“Please don’t plant so close to me!”
“Please don’t plant so close to me!” sing that to the music of “The Police” aka “Please don’t stand” yada yada every time you are planting your new plants. After cursing me for not being able to get that song out of your head, take a moment and look at the mature size of the plant before you plant it. Today as I am driving down the street I witnessed a neighbor having Knock Out Roses installed in their front bed literally 1′ apart. These plants reach to 5′ tall and 3′ wide sooo do the math…no bueno!
PLEASE research the mature size of the plants you plan to use then properly space them to avoid wasting money and your precious time with unnecessary maintenance. Not to mention certain plants like roses do not like to be crowded as this promotes fungus and disease issues. Roses need air circulation and this is true for most plants but some plants and all trees will not tolerate being over crowded and will never perform the way they are intended.
Just because someone can push a mower (or calls themselves a landscaper) does not mean they know plants so be your own advocate and educate yourself on the plants and trees you plan to use for proper spacing. At the very least, ask what types of plants your lawnscaper plans to use then look them up yourself before planting to be sure the plants are spaced properly before they go into the ground. If a plant is 5′ wide and you are planting several in a row then there should be a minimum of 5′ between them. 2.5′ on one side and the other for all the plants in the row and for any being planted near them. Obviously you would need the bed to be at least 15′ wide to place 3 5′ plants in a row. If the plant is 3′ wide it is 3′ apart (1.5′ on one side and 1.5′ on the other and so on). This gives room for each plant to grow to touch one another but not crowd one another. If you do not care that they are this close, or have a large bed to fill on a budget, then leave even more room between the plants as it OK to see some mulchy space throughout the bed and it leaves room for error.
Many landscapers/lawnscapers will over sell you plants and bad soil. They seem cheap on labor, but they are taking advantage of you on the materials which is where they make their profit. I am for making a living but not at the demise of someone’s landscape. I can make a profit, use quality soil and plant the right plants in the right place with the right space so I know it can be done 🙂
Over planting means that you will have unnecessary maintenance. You will be forced into a contract with the garden devil by having to constantly trim the over sized plants to conform to your beds and play well with others. If you plant the right plant and give it enough room to grow to a mature size it negates the need for trimming.
Aside from spacing, use odd numbers in your plant count, (1-3-5, etc) to create an intentionally, unintentional look. (1) One for specimen plants, (3) three for pops of color and larger numbers for washes of color. When using heavy color like red or orange, be sure to include the color throughout the space with symmetrical plants. Not necessarily the same plant, but you do want to expand the space by adding bold colors in multiple spaces throughout the garden as opposed to a corner where your eye is only drawn to that space.
To accurately count the amount of plants you need for a space you should begin by measuring the space and creating a plant grid. If you want 5′ wide shrubs in the back of your bed, 3′ wide roses in front of those and 2′ wide mounding plants at the front of your bed you need 10′ of bed front to back and at least 15′ wide. That is if you want the plants to touch, you will need more room if you are trying to leave space. So before you go shopping go onto my Facebook page at “Lisa’s Landscape & Design” to make your plant selections by clicking on the photo selection, then the albums of your choice and take a list of your faves with sketch of your bed to the nursery. Then while you are planting your new bed, think of the “Police” song (Don’t stand so close to me) and remember that just like people, your plants need a little elbow room too.
Now go get your garden on!
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