Landscaping Checklist- The craving for a quick, sweet landscape can lead you astray. Here are 12 temptations to avoid and the healthy alternatives.
1. Don't Lose The House Do consider the size, shape, and style of your home when planning the yard. Landscaping should harmonize with the house, not overwhelm, obscure, or contradict it. Connect your yard and home with repeating design details, smooth transitions, and inside views.
2. Don't Disdain Design Do have a plan. It's easy to get intoxicated by the first whiffs of spring and start digging holes and loading up on plants, but hold off until you have a plan.
3. Don't Get Sticker Shock Do be realistic about money. It's easy to lowball landscaping costs if you haven't shopped around lately. For help in estimating the prices of common yard features, see Estimating Landscape Costs.
4. Don't Be Shortsighted Do see your landscape at maturity. Research the full-grown sizes of plants before buying and placing them. That small tree may one day take over your yard, altering sun and shade patterns. Vigorous shrubs and vines could soon cover a window or block a view.
5. Don't Think So Straight Do use curves and wavy edges to increase visual interest and make a more natural-looking yard. There's nothing wrong with straight lines, but don't plant everything in rows or make every path direct.
6. Don't Put It All Behind Do consider curb appeal. Even if you live in the backyard, the front shouldn't be bare. Use a gate, fence, arbor, or hedge to create an entry in front.
7. Don't Forget Family Do take into account the outdoor living needs of every family member. Each will use the landscape differently. You may not be able to satisfy everyone's wish list, but knowing what is important helps you set priorities and make the best use of space.
8. Don't Rely On Fireflies Do make lighting an integral part of your landscape plans, not an afterthought. Good lighting enhances safety and security and lets you play or entertain well into the evening. At a minimum, steps, paths, driveways, and entrances should be well lit.
9. Don't Take On Too Much Do choose plants, structures, and features that demand no more care than you're willing to provide. Otherwise, your landscape will soon be a burden you resent. Will you care for those roses? Will you clean that pond? Will you repaint the white picket fence every few years?
10. Don't Skip To Dessert Do spend time and money on your yard's meat and potatoes -- soil, drainage, solid structures, and well-chosen plants -- before adding the fun stuff -- trendy annuals, exotic perennials, ornaments, and statuary.
11. Don't Scatter Blooms Do cluster plants of the same color or variety for maximum effect. Resist the urge to cover a bare yard quickly by spreading plants thinly. It's better to fill up one planting area before moving on to the next.
12. Don't Be a Copycat Do personalize your landscape. It's OK to find inspiration in a neighbor's yard or even borrow a few ideas, but don't let a desire to keep up with the proverbial Joneses dictate how your yard will look.