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By: Leah Carlisle
Many people want to create and/or maintain their own landscapes, and this is an excellent form of do-it-yourself work that can be great for your home; however, errors happen. Whether they cause real damage or just put a damper on you enjoying your yard, mistakes are problematic yet preventable. Read on to learn about seven of the most common landscaping mistakes people make and what you can do to avoid making them.

Getting started without making a plan first. As with all projects, you need a plan before you proceed. Think about your entire yard in the long run, make at least a rough sketch, and then stick to your plan. In this planning step and subsequent implementation, don’t forget about the front yard—if you do, you will be wasting potential value and losing curb appeal.
Forgetting about functionality. The first thing that usually gets considered is how you are going to make the lawn look beautiful and exciting. It is fun to think about how you want the yard to look, but it is critical that you keep functionality in mind as well. Aesthetics and functionality are not mutually exclusive—you can do both! Be practical and plan according to your specific needs and how you will be using the outdoor space.
Overdoing it. Homeowners can get very excited about their plans for their outdoor spaces and, as a result, go overboard with decorations and plants. Too many decorative items can end up detracting from natural beauty.
Being too linear. You may be inclined to keep everything straight and grid-like, but more often than not this ends up looking severe and uninviting. Play into your lawn’s natural curves and bumps in order to increase aesthetic appeal. Well-designed landscapes include interesting shapes and movement.
Neglecting the cooler seasons. Spring and summer are seen as the priority for working on your landscape and garden. Both fall and winter are also critical times, however, and homeowners often ignore them. Fall is an ideal time for color and maintenance, and winter decor is important. Certain plants are ripe for planting during these colder seasons, so don’t let them fall to the wayside.
Mowing your grass too short. People may do this to save time, as they think it means they don’t have to mow as frequently. Acting according to this myth brings more harm than good. Grass that is too short is more susceptible to disease and pests. Additionally, sensitive root systems become open to excessive amounts of sunlight and the ability to produce sugar from photosynthesis is limited. Avoid this damaging course of action and adjust blade heights according to the season—slightly higher in the summer to provide more shade and a tiny bit shorter in the winter to absorb more sunlight into the soil.
Detrimental watering habits. Many homeowners overwater their lawns, watering too frequently or with too much volume. 0.5-1 inch of water per week is what is needed for most lawns. You should not water when it rains, and irrigation systems should not deliver more than 0.5-0.75 inches at once. Also, some people think that watering at night will conserve water, while the reality is that doing so fosters germination of fungus and disease. Be conscious and don’t make these mistakes.

The average homeowner is far from an expert in gardening and landscaping. Utilizing a professional is one way to avoid many amateur mistakes, but many people want to do it themselves. Even with professional services, any maintenance or updating you want to do on your own can bring errors that could negatively impact your Nashville home. Staying attentive and addressing such mistakes as the ones above will make your landscape the best it can be.

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