8 Common Residential Landscaping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Are you undertaking a residential landscaping project? There is a lot to consider when planning and executing it if you want the best result possible. 

At the same time, avoiding mistakes should be part of your plan, so it’s important to know what to look out for.

Whether you’re landscaping for the purposes of improving curb appeal, or just to have a better-looking garden for your own enjoyment, read on as we look at some of the most common residential landscaping mistakes.

1. Focusing Too Much On Symmetry

Symmetry is an admirable effect to aim for, as it can add a real air of elegance to a landscaping project. However, the issue here is that when you’re using living plants, maintaining symmetry is a tedious and nigh-on impossible task.

You’ll end up wasting a lot of time because you simply can’t predict exactly how trees and shrubs will grow, regardless of how well you plan. 

2. Poor Budgeting

One of the smartest things you can do when starting a landscaping project is to be purposeful and realistic with your budget. In many areas of life, budgeting is important, and this is all the more true when it comes to landscaping, purely because it can often be more expensive than anticipated.

If you don’t have the residential landscaping budget to complete the whole project at once, it’s a good idea to do the project in stages rather than trying to stretch yourself.

3. Poor Decorative Choices

This point only really stands for those who are undertaking a residential landscaping project for the purposes of improving curb appeal or the value of a home. If you’re landscaping purely for your own benefit, you can obviously do exactly what you want!

A few things to consider when you’re choosing decor that you hope will appeal to the masses. An example is not to overload the project with evergreens. They’re a great choice, but too much can leave your landscape looking monochrome.

Another example is something like a tire planter. While these are popular, they fit a certain style. If someone isn’t a fan of that style, it will be an instant turn-off.

4. Not Planning the Design

Alongside budgeting, planning the design of your landscaping project is one of the most important things you can do prior to starting. 

You know the saying, “failure to plan is planning to fail”. There may be a temptation to just get started, especially if you’re the type to procrastinate. 

Start with a basic sketch of the garden and start to plan where you’d like to add certain features. Consider how the landscape will look from every angle—including from inside the home!

5. Not Concealing Ugly Parts

You can put all your efforts into creating a beautiful landscape, with the perfect balance of color, density, and beautiful areas that draw the eye. But if you neglect to conceal things like oil tanks, utility boxes, or drainage covers, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

There are a few ways you can cover up these eyesores, but a hedge is a popular option, as it can still allow you access if required, via a small gap. Climbers such as Trachelospermum or ivy will also do a good job of camouflaging unsightly garden features.

6. Not Considering Climate Zones

It’s admirable to want a landscape with a diverse range of plants, but the reality is that you need to consider whether or not these plants can survive the climate you live in.

Use the USA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to help you decide what plants will be able to cope with both the high and lower temperature seasons in Cape Cod.

7. Being Poorly Equipped for the Job

“A man is only as good as his tools” is a strange quote, because it’s the only quote attributed to a man named Emmert Wolf. Nobody knows who he was, but his quote has survived generations, so it’s worth listening to.

There are tools that you’ll really miss if you don’t have them. Here are just a few essential tools for landscaping.


A shovel is a must-have tool, but it’s also worth mentioning that if you buy cheap, you’ll end up needing to buy more than one. You’ll use it extensively, so buying a good-quality shovel is a good idea.


You’ll need both a steel rake and a leaf rake—the steel rake can be used to rake tougher materials like soil and gravel, while the leaf rake will remove lighter surface coverings like leaves and twigs.

Lawn Aerator

If you want a lush, flush lawn, you can’t go without an aerator. This tool allows water to flow deep into the soil, helping heed it with oxygen and nutrients.


You’ll save yourself a lot of pain and trouble with a few pairs of gloves;

  • Synthetic gloves for general use
  • Latex gloves for handling wet soil
  • Leather gloves for dealing with thorns and thick shrubbery

Beyond these items, you can bring in machinery and more heavy-duty tools for bigger jobs.

8. Trying to Do It All Yourself

A residential landscaping project is a huge undertaking, especially if you’re not experienced. There may come a point when you realize that you need to get the professionals in to do the work, and that’s ok!

If you live in Cape Cod, Imperial Landscaping & Masonry are here to help with any and all of your landscaping needs. Even if you do want to do the work yourself, a professional can help you plan it well so that you’re best placed for success.

Avoid These Residential Landscaping Mistakes

If you manage to steer clear of these residential landscaping mistakes, you give yourself a good chance of completing a project that you can be proud of. If it’s your aim, you can dramatically improve the curb appeal of your home, or you can enjoy your beautiful new landscape for yourself.

If you need any help or advice or are looking for some professional input into your project, don’t hesitate to get in touch. While you’re here, why not check out some more articles on the blog section of the website?