never plant right against the house, doing so will impede a plant's growth and risk roots going into the home's foundation.   

▪  Once your plantings are mature, don't be afraid to trim shrubs and divide plants.  Educate yourself on best practices so you don't harm the plants. 

▪  When planting close to a roadway, leave enough clearance so you and your neighbors can spot traffic when backing out of driveways.


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