Maintaining a home can be challenging sometimes. Not only do homeowners have to keep up with daily chores and the tasks associated with running a household, but they also have to keep up with regular maintenance of the physical structure and outside spaces of their home.
Landscaping is something many homeowners opt to do on their own so they don’t always know what to anticipate as potential future problems when working on projects initially. And because most backyard projects and landscaping are done during the warm months of Spring and Summer, homeowners don’t know what problems may arise when the weather becomes colder and wetter.
Soil erosion is probably the biggest problem that arises in any backyard. Any type of slope that exists has the potential for the soil to erode over time. Despite this, many do it yourselfers don’t put plans in place to mitigate the risks of soil erosion. This sets them up for problems down the road.
One of the best ways to combat the effects of erosion is to build a retaining wall, especially for steep slopes. This creates a level surface and helps absorb water so it doesn’t cause the soil to be swept away during rainstorms. Even with slight slopes, erosion can cause the soil to wash away over time, leaving what remains to dry out or be washed into another area of the yard.
Aside from retaining walls, mulch can also be a way to combat soil erosion. Most homeowners don’t realize how important mulch is to the health and maintenance of your yard. Yes, mulch can add to the aesthetic components of your landscape design, but mulch also serves a great anti-erosion purpose. It can hold soil in place, protect it from the elements, and keep water from evaporating during the hot months.
Placing trees and shrubs too close to the house
This one is super common and can lead to major problems down the road. Way too many homeowners plant trees and shrubs too close to their home. In their zeal to create a lush landscape, they fill the beds closest to their home with plants and trees they love without understanding the very real negative issues this can cause.
People can’t imagine how big the trees and shrubs they have planted are actually going to get. So they don’t allow ample space for them to grow into their design. This is one of the main reasons I advocate for people hiring a professional landscaper to design a long-term plan for your backyard. They understand how plants will continue to grow and fill in the areas that may look a bit sparse at the outset.
So, why exactly is it problematic to plant trees and shrubs close to your home? Well, for starters, anytime you expose your foundation to water over and over again, it can lead to issues. This is why homes have rain gutters, to divert water away from the foundation of the house. This is also why concrete contractors plan for proper drainage and sloping to direct water away from your home’s foundation. If you have trees and shrubs close planted adjacent to the foundation, every time you water them you expose your foundation to the possibility of seepage. Over time, this can lead your foundation to crack or buckle, leading to costly repairs.
Another reason it is not recommended to plant trees and shrubs too close to your home is because some species have invasive roots. Now, I’ll be honest with you. I wince every time I see a home with bamboo or ficus trees planted close to the home’s structure because these two species have very invasive roots. There are more too, which is why it’s important that you know which shrubs and trees would work best for your design.
You’d be surprised how roots can travel and begin to push on the concrete and other materials in your yard and under your home.
Another problem that can derail a backyard landscape design is poorly planned or installed irrigation. It’s a little bit of a Goldilocks tale with too much water, too little water, and just right water. If you’ve planned properly, you will make sure each section of your landscaping is getting the water it needs to thrive.
A mis-matched irrigation system can lead to over-watered lawns, and water run-off that can contribute to other problems.
Getting your irrigation system installed by a professional alleviates the need to guess whether your plants will be too muddy or dry out completely.