Ashleigh Smith + photo

Ashleigh Smith

Mar 19
4 min read
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Landscape with trees and flowers

With the summer season approaching, landscaping projects are soon to be underway. Before starting your next project, consider these 5 common pitfalls of landscaping. By planning ahead and making smart choices regarding soil health, plant selection, and maintenance needs, you can set yourself up for success. Afterall, a healthy garden is a happy garden.

1. Neglecting Soil Health

While planting a garden is exciting, it is important to not overlook the foundational source of nutrients your plants will draw from. Before planting, start by understanding the qualities of your soil. Is there somethign that needs to change? Does your soil drain? Is it too heavy? Too sandy? These are all traits that can lead to poor plant health if not addressed from the start. Getting a soil test is the easiest way to gether this information and more! The information found in a soil analysis report can help you understand what your soil needs to be amended with and what nutrients are already where you need them.

2. Ignoring Plant Compatibility

In addition to understanding your soil, it is also important to observe other key growing features such as the amound of light different areas of your garden receive. Many beginners get ahead of themselves by selecting plants for areas where they are bound to struggle. Make sure you are researching and selecting plants that have needs that match what your gardening space is able to provide relating to sunlight, soil qualities, and maintenance needs you are willing to match.

3. Overcrowding Plants

Plants are like people. Some like more space and air than others. By following recommended spacing measurements you can provide enough room for your plants to grow in a healthy environment. Overcrowding can lead to poor access to light and reduced air circulation that becomes a breeding ground for disease. We recommend utilizing vertical growing tools such as trellises to make the best use of a growing space while protecting the health of your garden. Regularly inspecting plants for signs of pest or disease will also help to maintain a healthy growing space.

4. Neglecting Maintenance

Gardens really are work. Fun work, but work nonetheless. Once you get the plants in the ground, don't walk away. Regularly return to your growing space for ongoing maintenance. It is important to keep an eye on your garden all season long to identify the first signs of pest damage and disease to quickly treat it before too much damage has occured. This will also help you to identify changing watering needs, signs of nutrient deficiency, and competing weeds that should be removed.

5. Poor Watering Practices

Many gardeners fall victim to over or underwatering. This can be one of the hardest things to understand when it comes to the world of gardening. How much water you need to apply will largely depend on your local climate and the type of plants you have. Your local agricultural extention office can be a great source for understanding what type of watering schedules are recommended for your region and plant types. When considering an irrigation system, we recommend using a drip system as this will give you control to increase or decrease how much water your garden is receiving throughout the season. If you live in a climate prone to a hot and dry growing season, consider amending your soil with water retentive amendments such as Retain water retention crystals, coco coir, or peat. To increase drainage consider sand or perlite amendments.

Landscaping your property is a fun and rewarding accomplishment that can become a source of pride and joy for decades to come when thoughtful decisions are made from the very start. By avoiding these common pitfalls you are well on your way to a stunning and healthy landscape.

Contributing Author:

Lara Wadsworth, True Leaf Market Writer

I am a native of Southwestern Michigan, where I also reside, and I love all things plants! I got a Bachelor's Degree in Horticulture and found the first work-from-home job I could get. Now, I spend my days writing for TLM, playing with my dog, eating delicious food with my husband, and plotting my next landscape or gardening move. I believe everyone should get down and dirty in the soil now and then. Happy Gardening!

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