pro tip: landscapes take time

Design School

When working with clients on a landscape design, I balance so many different things. We want an instant landscape, but we need to watch the budget. We want low maintenance plantings, but we want instant gratification. I often remind my clients that landscapes take time to grow. Just about every picture on Pinterest or Houzz is of a mature landscape – time has gone by for the plants to grow in.

new landscape planting

All landscape plantings start like this image above. We space out pretty tiny plants, knowing their mature size. One common mistake that many people make is to shove the plants very close up against the house.  You need to leave room for maintenance access to the house AND space for the plants to grow. Over time, these small shrubs grow large!  A mature hydrangea spreads about about six feet when it’s grown. They need to be at least 4 feet off the house to leave room for air flow and access behind, and to reach their full size. Planting design requires serious plant knowledge.

established landscape planting

Those same perennials and shrubs that look so tiny in the first picture above filled in beautifully in just a couple of years. They’re not crowding each other out, but they do fill the space and create a lovely, welcoming garden around this gorgeous home.

foundation planting after time

Here at Red Fern, we believe that beautiful, well-designed landscapes bring joy and beauty into people’s lives. We believe that quality landscaping matters: it adds value to homes and neighborhoods, increases feelings of peace, and connects us with the earth around us. If you have questions about plantings at your house, we’ve got answers!

  • Our Landscape Design service is in-depth and custom, creating gorgeous designs for all around your home!
  • Gardner Coaching sets you up for success in just a couple of hours, giving you expert advice and guidance to tackle your projects. 
  • If you need a little help, Fine Gardening service comes to the rescue. We’ll work in your yard for you, getting your plantings perfect.

landscape house foundation

Over time, these beds have filled in perfectly. We carefully chose shrubs that wouldn’t block the windows. No one wants to spend their summers pruning!  Choosing the right plant for the right place is critical. I see so many foundation plantings that use shrubs that grow enormous, and the homeowners hack the plants back every year.  I wrote a whole blog post all about low-growing shrubs, so check it out to get ideas for your own yard!  The dwarf deutzia in this landscape grow about three feet tall- perfect for under windows.

landscape screening over time

landscape shrubs foundation planting

screening area new landscape planting

The image above this paragraph and below here are of the same area. I took the one above just a few weeks after planting. Then our photographer took the image below a few years later- over time, the plants grew in! The landscaping looks full, lush, and finished. It only took a couple of years!  We didn’t waste money packing in too many plants… we just gave it time.

screening photo established landscape

I love instant gratification as much as the next person, but I believe that good quality landscaping takes time. When you’re working on landscape beds around your house, keep in mind the mature size of the plants you’ve chosen. If you don’t know their mature size – look it up!  Space out plants correctly to create healthy, happy landscape beds as time goes by. Remember that good landscapes take time to come into themselves. Don’t be discouraged your first year!


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