Common Landscape Design Problems

A well designed and maintained landscape can be not only a beautiful and tranquil centerpoint to your home but is a sound investment in your property value. It must be pointed out that the key to a successful landscape implementation is planning.

One important thing to bear in mind is that creating a unique and beautiful landscape takes patience. This could mean months or even years in some cases. After the master plan is settled on, the work begins and proceeds in stages. Depending on what theme you will base your landscape on you will probably run into a few common landscape design problems. Let’s look at a few of them.


Do you have large shade trees in the area you are landscaping? Your design should take this into account. You will be limited to plants that thrive in low light situations. Although most varieties of grass, such as Saint Augustine, need a lot of light, there are very attractive low light alternative groundcovers. Bugleweed (Ajuga) or Lady's mantle (Alchemilla) are good choices if they are appropriate to your climate. Check with your local nursery to determine what works best in your area.

On the other hand, if your landscape design area gets at least six hours of good sunlight a day, you will have other choices. In any event, ground cover is important for erosion control. This becomes somewhat more critical if the ground slopes.


Most locales do not get sufficiently consistent rainfall to irrigate the landscaping. The best solution is to incorporate an automatic irrigation system into your design. It’s true that you can run your sprinkler when needed but there will be times when this is not practical, such as when you are away on vacation or off on a business trip.

There are a variety of ways to implement and irrigation system. The two most popular are hard-piped sprinklers and soaker hoses under a layer of mulch. Soaker hoses are good for targeted irrigation or in areas where high levels of evaporation waste too much water. The common factor on any system is a good timer.

Uninvited Guests

Wild animals are wonderful to look at in their habitat but in a well tended landscape they can be disastrous and downright expensive. This needs to be considered in the landscape design phase.

Two of the most common pests are deer and groundhogs. Groundhogs will not only eat your plants, they will also tear up the ground with their burrows. There are several ways to control them. One way is to offend them with smells and tastes. You might sprinkle Epsom salts on the plants to eliminate munching.

The smell of ammonia is offensive to groundhogs so rags soaked in them will keep them at bay. During your design, consider installing chicken wire fences around the perimeter of the area. They will need to be two to three feet high and al least one foot deep in the soil.

If you know your area has problems with deer, you should design the plant makeup with this in mind. One good example of a deer resistant plant is Lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina). It provides a complementary texture in a rock garden and it spreads readily. It is easy to look at with its light purple flowers on top of tall spikes.


These are just a few problems (rather, challenges) that you might consider when designing your landscape. Considering them early and incorporating solutions will make the construction pleasant and much more economical.