When it comes to landscaping, Princeton, NJ is a lot like most other parts of the country.
Look around, and you’ll see some homes with attractive, well-kept yards, and other homes where the property owners have made some kind of mistake.
But here’s the thing about landscaping errors: they can be avoided, or at the very least, fixed. Here are a few common mistakes to watch out for with your Princeton landscaping.
(Project we did at 255 Nassau Street, Princeton NJ)
1. Not having a plan for your plants
Far too many people are shortsighted when choosing plants for their yard. What do we mean by that? They pick plants without thinking of how they’ll grow and what kind of maintenance they’ll require.
So, before you plant, have a plan. Read plant tags, research your choices online, or talk to a Princeton landscaping expert about the things you hope to plant.
Here are a few plants that we recommend for your Princeton landscaping projects:
Asters are always at the top of the list of flowers for Princeton gardens because they are native to the New Jersey area, easy to grow and drought tolerant. Asters provide great height and striking color in any landscape. Some varieties grow from six to eight feet tall and bloom with beautiful hues of white, pink, lavender and purple.
Astilbe will add a graceful, feathery texture and soft colors in white, pink, red and blue to your landscape. In Princeton gardens, astilbe will tolerate full sun, as long as there is a rich moist soil and adequate water. In hot temperatures of spring and summer, the leaves can scorch in full sun, so it’s best to plant astilbe in shady garden areas.
Butterfly bush is a native plant to New Jersey, so it does well with minimal care and maintenance. Vividly colored flowers in white, orange, pink and red attract many types of birds and butterflies, including Monarch butterflies that feed on its gold/chartreuse foliage without harming the plant. Butterfly bush is drought tolerate, deer resistant (we all know the crazy amount of deer there are in Princeton) and fragrant, topping the list of perennial flowers.
2. Forgetting the local wildlife
You’ve put a lot of time and money and sweat into planting flowers and vegetables in your yard. But as far as the local deer and rabbit populations are concerned, you’ve just invited them over for dinner. Like we said above, there are so many deer in Princeton and NJ as a whole.
But you can avoid turning your garden into a buffet for the animals by planting some bitter-tasting flowers such as foxglove, rosemary, mint or heather. Once deer get a taste of these plants, they’ll be less likely to return.
You can build a fence, or a put up some chicken wire, around your garden to keep away wild rabbits and other smaller creatures.
3. Valuing aesthetics over function
We all want a beautiful backyard, but it’s important not to lose sight of usefulness. Look for ways to blend aesthetics with function.
For example, planting evergreen trees gives your property color all year round, while also providing another layer of privacy. And installing a rock garden might look pretty, but it may not be the best choice for families with small children running around.
In the end, functionality should trump aesthetics in landscaping, but it’s possible to have both.
4. Forgetting about fall and winter
But don’t forget about fall, and the rich colors that come with it, or about how much you’ll miss splashes of color during those long Princeton grey winter months. Your planting agenda should include some things that will remain bright long after summer ends.
For example, winterberry or deciduous holly will display bright red berries in the dead of winter, while mums, sumac and pansies offer some delightful colors for fall.
5. Ignoring outdoor lighting
Too many people only think of their landscaping in terms of how it will look during the day. Adding some exterior lighting can help you show off your lawn and garden and add another degree of safety to your home and family. You did all that hard work on your garden, why not show it off 24/7?
Installing landscape lighting doesn’t have to be a major project. Adding some simple solar lights to your yard will give your property a pleasing glow throughout the night.
6. Jumping on the lawn bandwagon
For many Princeton homeowners, a lawn can feel like an obligation. They look out and see their neighbors spending hours each week to have perfectly manicured grass, and think they need to do the same.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. We’re not saying you should just let your lawn run wild. But you don’t necessarily have to have a giant lawn, either.
Shrink your lawn by planting some shrubs, or putting down rocks, natural mulch, trees and gardens. You’ll have less to mow, and a more interesting-looking yard.
These mistakes are easy to avoid, and even easier to deal with when you have the help of a Princeton landscaping professional.
If you’re not sure what to do with your landscaping – or you’ve seen yourself on this list – Cutting Edge Lawn & Landscaping can help.