How Not To Landscape Your Yard


How not to landscape your yard is one of my favorite topics, I walk my dogs once or twice a day so I have plenty of time to notice the crazy things that people do around my neighborhood.  I have also been known to stop and get out of my car to get a particularly offensive “how not to landscape” photo.  Sometimes I just can’t resist.

This edition of How not to landscape your yard has two main categories, the first is:

It is DEAD, just remove it!

How Not To Landscape Dead 3

This poor tree would be so much happier without it’s dead wrap around skirt.

How Not to Landscape Dead 2

Two are green one is brown, maybe it is dead?  Ya think?  Don’t even get me started on the shapes here.

How Not to Landscape Dead 1

I understand the dead grass, people don’t know how to cycle water and can’t figure out what else to do but a dead stump in the middle of your yard – can’t be good.  Definitely isn’t good feng shui!

Of course there is a lot more than dead plants when it comes to how not to landscape your yard.  My second category is a one that I talk about all the time.  Homeowners and landscape janitors alike need to learn how to read the plant tags, they tell you how big things get.

Size Matters:

Here are some of the crazy ways people prune to try to keep a plant in a space that it just doesn’t belong.

How Not to Landscape Size 1

This beautiful, colorful, butterfly attracting lantana doesn’t stand a chance against a chainsaw or hedge trimmers (which you know I think should be outlawed except for taking down trees.

This is what it should look like:

August - Lantana w-Painted Lady Valencia

How Not to landscape Size 4

Poor, sad Dusty Miller.  I know it all looks cute in the pot but if you water the plant it will grow to the size it should be which apparently isn’t as small as you think.

How Not to landscape Size 2 How Not to Landscape Size 3

The poor Dietes or Fortnight Lily, they do beautifully in Southern California but they do get big!  If you let your landscape janitor trim the heck out of them, they #1 look like crap #2 become unhealthy #3 become a compacted mess that is the perfect haven for RATS!  Is that what you meant to plant, a nest for momma and baby rats?  Well that is what you have here.

Now, if you give this plant a little room, it will open up, have a nice arching structure and produce lovely flowers that look like butterflies.  Plant them on a slope or big area that you can give them room, they are very water wise.  Just don’t cramp them into a small space.  Here is what they should look like:

How Not to Landscape Size Works

Notice the lovely mulch to keep them happy?  You can do that too.

No edition of How Not To Landscape Your Yard would be complete without the improperly placed tree.  I’m not sure if I should blame the homeowner or a bird (for dropping the seed) but clearly the homeowner didn’t see fit to move it while there was a chance.  This poor tree is not happy.  It kind of looks drunk to me.

How Not to Landscape Tree placement

Sorry it is such a dark photo – but I was walking at 7:00pm.

Here is my last how not to landscape your yard photo.  This is what a drought tolerant landscape should NOT look like:

How Not to Landscape Drought Tolerant

This is more like it:

Drought Tolerant Pathway & Beds

If you want to learn about How to Landscape with Drought Tolerant Plants, come listen to me speak at Old Town Newhall Library next Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 11:00 am.  The library is located at 24500 Main Street in Newhall, Ca. 91321.  I look forward to seeing you there.





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