A lot of people can put plants in the ground and a lot of people call themselves landscape designers but that doesn’t mean they are good at what they do. I had an opportunity to redesign this landscape in Bridgewater, CT. At the time, the house was only seven years old and the landscape was already way past its prime. Why? Improper plant placement and improper plant selection. A lack of a garden maintenance program also had a little to do with the jungle like appearance of this garden. Consumers, and in this case professionals, need to realize that gardens are not static. Landscapes are constantly growing, moving forwards towards a better place or they are moving backwards towards failure. When choosing plants for a landscape design or picking plants at a nursery, you always have to be asking yourself three questions.
1. What is this plant going to look like in 2, 5, 10 or even 20 years down the road?
2. Where is it going to fit into my landscape?
3. Do I have the proper environment to grow this plant?
One of my favorite trees is the European Copper Beech. That doesn’t mean I plant Copper Beech trees every where I go. In fact, after twenty plus years in the landscape design and installation business, I have yet to plant one. Why? Because at maturity many reach 100′ tall and wide. Not many properties can accommodate a tree of that stature. Yes, I could plant a small Copper Beech tree but overtime it will grow and at some point it will either need to be moved from the property or cut down. Wouldn’t it make more sense for me to chose a plant that won’t dominate its surroundings right from the start? The depth of the garden bed in the picture below was predetermined by the existing stone wall. At 15′ deep why would anyone plant a weeping cherry let alone two is such a small bed? A rather fast growing tree, it can have a mature height and width of 40′. Whatever garden maintenance schedule you are on, this garden was doomed from the start.
Unfortunately, most of this landscape was removed and sent through a chipper. We were able to salvage some of the smaller plants and reposition them into more logical groupings. To finish off this landscape renovation, we brought in more appropriate plants for the garden with a lot more perennials for seasonal color. The picture below is the new landscape. This new landscape is much more appropriate for the scale of the house and with proper maintenance, this landscape should give many years of enjoyment.