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Top Landscaping Maintenance Mistakes That Novice Homeowners Make

by Emily Durgan | Fri, Apr 08, 2016


Northwest Florida homeowners and property investors know that outdoor living is a vital part of our lifestyle. Whether you have an outdoor living and entertaining area, a wildlife habitat, a vegetable garden, or a lush yard that filled with native Florida flowers, plants, shrubs or trees, the landscaped areas of your property will always require maintenance. Unfortunately, many novice gardeners, landscapers, and homeowners make landscape maintenance mistakes that will either cost them a lot more money or cause them to create unnecessary work for themselves.

Failing to Analyze Landscape Sites Before Planting

The Florida Yards and Neighborhoods initiative handbook emphasizes the importance of analyzing every potential planting site before planting anything in the ground. Any comprehensive site analysis should include:

  • A soil test to assess soil texture (including the respective percentages of sand, silt and clay), its pH level, and the area’s mineral levels (the source of plant nutrients.
  • The drainage quality, whether good or bad.
  • An evaluation of the sun exposure and intensity of every planting area will help you give each plant, tree or shrub, the hours of daylight and direct or indirect sun exposure it needs.
  • Analyze every environmental factor that may have an impact on how successfully plants, trees and shrubs will grow in parts of your property that experience the greatest exposure to extremes such as well water or ocean water salt spray, intense wind, or weather extremes such as drought or flooding.

Not Watering Efficiently

One of the worst grounds maintenance mistakes Northwest Florida homeowners can make, is not watering efficiently. The best time to water is very early in the morning. Let your irrigation system or sprinklers water your grass, trees, shrubs and other plants long enough to soak the soil beneath their roots. By running the water long enough to penetrate deep into the ground, you give the roots enough moisture to last until the next time you water.

Additionally, watering after sundown is discouraged because it allows plant, tree and shrub leaves to remain wet all night. When the foliage stays wet overnight, your landscape is exposed to insects and pests who come out at night in search of food and water. While it may not be possible to prevent all insect or pest infestations, good turf maintenance helps you minimize the disease and insect infestation risk potential by watering at a time that’s most beneficial for your grass and plantings.

Failing to See the Bigger Picture When Mowing the Grass

When it comes to mowing the lawn, homeowners nationwide make the same mistake: they’re overzealous. Hoping to increase the time between mowings,  anxious homeowners cut the grass way too short. Having longer grass during the summer is an advantage. It protects the soil beneath the lawn from erosion, and longer grass will allow the soil to hold moisture for a lot longer. By cutting the grass so short, you’re essentially trading one typical form of turf maintenance for another: having to water the grass more often. Improper maintenance affects more than just your lawn since you may end up spending a small fortune when you receive your water bill. 

Not Leaving Enough Space Between Plants

The University of Florida IFAS Extension advises homeowners that despite the challenges of estimating a plant’s mature size, overcrowding presents maintenance issues. When plants lack sufficient space, they can’t get adequate air circulation, which leads to an increased risk of plants or shrubs developing diseases. If you find bare space between your growing plants, consider low maintenance foliage plants that do not require ample spacing between plants to maintain their health. 

Failing to Anticipate Weed Growth

Maintaining a weed-free garden or yard is one of the most labor-intensive aspects of property maintenance. Weeds aren’t just unsightly; they also provide a breeding ground for pests and insects and offer plant-eating animals an ideal hiding place.

A simple way to reduce the amount of time you spend weeding or how often you need to do it is by covering the bare areas of your landscape under shrubs, trees, and plants with mulch.

Get Your Landscaping Maintenance Done Right The First Time

Avoid the hassle of trying to fix the landscaping mistakes that inexperienced homeowners make when trying to save money with DIY property maintenance. Mowing, mulching, installing irrigation and pruning are some of the responsibilities that residential landscape maintenance companies such as GreenEarth Landscape Services provide in Northwest Florida. 

 If you’d like a consultation or want to know what we can do to help you, give us a call at our Panama City Beach office at (850) 236-1959, or call our Santa Rosa Beach office at (850) 267-0010 to set up an appointment. You can also fill out the online form on our website to schedule a consultation.

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