Five biggest landscaping mistakes in Houston

September 22, 2009 3:54:54 PM PDT
Gardening experts say fall is the best time to plant on the Gulf Coast, but before you head to the nursery, we have the five biggest mistakes homeowners make when it comes to gardening in the fall. Avoid these so you don't waste your time and your money!From a distance, Tom Mclesky's front yard looks great. But if you take a closer look you can see it's overrun with weeds, plants are dying and gardening expert Randy Lemmon says the soil is stressed out. Lemmon say this is typical of what many of our gardens may look like, so he created a list of the five biggest mistakes we all need to avoid when it comes to planning our garden.

Mistake #1: Most people never plan their work, then work their plan.

"What I mean by that is people piecemeal their job," Lemmon explained. "'I like that flower. Put it in there. I like that shrub. Put it in there.' That's not the way we do landscaping in the Houston area."

Lemmon suggests reading up on what type of shrubs, plants and flowers work best in our region.

Mistake #2: Gardeners don't know how to build their beds.

Lemmon said, "When it comes to flower beds, when it comes to landscape shrubbery beds, all we have to do is make sure that it is a quality soil like a good rose soil. Make sure it is a raised bed, because all success in gardening starts with good soil."

Lemmon says your beds should be raised about four inches and rose soil works best in Gulf Coast landscapes.

Mistake #3: Using the wrong mulch.

"The soil is being poisoned slowly but surely by the black mulches," Lemmon said.

He says the Mclesky's black dyed mulch is the reason why the garden is dying.

"We never really researched it," Mclesky admitted. "We just figure mulch is mulch and that's what we went with."

Lemmon says that's why not doing your homework could cost you. He says stick with natural mulches that have not been dyed and even though black mulch has become popular...

"It pains me to see that black mulch, that dyed mulch, because I don't care what you dyed it with it, it is leaching into the soil and it cannot be good for the plants," Lemmon said.

Mistake #4: Giving up on color for autumn and winter in Houston.

Lemmon says there are so many options like snap dragons, dianthus, calendulas and, as always, mums and pansies. Just be sure to buy your flowers when they are barely budding.

"It's a great way to make your landscape stand out above all the others who basically blow off gardening in the fall and winter time," Lemmon advised.

Mistake #5: Not investing in an irrigation system.

Lemmon says many people lost their plants this past summer because we didn't get enough rain. He says the investment will pay off.

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