Top Landscaping Pitfalls

Landscaped yards can really add a finishing touch to the beauty and atmosphere of your home. They are often the first thing that people see when they drive past your house or on their way in for a visit. However, dreams of a beautiful yard can soon turn to nightmares, wasted money, and a yard full of dirt and dead plants.

Some of the most frequent pitfalls in landscaping happen when there is poor planning, when the owner tries to buy plants without learning information about the plants themselves or the climate they will need to grow in, and with hiring inexperienced landscapers. Yet there are also many other pitfalls that are easy to make.


The most important factor in landscaping is the type of plants chosen. Many people go to the store and buy a ton of half-dead plants simply because they are on sale. However, it is vital to know the quality of the plant that you will be planting, and those sitting outside Wal-Mart for a month in the summer heat have not been nurtured and cared for—they are no more likely to thrive in your yard than they were in the parking lot they came from. It is much better to go to a greenhouse or raise the plants yourself from seedlings, so that you get high quality, healthy plants.


Many people start landscaping projects but then need to stop with their yard half-finished because they underestimate the cost of plants and the time it will take to get a complex design or project finished. If you are doing your own yard, it is especially important that you budget ahead for your landscaping project. The cost of multiple trips to the greenhouse can add up quickly, and you may want to break your project up into manageable stages will keep your yard looking decent through each one.


Design is an important element in landscaping, and if you draft or draw plans ahead of time, not only will you go into the greenhouse with more of an idea of what you want (thus avoiding overspending and coming home with more plants than you can actually plant), but you will also have a better idea of what the end result should look like. The amount of plants is important, but so are the spacing, the colors, and the mix of annuals and perennials, and also the solid spaces that you will want to design ahead of time.

Pay Attention

When landscaping starts, many people make the mistake of either over- or under-fertilizing, and also over- or under-watering. Planting leaves the plants extremely delicate, and it is important to pay close attention to their needs. You should fertilize beforehand, whether you go with an organic fertilizer or a commercial-grade fertilizer, but avoid putting more than just a bit in each space you will plant in. Too much water will also damage plants you have just potted or planted, so it is important to get your amounts of fertilizer and water just right.

Buried too Deep

Lastly, it is also a common planting error to bury the roots of the plant too deep. This eventually kills the plant by cutting it off from the nutrients it needs and placing too much of the plant below ground, removing it from direct sunlight.

If you are hiring a landscaper, make sure that you have seen some of their other work first, if possible years after they planted it. If you are doing it yourself, make sure to talk to the people at the greenhouse, read the tags on the plants to see whether they prefer shade or partial or full sunlight, and plant them according to this, as well as their size at maturity.

Lindsey Davison has spent the last year landscaping her yard to perfection. Her perfect mortgage rates match her perfect yard.

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About smallmanconstruction

Tim Smallman, the general contractor behind Smallman Construction and Electric, has been in the construction industry for over 20 years. In 2003, Tim decided to leave the corporate world behind and get back to what he loved most about construction: helping his friends, neighbors, and anyone in need achieve their home and business improvement dreams. By founding his company on a principal of customer service, open book bidding, and integrity, Tim has been blessed with a great deal of success. This success has enabled him to expand operations and create an electrical division in 2006. Tim has made San Carlos his family's home for many years. They spend a considerable amount of time supporting their community and striving to make it a great place to live and work. Tim is active in the San Carlos community, coaching youth sports, participating in the Kiwanis Show and the Chickens Ball since 1989, with the proceeds going to the San Carlos Schools and other charitable organizations.

One thought on “Top Landscaping Pitfalls

  1. Free Water-Efficient Landscaping Classes
    From now through November, the Bay Area Water & Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) is presenting a wide range of FREE landscape classes designed to introduce homeowners, commercial property managers, landscape service providers, and others to the concepts of water-efficient and sustainable landscaping. Two of the classes are in Redwood City, others are elsewhere on the Peninsula, and still more are in other Bay Area cities.
    BAWSCA’s FREE classroom lectures and hands-on workshops focus on:
    Sustainable Landscaping
    Understanding Water-Use Efficiency in the Landscape
    Use of California Native and Drought Tolerant Plants
    Creating Healthy Soil
    Alternatives to Lawn
    Habitat Gardening
    Edible Landscaping
    Water-Efficient Irrigation Practices
    Parent/Child Gardening Activities

    Register and get the entire schedule at, or call 650-349-3000 for more information.

    Here are the FREE Redwood City water-efficient landscape classes:
    Saturday, September 22, 9 am – noon

    Water-Efficient Landscape Design and Techniques that Save Water, Time and Money (Sherri Osaka): Learn about the Bay Area’s water cycle and the use of California Native plants to reduce your water use, garden waste and save you time.

    Saturday, October 6, 9 am – noon
    Water-Efficient Landscape Irrigation (Lori Palmquist): Learn about water-conserving irrigation strategies and how to evaluate your irrigation system for upgrades to make your garden thrive. Learn basic drip irrigation design and installation, choosing the right components, watering techniques, and the proper system maintenance for your landscaping.

    Register for classes at

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