Dog Urine Spells Trouble for Shrubs
- I have four large dogs, three of them male, and I can't tell you how many young shrubs have died from being peed on repeatedly. (And occasionally ripped out of the ground...)
- —Guest Suzi
Too Narrow Paths a Landscaping Mistake
- When we had to dig through the middle of a flower bed for a drain pipe years ago, I decided to redo the garden and put in a brick path. It looked nice when I was finished, but it is really too narrow. In the spring it looks OK after I sweep off the accumulation of leaves (another mistake, it is under a large Maple tree). But it isn't very long before plants have spread over most of the walk. It is across the side of a slope so it is rather hard to make it wider and the bed isn't very big. The only good thing is the bricks do cut down on some of the weeding.
"Crispy Critter" Holly
- I bought a beautiful variegated evergreen holly grown as a standard, with the top trimmed as a topiary. I wanted to grow it in a pot in the center of my potager, so I bought an enormous $120 "pot" for my $100 "tree." I researched heavily beforehand to see such a "tree" could survive in a pot (yup), the potting mix (made my own per Brit recipe). Fertilized it correctly and sat back to wait. I battled scale, leaf drop, and won! By the end of summer, I had a gorgeous, happy potted topiary! I enjoyed looking at it's beautiful, healthy glossy leaves covered in snow...until on day in April the following spring, after an unusually warm, sunny day (zone 6, NY), I look out to see EVERY leaf on my Holly is BROWN. Crispy. Fried. Oh-so-dead. I learned: there are some evergreens whose leaves cannot tolerate full, hot sun after a long winter IF the plant did not take up sufficient water to keep those leaves hydrated THE FALL BEFORE. One can also create a fabric screen to shield from the sun.
- —Guest Too soon old, too late smart
Planting Too Close a Landscaping Mistake
- My sons made me a tiered garden that extends over the width of my lot, which I love, but when I planted perennials I planted way too close together. Sometimes plants get larger than what the tags say. Needless to say, I do a lot of pruning.
- —Guest Laniebp
Planting Large Vines in Pots
- I planted this arctic kiwi vine in a pot and gave it lots of fertilizer, water and sun. It grew up a trellis and I had to add another trellis on top to accommodate the size. When winter came, I worried how to winterize it. I decided I wanted to remove it from its pot and plant it in the ground (better insulation). But it was difficult freeing it enough from the trellis to maneuver it. I'll never make that landscaping mistake again!
- —Guest ann doiron
Common Landscaping Mistake: Invasives
- I bought some beautiful sweet potato vine that I thought would work nicely as a ground cover in between some larger plants. Nicely shaped leaves, beautiful purple color which contrasted nicely with my yellow trumpet plants. OMG! It grew like a weed, taking over everthing, twining up my trumpet plants. Yes, it DID cover the ground and not only was it invasive, it actually does produce potatoes! When it started taking over and I decided to pull them out, I kept pulling potato after potato out of the ground. Thankfully it only took me two years and one freezing winter to get rid of them, but from now on, if I ever get another one I will keep it in a pot!
- —Guest BeavisMom62
Common Landscaping Mistake: Too Big
- Hubby bought me three beautiful bougainvillea a few years ago. Neither of us had any idea how huge these things become. It wouldn't have mattered if we had found a better place to plant them, but we planted them by our front window and walkway. They are great to shade the front window and also as a burglar barrier due to the thorns. But because of the thorns, trimming them is a huge chore which ends up being put off for too long. Last year, these "bushes" took over half of the front yard, covered the windows, grew out over the walkway and even grew up to the roof. Thankfully, a cold winter froze the bush to the ground, so we could start over with it. But first that involved removing a giant dead thorn bush! It is managable for the moment but unless hubby stays on top of it, it won't be long before this bush begins to eat my house again! If I even plant another one, it will be at the back of the back yard, away from the house!
- —Guest BeavisMom62
Inherited Common Landscaping Mistake
- Not really my mistake, but when we bought our house we were overjoyed to find two queen palms in the front yard and four in the back. Well, I didn't know that they produce huge seed pods (we call them bullets), which open into what seems like hundreds of flowers that attract many bees. First the flowers drop pollen everywhere, then drop flowers everywhere and THEN form "berries", which also drop to the ground by the hundreds! In the heat of the day, if they aren't picked up (an almost impossible task) they smell like rotten fruit and attract more bees and wasps. These trees are a huge mess. They are very tall, which makes grooming them expensive since we can't reach the top with a ladder and extension saw. Not only do the bullets need to be removed before they bloom, but the leaves need to be trimmed a couple of times a year. These trees are beautiful, but very messy, expensive and a lot of work! And sometimes the berries sprout and make many baby palms!
- —Guest BeavisMom62
- Me and my wife have lived in one house for nearly 35 years. We planted and planted and became very happy with what we have. Now that we are older, we have discovered that the manual work needed to maintain our "Perfect Yard" is becoming more than we can handle. Now our expenses include a gardener. If you do find a home and if you do plan on living there for quite awhile, plan ahead so that your perfect backyard won't become an additional expense.
Planting Poplar Trees in a Tight Space
- My gardening mistake was what I did to block my view of my neighbor's TV while sitting on my deck. I knew that poplar trees would grow fast, but I did not realize that this also means that they die young. I planted TWO of them between his house and mine. This area was only about 2 1/2 feet wide. The problems were many. First of all, they were putting out MANY large surface roots that interfered with lawn mowing. Next, they grew extremely tall and were a constant worry during storms (threatening both of our houses equally). Finally, because they were short-lived.......they had to be cut down and I had much difficulty finding someone willing to do so in such a tight area with such a small margin for error (so as not to damage either house, fence, etc...). Also, this actually left me back at square one because the TV issue was solved only while the trees were there. The "X-rated" material is still easily seen from my deck when I look in that direction.
- —Guest Barbie
My List of Landscaping Mistakes
- Let's see- goutweed, gooseneck, trumpet vine, bittersweet vine, evening primrose, lemon balm, false spirea, sumac, chamomile, baby's breath, mint and forget me nots! Will we ever learn? Probably not!
- —Guest learningcurve
- A few years ago I purchased and planted a pre-packaged garden, which included lupine (which is native to my pacific northwest home). Gorgeous last year, this spring it is in the process of overtaking my little garden with hundreds of little underground shoots that are coming up looking like weeds. I now have to pull the entire garden and till it. What a waste and lots of extra hard work!
- —Guest Michele
Happy Birch Makes Patio Pavers Unhappy
- I planted a birch tree near my patio. I live in a condo and had enlarged my patio using pavers. But the birch tree roots grow near the ground surface and have popped up many of the pavers. Now the once enjoyable patio area is a dangerous walking zone that may trip you at any step. Lesson: always do your research on the trees, plants, or bushes you plan to use in your yard. Many landscape mistakes can be avoided.
- —Guest Sherry
Blue Spruce - Missing Branches
- I purchased a "bargain" Blue Spruce for the center of my front yard. Several branches were missing about two thirds of the way up leaving an obvious "bald spot." The portion above the bald spot is becoming very heavy and I'm concerned it may not be supported when it gets larger. Because of the bald area, the tree is not as attractive as it should be.
- —Guest Becky Livingston
- I am now a master gardener, but a few years ago, when I was stupid, I planted some loosestrife. Now I can't get rid of it.
- —Guest Mary Jane