The look of a landscape can either make or break a home.

Think about the homes in your neighborhood. There are those that stand out thanks to a beautiful landscape and those that stand out for the opposite reason – an outdated or unkempt landscape.

Did you know that a good landscape can add up to 28% to overall home value. When you’re selling your home, the property’s landscape is the first thing potential buyers see. And as the saying goes, first impressions are everything.

So if you’re looking to improve the landscape of your home, either to sell it or for your own enjoyment, be sure to avoid these 10 common landscape mistakes.

1. Not having a plan

I know, you’re eager to start. It’s an exciting time for you and your yard. But before you go planting or building, it’s important to have a plan. You don’t want to do something that’s going to end up costing you more time and money, not to mention look unappealing. After all, the goal is to make your yard look good. So before you bust out the tools and hit the home department stores, decide on a specific theme or look and sketch it out. Figure out where you want to place those plants, lawn ornaments, retaining walls and landscape beds, and don’t forget to set a budget that includes everything your project will need, including the costs of disposing of the yard waste.

2. Planting in the wrong place

While people may have the space to plant, they often don’t take into consideration the proper amount of sunlight and exposure for their plants. When purchasing plants, be sure to read the tag that states proper placement, pruning needs, and more. In terms of planting trees, take in mind how big they can get and how much space they’re going to need. Plant Finder is a great source to find out how fast and how big plants will grow.


3. Failing to fertilize properly

Fertilizer is any material of natural or synthetic origin that is applied to soils to supply one or more plant nutrients, which is important for healthy plant growth and development. Nitrogen (leaf growth), phosphorus (development of roots, flowers, seeds, fruits), and potassium (strong stem growth, movement of water in plants, promotion of flowering and fruiting) are the three main macronutrients of fertilizer. The mistakes in fertilizing are (1) not doing it at all and (2) fertilizing too much or fertilizing improperly. It’s good to fertilize your lawn at least twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Water needs to follow after applying fertilizer.


4. Incorrect irrigation

Water is a basic necessity and an essential part of life. And just like we need it, so does your lawn. Water is essential to lawns, but too much or too little can be harmful to them, not to mention the time of day. It’s best to water in the morning, between 6-10 a.m., due to the fact there’s less wind, less hot sun, and your lawn has all day to dry. Watering at night could bring mildew and fungus. There are many homeowners who make the mistake of over-watering, which drowns the plant’s roots. Most lawns need about an inch of water per week. Sprinklers with automatic timers or irrigation systems are options to reduce water waste.


5. Cutting grass too short

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy cutting grass. Sunny day, headphones in, and trying to get those lines as straight as possible. The less amount of grass you cut, the better. By cutting grass too short, a bare patch could appear, which leaves the lawn prone to invasion by weeds and insects. During the summer, your lawn needs more shade, so allow the blades of grass to grow a little more. The less grass you cut each time out, the thicker and healthier your lawn is likely to become.

Typical seasonal height variations:

  • Allow all grasses to grow taller in summer and during drought.
  • Mow warm-season turf shorter in spring to remove dead grass blades.
  • Mow cool-season grasses shorter for the final fall mowing in snow prone regions to help prevent snow mold.
  • Allow grasses growing in shade to grow taller.


6. Kicking the curb appeal

Don’t judge a book by its cover is something we’ve all heard before. While that’s true, having a book cover that stands out certainly doesn’t hurt. It’s what draws someone in and peaks their interest. The same goes for a house. First impressions are everything, and when people come to your house for the first time, you want the front of your house to look good and inviting. Checkout these incredibly easy ways to add curb appeal that will give your house a lasting impression.


7. Too much ornamentation

Pink flamingos, garden gnomes, bird baths … These are some of the most popular lawn ornaments around. Some people feature one of, if not all three, in there front yard. You either think they look good or you don’t. The people that do, however, sometimes make the mistake of putting too many of these decorative items in their front yard. Having too many of these ornaments can be a distraction from the natural beauty of one’s landscape. Before placing a lawn ornament in your yard, ask yourself why are you putting it there and how does it fit with the overall look of your landscape. When it comes to lawn ornaments, less is more, unless you’re decorating your yard for Halloween or Christmas.


8. Overlooking exterior lighting

One of the mistakes people make when planning out their yard is only visualizing how it will look during the day. What about at night, though? After all, it’s nice to sit outside at night when the weather allows it. And when that happens, it’s good to have some exterior lighting. Exterior lighting improves the overall look of a yard and really makes it stand out, such as solar lights, which are simple and can easily be placed in the ground.


9. No variety

Too much of the same thing is redundant and boring. When you’re planting, it’s best to intermingle various shapes and sizes of plants to create visual interest – something that’s exciting and stands out. Certain plants need certain nutrients, so if you plant the same plant multiple times, you run the risk of them sucking all of those nutrients out of the soil.


10. Not accounting for wildlife

You know your yard better than anyone else. Take a look around and see what animals consistently come around. Deer, rabbits, raccoons, squirrels …, whatever the case may be. Consider what animals are around and then decide what to plant. If you want to keep deer away from your garden, they tend to avoid plants with a strong fragrance, irritating textures, or ones that upset their stomachs. There’s also Deer Off, a repellent that also fends off rabbits and squirrels.