5 Common Landscape Design Mistakes
The design process of a landscaping project sets the stage for the whole endeavor, and to a larger extent, determines how pleased the property owners will be with the final result. This is not a step that should be rushed, as any mistakes that exist in the design will detract from the finished project. Given the time and monetary investment involved in a major landscape renovation, it pays to get the design just right before any work is started. These five mistakes are among the most common made in landscape design projects, and should be avoided by homeowners during renovations.
Mistake 1: Squeezing features into spaces that don’t provide adequate square footage.
This mistake is commonly made with regard to patios and walkways. A patio should not only contain sufficient space for a table and chairs, but should also allow space for the chairs to be pulled out, and for people to walk around the table. A minimum of 100 square feet (10 x 10) is required to comfortably fit a table and chair set that is 5 feet in diameter.
Walkways must be wide enough to accommodate items like lawnmowers, garbage cans and wheelbarrows, so a minimum of four feet of width is recommended. This allows for easy passage with larger items.
Mistake 2: Creating too much contrast between indoor and outdoor décor.
When furnishing a patio that sits adjacent to an indoor space with a glass sliding door, it is import that there is some continuity between the décor in the two spaces. They do not have to be identical, of course, but the general aesthetic should make it so the eye travels easily from indoors to the outside and vice versa. Using similar colors, textures or patterns can accomplish this, and makes the outdoor space feel like an extension of the home rather than a totally separate space.
Mistake 3: Creating elements separately without considering the whole.
This is a common occurrence when a landscape project is done in phases. Rather than looking at elements as part of a larger whole, they are seen and designed individually, with the final result lacking flow and continuity. Even if a project is being done one piece at a time, it is important to have a cohesive design to work off of from the start. This ensures that the final result comes together harmoniously, and looks as if it is one cohesively designed space rather than a jumbled mix of disparate elements.
Mistake 4: The misuse of plants and bushes in the design.
Homeowners have a tendency to go overboard with plants, and often fail to consider how the design will look once the plants and bushes have fully matured. The result of this is overly crowded spaces that require a ton of maintenance. Plants are wonderful, but if you have too many, or the ones you have are too large, they infringe upon your space and litter it with dead leaves and debris. When selecting plants for a space, homeowners should consider how the full-grown plant will fit in to the area, and how much maintenance it will require. For patio areas, it is wise to choose plants that do not shed much to minimize the cleanup. Try to limit the patio to no more than 3 or 4 planters. This is also important around entryways, as overgrowth limits accessibility.
For these reasons, it is important for homeowners to be aware of the characteristics of any plants they choose to include in their landscapes. This allows them to choose the right plants for the right spaces, and to avoid the extra maintenance and inconvenience caused by overgrown or messy plants and bushes.
This also applies to the planting of trees, as larger breeds can easily overwhelm a space, and be difficult to cut back without detracting from their appearance. It is important for homeowners to plant trees that will fit comfortably into their space at full maturity. Also, trees planted in the vicinity of a pool or water feature should be chosen carefully to prevent a big mess in the fall when they lose their leaves.
Mistake 5: Failing to see the importance of a well thought out design.
Many ambitious do-it-yourself enthusiasts start on landscaping projects without any real idea of how the finished project will look. This usually results in disappointment, as the elements will not flow together correctly, and the space will look disjointed. It is much better to get things right the first time by working from a premade design than to have to redo elements of the space later due to poor planning. For larger, more complicated spaces, it really does pay to use a professional landscape designer. The expense is justified in the timely completion of the project and the superior results, and additional time and money will not have to be spent to correct mistakes.
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