2 Common DIY Landscaping Design Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

Posted on: 16 January 2017

If you just moved into a new home you love, yet you are not in love with the yard, then you may be eager to begin sprucing it up a bit. You may even be planning to embark on your first DIY landscaping venture to turn that dull yard into a plush, flower-filled paradise. Don't make the mistake that many first-time gardeners do and just run to the store, purchase a bunch of flowers, and begin planting them in your yard. This would be a recipe for disaster and likely lead to flowers that die very quickly after being planted. 

Instead, you need to produce a landscape design and really do your research before designing and eventually planting. Read on to learn about 2 mistakes many new DIY landscaping enthusiasts make and how to avoid them. 

1. Designing Your Yard Before Finding out Where Underground Utility Lines Are Located

Underground utility lines are often located just a few inches under the surface of a yard. Just two types of these lines include natural gas and water lines. The last thing you want to do is design a "new yard" that you think is absolutely perfect and then find out that an entire row of flowers you intended to plant would lie right along one of these lines!

Of course, that isn't the worst that can happen -- many homeowners begin digging in their yards to plant flowers and even install mailboxes and damage these lines. 

This is such a common problem in the United States that a free service was developed that allows all homeowners to find out where these lines are and even have professionals from the companies who own the lines come out and "mark them" to keep them safe during landscaping projects and other projects that require digging. To contact this service, you can simply dial 811 on your phone. 

Once you dial 811, you will be connected with an operator who will ask for a phone number to reach you at and your address. The operator will then get into contact with every utility company in your area and tell them that if they have lines running through your yard, that they need to mark them so you can landscape safely and without damaging them. 

The companies are given several days to allow for them to make time in their schedule to mark your yard, so call at least a few days before you plan to begin your landscape design. Once they mark them, you can then begin your design without worry of accidentally hitting one while digging. 

2. Not Checking Out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

There are a lot of climate aspects to keep in mind when choosing the plants that will thrive in your yard. The local temperature highs and lows, average rainfall, strength of the sun, and many other aspects influence whether a plant will thrive in an area of the country or not. To make it easier for gardeners to choose plants to add to their landscaping designs that are likely to thrive in their local climates, the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, created a handy Plant Hardiness Zone Map that you can use as a first step in the process of choosing the right plants and flowers for your yard. 

To use it, you simply enter your zip code into the main web page, and you will then be given the name of your zone, which will consist of a letter and a number, such as 7a or 6b. You can then do a web search to find out which plants and flower thrive in this zone. If you have gardening magazines and books you are browsing for landscaping inspiration, you will also find that many of their plant and flower descriptions will also include the numbers of zones in which the plants are likely to thrive in. 

If you planning a DIY landscaping project to give your new yard a "makeover," then keep these two common mistakes made by landscaping beginners and how to avoid them in mind. For more information, contact a landscaping company like Boyer WH.