Learning how not to landscape your yard is a good first step for beginners. Oh sure, you'll eventually want to find out all the details behind the right way to design your yard. But in the spirit of Hippocrates, there is a lot to be said for starting out by at least doing no harm.
Below I warn you about errors to avoid. Most of these errors are not catastrophic. Nonetheless, it's often the little things that add up to make or break a landscape design, so it behooves you to avoid these mistakes.
Let me also note that, while these lessons are intended for homeowners who do not in any way consider themselves experts in landscape design, I do assume that you've at least dabbled in gardening a bit. If you're not even at that level yet, a better place to begin would be my resource on how to start a garden from scratch, which will help you avoid basic mistakes such as placing sun-loving plants in shaded areas and trying to grow plants in soil that is too poor to support them.
Error #1: Installing Plants Along Your House Foundation That Will Quickly Outgrow the Space
Many foundation plantings look great at the outset but then disappoint at a later time. A common reason for this denouement is the failure to research the mature dimensions of the plants involved. You may have fallen in love with that shrub or tree at the garden center, but your love will one day turn sour when you find that the plant has become a nuisance -- something that you have to keep trimming back because it wants to outgrow its allotted space.
Dwarf trees can be a great choice in such circumstances. But do not think only of the eventual height of a plant when you make your calculations. Width matters, too. That's why columnar shrubs such as Sky Pencil holly are potentially useful as foundation plants.
Error #2: Employing Ground Covers That Do Their Jobs Too Well
Their very name bespeaks their function: "ground covers" stay relatively low and are supposed to cover ground in your landscape that would otherwise be full of weeds.
As opportunistic as weeds are, it would obviously be advantageous to select a ground cover that's dynamic, something that will spread out and fill in an area (with a little help from you) before weeds can gain a toehold.
Well, maybe "obviously" is too strong a word there. The fact is, selecting the optimal ground cover is more complex than simply choosing one that grows robustly and looks pretty. Some do their jobs so well that they become weeds of a sort, in their own right.
Many homeowners have come to regret planting English ivy, for example, discovering too late its tendency to get out of hand. Some of the worst offenders are ground covers that thrive in shade: they have to be vigorous growers to make it in such conditions. And that very vigor can backfire on you.
Error #3: Making Snap Judgments Regarding the Selection and Use of Mulch
Also more complex than they might at first appear are decisions regarding mulch selection and the use of mulch in your landscape. There's a lot that can go wrong here, and the ramifications range from causing plant damage to causing yourself extra work.
A type of mulch that's perfectly good for use around many plants can be a lousy choice around certain others. For example, one year I got the bright idea of applying some pine needles as a mulch in a bed where I was growing creeping thyme. Big mistake. Winds kept blowing the pine needles into the creeping thyme, where they would become hopelessly entangled, spoiling the looks of my thyme ground cover. I was constantly extricating the needles. That was a chore I didn't need!
A mulch comprised of tiny stones can be even worse in this regard. Avoid using such a mulch anywhere where you do not plan on keeping it -- for a long time. The stones eventually work their way down through the soil and become a nightmare to extricate.
So far I've spoken only of inconvenience. But some poor mulch choices can be downright harmful to your plants. Have you ever heard of "mulch volcanoes?" Then there's the question of timing. As beneficial as mulch can be in helping you get your perennials through the winter, you'd better know when to remove mulch in spring. My FAQ on garden mulch will answer some of the questions novices have on the subject.
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/errors-to-avoid-when-landscaping-your-yard-
Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty, Iowa
Hi! My name is Becky and I am a Master Gardener. I own Becky's Greenhouse in Dougherty, Iowa.