Classy garden tips: Mistakes to be avoided | homify

Classy garden tips: Mistakes to be avoided

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Traditional Garden Unique Landscapes Country style garden
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We know the importance of beautiful interiors: a spotless bathroom floor, a fluffy living room sofa, and kitchen countertops clean enough to eat off. That’s all fine and well, but what about those exterior spaces, such as the garden? 

Yes, the garden, if you are fortunate to have one, undoubtedly also needs to look prim and proper, as it can play venue to a host of different activities—from relaxation zone and party spot to al fresco dining venue—which is exactly why you need to keep a clear head when losing yourself in garden work.

Today on homify, we lend a helping hand (as always) by pinpointing fourteen common errors made by most of us when it comes to garden touch ups. 

Let’s see what they are and, more importantly, how to avoid them.

Mistake 1: No master plan

Like anything in life, some pre-planning is in order when gardening to avoid a chaotic looking space. 

Begin by dividing your garden into three segments: public spaces such as the front garden and driveway, private spaces like the patio, and utility spaces for things like the shed and rubbish bins. 

Decide from the very start what should go where and do not stray from your plan as you landscape.

Mistake 2: No labelling

How are you going to know what those wee little greens are if you don’t label them? Labelling plants in your garden helps you remember what was planted where, preventing your outdoor space from falling into disarray. 

Opt for metal labels with wire loops tied loosely onto branches, or thin and natural looking bamboo sticks to remind you what is where.

Mistake 3: No garden calendar

raised beds border edging Quercus UK Ltd Minimalist style garden
Quercus UK Ltd

raised beds border edging

Quercus UK Ltd

It helps you to keep track of birthdays, so why not dates for planting, fertilising, and other garden work? 

Plus, opting not to keep a garden calendar can make that yard work seem overwhelming and more challenging than it has to be.

Mistake 4: No unity

Traditional Garden Unique Landscapes Country style garden
Unique Landscapes

Traditional Garden

Unique Landscapes

Those plants and flowers make up an image that will either contrast with or complement your house’s exterior look (can you see why the planning phase is important?). 

Mind your home’s architecture when planting a garden – a modern home, for example, might look better when combined with traditional and formal beds instead of an unruly, natural looking garden. 

And opt for flower colours that can boost your house’s façade tones.

Mistake 5: Not minding trees

Trees that stand alone can look as an afterthought. Rather tie them together by planting a curved bed inbetween them, such as with shade-tolerant shrubs or spring-flowering bulbs.

Spreading groundcover plants is a terrific low-maintenance option that a lot of professional gardeners opt for – now you know why.

Mistake 6: Letting your garden rule you

That big, lush garden you are planning will require maintenance, so ensure you can commit before you start planting anything. 

Make sure that you are realistic and practical about your garden work and that it won’t become a project you will tire of (or grow scared of) quickly.

Mistake 7: Not staking beds

​London Kitchen Garden - Small Garden Design by LS+L homify Rustic style garden Wood Multicolored

​London Kitchen Garden—Small Garden Design by LS+L


Before planting a flowerbed, stake the borders so that the end product matches what you envisioned. 

A few stakes and string can help plan out a linear/rigid shape, while a garden hose can lay out a nice curved bed.

Mistake 8: Forgetting about water

Remember that trees can have an impact on a garden’s aquatic system. 

Opt for trees that won’t litter or block your fountain’s and pond’s surfaces when shedding in autumn. And plant them far enough so that they don’t cast too much shade, or their roots don’t weaken those pond walls.

Mistake 9: Not landscaping pond edges

Not adding edging can make that garden pond look unfinished and like a rushed job.

For formal ponds, we recommend brick edging for a clean-looking appearance. But if it’s a natural-looking pond you seek, rather go with stone edges for a more visually appealing look.

Mistake 10: Mowing too low

Scalping your grass (cutting it too short) can lead to a messy-looking space, and will also weaken those grass roots.

Although the ideal height for your lawn depends on your type of grass, rather leave them too long than too short.

Mistake 11: Overfeeding your lawn

Do you know what happens to a lawn that gets too much fertiliser? Its roots grow excessively, causing a need for the grass to be mowed more often. This creates more work for you and your garden may look untidy between cuttings. 

Also remember to buy fertiliser formulated to your specific type of grass – ask your friendly local nursery worker for advice on this.

Mistake 12: Mowing wet grass

Mowing wet grass can cause clippings to form clumps that will smother the lawn, as well as clog up your mower blade. This can also make mowing a dangerous task, seeing as wet grass is very slippery. 

Always wear durable shoes when mowing to avoid losing a toe or two.

Mistake 13: Not planning for future shrub sizes

Before loading up those shrubs at the nursery, check the tag to see how tall and wide they will become when mature. 

Never underestimate the size of a fully-grown shrub, which can make garden work and planning much more difficult on your part.

Mistake 14: Not pruning properly

If you want to indulge in proper pruning, you need to time those clippings accurately to ensure the best looking shrub blooms. 

Early bloomers like forsythias and rhododendrons should be pruned immediately after they flower, while late bloomers (such as hybrid tea roses) need to be pruned in early spring to encourage more growth. 

In keeping with our love for beauty, we bring you these: 16 Garden Fences Your Neighbour Would Definitely Copy.

What tips did we miss to avoid a scruffy garden?

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