Common Landscape Design Mistakes – Part 4

Soil preparation is key and the landscape design process should call out necessary requirements, this usually falls under the category of site preparation. Most plant roots don’t extend more than a few feet below the surface so special attention should be given to working and amending the soil as needed to achieve the right structure. It doesn’t make sense to plant an expensive plant in cheap soil, it should really be the other way around – cheap plant, expensive soil. It doesn’t matter how expensive the plant is, if the soil is substandard, it won’t grow; maybe soil quality is more important than plant quality.

It’s a common practice to use the existing soil that’s there and possibly improving it with various types of organic matter to recondition it back to a higher quality of soil. When you have heavy equipment already on-site to prepare a project, it may be more cost effective in the long run to completely remove the compacted or depleted soils and replace it with brand new materials before planting begins.

Driveways, patios, and walkways are hardscapes that are a huge part of the design, both literally and figuratively. These landscape foundations are designed to float – they are expected to move up and down as subsurface water expands and contracts as it freezes and thaws. It’s obvious that a suitable base has to be able to flex throughout that whole process because if it doesn’t, the ramifications would be severe and you might end up destroying the entire hardscape. A concrete driveway is an example of a hardscape surface that will not flex and for this reason, expansion joints are necessary to manage that movement and eliminate unwanted cracking. Be sure your landscape design details all of the necessary foundation specifications to ensure the integrity of its hardscape elements.

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