A garden left on its own can get out of hand quickly. Without regular landscape maintenance that follows a detailed plan of action, your landscape will in time stray far from the original design and run wild in every direction. Looking at that cacophony of a yard one day you might find yourself thinking “how did we get here?” Landscaped spaces can definitely get to the point where there is too much of a good thing. That’s when you know your overgrown landscape is past due for a makeover.
Taming a Garden Gone Wild with Landscape Renovation
When it comes to corrective action, there are both temporary and permanent fixes. You might, for example, transplant unsuitably large plants and shrubs farther from the house and replace aggressive plants with ones that like to share space. Also, you can trim shrubs back and prune trees to restore order in the landscape. But do keep in mind that if plants aren’t suited to the amount of space available, they won’t be able to fill out naturally and you’ll be overspending on maintenance to force them into an unnatural shape.
The truth is, most landscapes need to be updated about every ten to fifteen years. The key to success here is to work from a comprehensive design and maintenance program that pulls everything together and ensures the longevity of your landscaping efforts. Sure, you can go about the process with an ala carte approach. But without a plan, it’s easy to end up where you started and have to repeat the process sooner than you might like.
Don’t Hide Your Beautiful House in the Bushes
Evidence of growth and vigor in a landscape is a good thing. You just want to plan and maintain carefully to make sure you don’t end up with too much of a good thing. The goal is to achieve visual balance with the different sizes and shapes by layering the landscape. That is, you want to stage your plantings in layers so that each element holds its own space and contributes to the overall composition without crowding or obscuring other elements–or overgrowing the house!
Gardens and landscapes are dynamic living organisms. You can’t force them to stay “picture perfect” because that picture is in a process of continual change. Here are some guidelines to help you to tame a garden gone wild.
Right Plant in the Right Place
One of the main challenges with an unwieldy landscape comes down to plant placement–putting the right plant in the right place. Each type of plant–whether ground cover, flower, shrub, or tree–must be placed in an area that is suitable for its sun and moisture needs–and, most importantly, for the expected size it will reach in maturity.
The most common mistake we see is large plants that were installed much too close to the house.
That skinny sapling you planted is going to branch out into a robust tree. That hydrangea started small, but it will take over its corner of the yard. That ground cover that looked so nice in that shady patch has done so well for itself that it is spilling over the lawn and into the adjoining flower beds. It’s a common mistake to underestimate how big and how fast plants grow. And when plants grow beyond expectations—especially when placed close to the house, the problem is compounded.
Think Ahead: Plant Size at Maturity
Another solution to avoid an overgrown landscape is to choose dwarf varieties of your favorite plants. You probably have preferences for plants and shrubs that you enjoy and want to incorporate into your gardens. Growers have developed hybrid species to meet those needs. So maybe you love viburnums. They usually grow to 8 ft but the dwarf will stop at about 4 ft. There are also Japanese maples and slow-growing evergreens that naturally grow to fill out a small silhouette.
Taking the Good and Making it Better: Landscape Renovation
However overgrown things have gotten, your landscape no doubt has elements that are worth preserving. But they need to be supplemented to create a cohesive look that will last without major overhaul for a decade or more. Consider adding new elements such as ground covers that are consistently placed around the yard, maybe in front of existing beds to expand them, and also to tie together with the overall look. A focus on simplicity and unity is a good place to start your planning.
You may discover that some simple fixes are in order, or it may be that your landscape has reached that point where it has aged out of its best producing years. In that case, getting the look you want requires new plant selections, some new design elements, and a detailed landscape maintenance program to modernize your landscape and bring it up to full potential.
The key to success is to start with a comprehensive design that pulls everything together and ensures the longevity of your landscaping efforts. And find the right landscape maintenance partner to provide ongoing care and guidance, a landscape firm that has horticultural expertise and a solid design sensibility.
Are you wondering how to bring out the fullest expression in your landscape and gardens? Our eBook: Choosing the Right Kind of Landscape Maintenance Firm, is full of valuable information to help you understand the fundamental differences between landscape maintenance companies.