News / 

Tips To Help You Design A More Successful Landscape

Tips To Help You Design A More Successful Landscape

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

These tips will help you design a more successful landscape or help you add new beauty to an existing one.

When you plant, create a 3-dimensional effect. Avoid crushing all the plants up against the house or fence.

Allow space for the plants to grow to their natural size and shape.

Small plants fill in slowly at first, but within a few years, they create an excellent visual effect and stay attractive for many years.

Allow shrubs to grow to their natural form. Do not trim with hedge clippers to make them fit or to prevent them from getting too tall.

Freeform shrubs are always the most attractive unless the entire landscape is dedicated to a formal, highly-maintained area.

Select plant materials with a mature height of 1one half the height of the eves of the home. These plant materials frame the home and remain functional for many years. Taller plants require much higher maintenance because they need extensive pruning.

Place lower plants next to the door to draw the eye to the focal point and create a warm, eye-appealing look. Choose small growing plants that emphasize focal points.

Small, well-chosen plants lead the eye toward the focal point. They should not detract from it nor interfere with the form and function of the landscape.

Do not place large plants under windows. Constant trimming to keep plants away from windows is time consuming and difficult, increasing maintenance time and costs.

Select plants that will stay within the bounds of the landscape design.

Do not clutter the lawn. Lawns add perspective and depth to the landscape. Breaking up the lawn into dozens of small, individual areas aesthetically unattractive. It is a maintenance nightmare because of trimming and mowing around so many individual plants.

Choose small spreading shrubs. Framing each individual window bisects the home and detracts from the focal point. As these plants grow larger, the condition becomes worse and the landscape becomes less attractive

Avoid planting large trees next to homes. The classic mistake is tiny, one-gallon size blue spruces planted next to the home. For a few years, these grow and stay within bounds, but soon need removal. Removal may destroy parts of the home landscape.

Large trees next to the home also may damage shingles, siding and in extreme cases may damage foundations. Avoid a zigzag pattern across the front of the home. Zigzag patterns make a cold, harsh look in front of the home rather than framing it and drawing the eye to the focal point.

Plants next to the door or focal point should be smaller than on corner plantings.

Advanced Landscape Design with Larry Sagers. Class is starting this Tuesday at Thanksgiving Point. Check their website at for more information.

Larry A. Sagers Extension Horticulture Specialist Utah State University Thanksgiving Point Office

Related links

Larry A. Sagers


    Catch up on the top news and features from, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast