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Landscaping mistakes and gardening blunders to avoid

What to know what landscaping mistakes to avoid? Grab your gardening gloves and buckle up while we navigate the winding paths of garden design faux pas. Learn from the mistakes of others and forge a path towards glorious gardens filled with beauty, harmony, and just the right amount of pizazz.

Landscaping mistakes to avoid

When it comes to gardening and design, unfortunate landscaping mistakes happen all the time. With temperamental growing conditions, overly ambitious projects, and the notorious English weather wreaking havoc on anything you put in the soil, it’s a wonder people try to maintain any greenery at all.

Even so, we’re here to guide you through the treacherous pitfalls and blunders plaguing many unsuspecting garden enthusiasts. And fear not – even the greenest of thumbs struggle to succeed at times.

From outdated design choices transporting us back in time to gardens Tarzan would feel at home in, let’s explore the landscaping mistakes people most often regret making.

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Taking a trip down memory lane

Despite the sweet nostalgia of the ’70s (psychedelic patterns and lava lamps anyone?), let’s face it: we don’t want our gardens resembling an era shag-pile carpet and woodchip wallpaper were considered trendy.

Imagine stepping into your garden and instantly feeling transported to a discothèque, complete with neon plastic flamingos and neighbours in flared jeans and open-collared shirts. (If you think this sounds incredible, we suggest you move to Vegas).

Our point is, it’s time to bid farewell to dated landscaping choices. Avoid incorporating fads that will fall out of favour quicker than a disco beat (*cough* gnomes *cough*).

Opt for timeless designs that withstand the test of time, which will ensure your garden remains stylish and relevant for years to come.


Cramming in too much

Close your eyes and imagine a serene, well-organised garden. Imagine flowers dancing harmoniously and hedges standing tall and proud.

Now, open your eyes and imagine trying to create this grand design by cramming every plant, sculpture, and water feature into your tiny outdoor space. What does it look like?

A chaotic mess that would give Picasso a headache, right? Right. Let’s avoid this by embracing the principles of balance, proportion, and simplicity.

In other words, create focal points, establish pathways that effortlessly flow from one point to the next, and allow plants to breathe and grow.

Remember: your garden should be a work of art, not a cluttered storage unit.

Related content: Discover our Garden storage ideas for ways to keep your outdoor space clean and tidy.

Landscaped garden


Green thumbs gone rogue

We all fancy ourselves horticultural geniuses from time to time (despite the eighty-fifth orchid we’ve killed and the cactus mush we refuse to stop misting).

However, even the greenest of thumbs lead us astray and straight into the compost heap if we’re not careful.

Many homeowners have eagerly bought a beautiful new plant baby, only to discover – to their horror – it’s engulfed their home, their cat, and the local post-person in a leafy embrace. (Yes, they bought a vine).

To avoid this kind of senseless horticultural chaos, do your research. Only choose plants well-suited to the typical weather where you live, and consider the position of your garden (north, east, south, west), and whether shade or bordering neighbours impacts the kind of plants you can nurture.

For example, some plants are considered weeds, invasive species, and/or high maintenance, which means they need regular pruning to stop them from overgrowing.

In short, a little foresight will save you from an overgrown jungle and potential neighbourhood disputes.

clearing overgrown garden

Overlooking proper drainage

Imagine designing your garden with painstaking care, including hand-selecting plants and arranging them with the precision of an ancient druid. Now, imagine that every time it rains, your garden turns into the waterlogged swamp of every crocodile’s dream.

Avoid this soggy nightmare by installing proper drainage. Otherwise, your beautiful flowerbeds will become makeshift swimming pools for your plants. (NB: they hate that).

To prevent this, take a look at your garden’s natural slope and work out where the water pools. Once identified, install drainage systems where needed.

Consider using gravel or permeable materials to allow the water to seep into the ground (your plants will thank you for keeping their feet dry!).

Related content: Garden drainage system cost.

Garden drainage system cost

Not doing regular maintenance

Top tip: Let your imagination run wild, but don’t let your garden do the same!

If you let nature take its course and your garden transforms into a tangled wilderness reminiscent of a fairy tale gone wrong, you can’t say we didn’t warn you.

Remember, gardens require regular maintenance. If you neglect pruning, weeding, and general upkeep, expect an unruly and overgrown mess.

We highly recommend scheduling regular garden maintenance sessions. Of course, whether you embrace your inner pruner to keep your outdoor space in check or hire a professional, your garden will thank you.

Even so, we suspect that once you see the flourishing blooms and enjoy a more manageable appearance, you’ll want to keep it that way.

Man pruning a hedge with secateurs - a lack of garden maintenance is one of the biggest landscaping mistakes

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Putting the patio in the wrong place

You’ve meticulously planned your perfect patio area, where festoon lights line the periphery of a roaring fire pit. But alas, you’ve overlooked a critical detail – the actual placement of your patio.

Instead of basking in glorious rays, you find yourself shivering in the shadows or enduring scorching heat with no respite.

Let’s avoid this sun-seeking mishap, shall we? Consider the sun’s path throughout the day and strategically position your patio to maximise its glorious heat (or provide shade, depending on your preferences).

A well-placed patio lets you fully enjoy your outdoor space at any time of day.

Related content: Read our 7 stylish garden patio ideas for some extra inspiration. 

Well positioned patio


Not coordinating your landscaping and home

Creating a harmonious union between your home and garden is key to creating a visually stunning and cohesive outdoor space.

For example, if you have a sleek modern home but your garden is a chaotic mishmash of various styles, leaving your curb appeal lacking, there are ways to avoid this fate.

Take cues from your home’s current architecture, such as its colour scheme and overall aesthetic, and use this to guide your garden design choices.

Whether you opt for a contemporary garden to complement a modern terrace or a cottage garden to enhance the charm of a traditional house, adding a seamless connection between indoor and outdoor spaces increases the appeal of your home.

Impressive garden landscaping

Not adding raised flower beds

Oh, the woes of bending and squatting to tend to your plants! |f you’ve ever embarked on a gardening project, only to discover your back protests with every weed you pull or seed you plant, we have the perfect solution.

Embrace the beauty and practicality of a raised flowerbed. They save the plants within from dog tramples and small critters, reduce strain on your back and knees, and also offer better drainage and improved soil quality.

Furthermore, they’re a stylish design element that elevates your garden in more ways than one.

Related content: Here’s How to build a raised bed and the Cost of building a raised garden bed!


Raised flower beds

No access to water

Water – the elixir of life for your plants and the lifeline to a flourishing garden. Just imagine enthusiastically tending to your garden with freshly rooted plants before realising your only current access to water is the pending rainstorm (it’s the UK, after all).

Cue a mad dash with a rusted watering can or lichen-covered hose as you drag it across your garden, hoping to bed in the plants before they wilt to nothing.

Of course, you want to avoid this parched predicament. So, install water butts to collect rainwater, invest in an outdoor tap, or strategically place hose connections for easy access.

Having a water source within reach means staying on top of your plants’ well-being with ease. (Also, it saves you from endless sprints with leaky watering cans).

domestic rainwater harvesting system in garden

Not adding storage

Every gardener needs a trusty sidekick – a place to store tools, pots, and all the essentials that make gardening a breeze.

No one likes being knee-deep in planting projects, bereft of easy-access tools that are somehow randomly scattered around the garden. It’s disorganised and chaotic, not to mention inconvenient and time-consuming.

Let’s avoid this disorganised chaos by adding a storage option to your garden. For example, consider a shed or storage bin to keep your tools and equipment neatly tucked away.

A well-planned storage solution keeps your garden clutter-free and makes sure everything has a rightful place. Consequently, you save precious time and prevent those frantic searches for a missing trowel.

Related content: How big can I build a shed without planning permission?

Final thoughts

Now you’re armed with tales of misguided gnome choices, vine-induced mayhem, and soggy garden fiascos, you’re ready to tackle your landscaping project with confidence and avoid these mistakes.

Bid farewell to dated designs, embrace balance and simplicity in your garden, choose plants wisely, address drainage concerns, and stay on top of maintenance.

In other words, let your garden be a testament to your green thumb prowess. Make it a sanctuary of beauty and tranquillity that stands the test of time.

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