13 Common Landscape Mistakes: 7. Not Establishing Any Plant Layering

Prospective clients call us all the time because they are not happy with their current landscape.  When I show up to analyze the landscape they are currently living with, one of the problems I often see is usually a lack of plant layering.  To me, it often seems like garden and garden beds are an afterthought to what is typically a large, 2 story house.  A sliver or small ribbon of plantings, made up with plants all of a similar size.,  is not sufficient to seat the architecture within the landscape. 

Hence, the landscape and architecture usually ends up looking ridiculous.  Neither house or landscape is working together as one.   The solution is to pull the garden beds out, away from the house, and create a garden that is an appropriate size for the house.  Widening the garden beds will also give you the opportunity to create some plant layering or hierarchy.  Lining the house with evergreen and deciduous shrubs is a good start towards creating a garden but take the garden to the next level.  Adding various sub shrubs, perennials and groundcovers will create a garden that is multidimensional as well as multiseasonal. 

To see some gardens where layering occurs, visit our portfolio.

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Richard Schipul
Richard Schipul

For the last 30 years, I have owned the landscape company Designing Eden LLC based in New Milford, CT. We offer landscape designs, landscape installations and garden maintenance services in Fairfield and Litchfield County Connecticut. I am currently the only Nationally Certified Landscape Designer in Litchfield County and sit on the board of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and Mad Gardeners.


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