How do I fix an overgrown bed?
The best you can do honestly is to edit. With my landscape design and consultation clients I always encourage that existing trees and shrubs be saved at all costs when they are healthy and can be managed proportional to the space. Unfortunately, huge shrubs that eat up your homes entry or block all the sun from your windows, may not hold the same value they did when they were small and manageable. New plants that are the correct size for the space are also little to no maintenance.
Above, the left shows an over grown shrub that cannot be salvaged. It is best served that the outdated hedge row be removed to make space for the architecture of the home to take center stage. Now, the right side shows how huge that front porch is and you could even wave to your neighbors as they pass by. Overgrown shrubs are a security problem, they encourage pests and take up unnecessary real estate. After my design, this front yard is updated and far more functional. The plants are small now, but in a short time they will be grown in and still be an accent, not a burden.
The plants above are a perfect example of those that should also be removed. They are over shaped, over grown and over planted. There are actually 3 separate trees in the larger blob and the other is an over shaped Wax Myrtle that only has leaves on the outside of the shrub making it struggle to stay in the space, much less provide food from photosynthesis. I suggested the smaller one be removed and replaced with an appropriate sized plant , and the larger one be separated into one specimen that is properly trained as the small tree it should have been.
Above are some excellent examples of where I kept the large plants, then added all the small to medium–sized perennials in each bed. Additionally, I changed the shape of each bed to give them an updated design that was appropriate to the size of the home. It is important to create layers between the lawn and your large shrubs and trees.
This was a great way to adorn what was working in an otherwise unbalanced bed. By outlining it with river rock, the drainage is improved and a border outlines the bed as a specimen instead of an accident.
Sometimes it comes right down to editing. In the beds below, plants were removed that were over crowded and unsuccessful and replaced with more appropriate plants for the light and neighboring plants water requirements. Again, I changed the shape of the beds to allow enough room to layer from back to front.
In one short year the plants above will grow in to be layered with the older plants…like this.
Before, these beds were narrow along the house in a straight-line. They created right angles that limited the pool and sod design so we implemented the curved beds along with large square stepping-stones for a modern design with a Hill Country feel. This yard is home to many deer so obviously, I chose only deer resistant plants and trees for this space.
These oversized plants and trees have overstayed their welcome. The trees will do well with a raised canopy and no longer be a hazard for passers by, though the others are strict up liabilities. Stabby plants someone could fall against, blocking the view of incoming traffic, or someone’s driveway could cost you. If you aren’t sure how to lasso these babies in, call a professional for a trim, or call a consultant like me to teach you how, because in many cases you can raise the canopy of just about any tree or large shrub yourself and this blog should help. Remember that Xeriscape in Austin doesn’t have to mean Cactus, it just has to be plants that need low water.
Remember to embrace what you have that is working. Established , healthy shrubs have proven their worth so if they aren’t a hazard or eyesore, try to work with them.
I kept the hedge rows that existed already, extended the beds and bordered them in river rock to make them pop. We added a few specimen trees to add height among the towering Oaks and you have an instant bed that looks like it’s always been there.
Hopefully this has inspired you to make some changes on your own. If you are in the Austin or surrounding areas and would like some help taking your space to the next level, give me a call or text me at 512-733-7777 to schedule a Landscape Design Consultation , or email me at email@example.com.
Lisa’s Landscape and Design (like me on Facebook @lisaslandscape)
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”