Common landscape-design miscues run the gamut from the practical to the aesthetic. Here you can list the worst mistakes made in landscaping based on your own experience. Let us know what landscaping mistakes you have made -- whether small or big errors -- so that others may learn from them.
Think of this feature as a Letters to the Editor column: a spot to relate your thoughts; in this case, thoughts re: landscaping mistakes you've made. It may be tempting to ask questions or respond to another reader's thoughts, but my Landscaping forum is designed for that.Tell Us Your Mistakes
Grape Hyacinth Invasion
- These little flowers reseed like crazy. They are all over my garden and non-grassy areas. Hate them! Beware.
- —Guest Kathi
Landscaping Nightmare With Sycamore Tree
- At work there was a beautiful sycamore tree with star shaped leaves, and in the fall it turns gorgeous colors of red, yellow, etc., so I bought one. Now that it is 10+ years old it drops brown sticky balls all over the yard under it. They kill your feet if you step on them, they dull the blade on the mower. Just a total nightmare for such a pretty tree. Before you "Friend" a tree, study up on it and learn the good, the bad and the ugly!
- —Guest Markitalynn
Planting Trumpet Vine a Big Mistake
- I have a trumpet vine that has never flowered but is taking over everything. We have tried to dig it up, but the root base is a couple inches in diameter. Would love to get rid of it but it seems never ending.
- —Guest susan
Landscaping Mistake: Failure to Plan
- A landscaping mistake I make is buying too many plants without thinking where I'm gonna put them.
- —Guest brydas
Rock Gardening Mistake
- I wanted a low maintenance back yard so I ordered some beach pebbles. I thought they were the size of pea gravel as the description said 1". After my gardener put them down, I came home to find pebbles 2-4" in diameter! Now we can hardly walk in the yard without twisting an ankle and my cat hates me. If you ever put in a rock garden, make sure to check it out "in person" and not depend on the shop's on-line catalog. This was an expensive $2500 mistake!
Unwittingly Planting a "Cat Magnet"
- Had I only known that those grassy plants that I loved so much would A) get so big that they needed to be constantly cut back so the little plants next to them would get some sunlight and B) they would be a "cat magnet" -- and we all know what dogs and cats do when they eat grass! Usually at night, when we were sleeping, we would be wakened by "that" noise or worse, when we get out of bed to find kitty had left us a present right where we put our feet!
- —Guest momofem0122
Mistake Filling Fertilizer Spreader
- We were getting prepared to fertilize our lawn. Unfortunately, we had the spreader on the grass instead of the sidewalk when we poured the fertilizer in. The crack at the bottom of the spreader was open, and we spilled a lot of fertilizer on the lawn. We now have a small section of burn.
- —Guest Dina
Warning About Trumpet Vines
- I had some beautiful trumpet vine growing up the front of our pre-civil war house and I really loved it! When we reconnected our wood burning stove because of the rising cost of fuel oil, our furnace man told me that the trumpet vine was a real fire hazard during the winter. He had a customer whose house caught on fire because a spark from the chimney landed on the dried vine near the roof. (It also provided a convenient route for a large black snake to try to get in the big hall window on the second floor!) It broke my heart to cut it down, but it wasn't worth the risk. Thanks for everything you have taught me in "About Landscaping".
- —Guest Chrys
Planting Durantas in a Flower Bed
- I planted Duranta (golden dewdrop) in the front yard a year ago. I thought they were going to look attractive after growing. To my disappointment, I hated the way they came out. I think you should not plant hedges in a flower bed.
Mint and Horsetail
- Planting mint and horsetail in the ground was a big mistake. They took over my garden, and were difficult to eradicate. Never again.
- —Guest Margee Frey
Landscaping Mistake: Invasive Plants
- Ajuga, evening primrose, gooseneck, artemisia (now in a pot), violets, monarda, lily of the valley, lemon balm -- many acquired at neighbourhood plant sales. I spend more time getting rid of these than I spend on keeping my normal perennials happy.
Planting in Waterlogged Soil
- I planted banana cream daisies around my water fountain. Three died from being waterlogged by water spilling over the fountain. What can I plant now? My carefully planned layout has been been ruined. I need a plant that survives in waterlogged soil.
- —Guest dee kay6
Not the Effect I Was Going For
- Two years ago I planted tulip bulbs in my shallow flower bed. I bought a bag of 12 bulbs thinking I could put four around each of the three trees in this bed. I should have bought much much more. When spring arrived what surfaced was a sparse row of "soldiers," and misaligned at that. I would have gotten more impact from choosing one spot in the flower bed and bunching them all together. I learned my lesson from this landscaping mistake: I planted 30 tulip bulbs and 75 daffodils last fall. This year's show should be much more interesting!
- —Guest nursevespa
My Landscaping Mistakes: Where to Begin?
- Hmmm. The first year I got the bug to garden (I was 25 and clueless), I went to the garden center in July and asked which seeds I could buy to have plants that summer. Planting tiny little edging plants not meant to attain any size as anchors in my "landscape." Hmmm, Surface watering. The worst thing is the thing I still do sometimes -- buy plants on impulse and then not plant them, but leave them in their plastic pots and eventually they die. Oh, I could go on.
- —Guest Maureen
Terrible Black Walnut Tree
- I bought a house next door to a gigantic black walnut. Poor me! It is awful. Almost nothing will grow under it... mud, mud, mud. And the walnuts are deadly when they drop in the fall. Clean up is devastating. Next time I buy a house (and I am dying to move because of this awful tree) I will do my homework about the trees surrounding the property.
- —Guest Sarah