Just a curious question.............

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by TyWebb, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. TyWebb

    TyWebb LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    As a homeowner who has spent the last couple of years putting in my yard, I've driven around from time to time to see what the "professionals" do.

    While I've seen some nice jobs, more times than not, I see a lot of jobs where things are planted with no forethought into what a mess they will become.

    I'll give you a couple of examples. Island beds are becoming quite popular in my area and its not uncommon to see trees that look small and cute right now, crammed into these small beds. The house across from me was done by a professional and they put 3 birch trees in a bed that should have had maybe 1. Now it looks like a huge bush. Blue Atlas Cedars are another tree that is misused as they look very small "Charlie Brownish". I drove by a home recently that had 3 of these in an island bed that was probably less than 30ft wide. So what happens when those trees grow up?

    I guess my question is do any of you find yourselves frustrated by some landscapers lack of planning and putting a bad name on the profession?
  2. snap12.5

    snap12.5 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 288

    i see this quite often where the new "joe's landscaping" installs plants and trees with no thought or consideration for future growth habits. some yards are done around here by landscapers that have little or no experience and by driving by, you can see which yards were well designed and which were not.

    the most common problems that i have seen are bed lines cut out in awkward curves, plants installed too close or too far apart, and the wrong types of plants and trees installed in certain areas.
  3. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    It is common practice to plant Birches in three's or sixes,they don't look good standing alone.Some preventive pruning would make them look ok.As far as the planting goes,
    people get what they pay for.
    If more people would be willing to let go of a few more bucks they could hire a reputable,informed landscaper,that would give them a plan that they could look at and say hey,Whats this tree gonna look like full grown?

    People don't bother to educate themselves on what is being installed on their propertys,and they just want big trees or privacy or evergreens so Landscapers install whats cheapest or available at the time.
    Alot of landscapers I know install the same plants every job because those plants work for them.I just saw a reputable well to do landscaper install 3 Redwood trees in a little triangle not 3' from a 5'tall ret wall,now will anyone be around to call him on it in 10 years when they begin to cause problems?
    So he dosen't really care.They look ok when he leaves the job he's happy.
    Has been installing plants that should be at the coast,here in the inner mountain area that gets scalding hot in summer.The plants die,he dosen't care.He's been paid.So it does bother me at times.But also that the ones paying for the jobs aren't asking more questions and educating themselves on the plant material being used in their landscapes.
  4. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    a agree completely...

    one thing to do is if the customer want;s a "full" look initially plant the material so that some are " sacrificial"... so that they can be removed when the material starts to mature......

    we will do this with commercial properties, or impatient homeowners that want a full look immediately, and do not want to wait.... we will intentionally overplant an area, and strategically place the material so that in 3 years or so, every other one can be removed, etc...
  5. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,009

    I see things like that alot in my area.Also remember though,homeowners want instant gratification.They don't want to wait years for plants to fill in or pay for mature plants in some cases.
    Personally,I check the mature width and height of every tree or shrub I design into an install.I let the customer see what they'll look like when I bring them in(samples) and then I show them what they'll look like at maturity(design).
    Another thing to remember is when shrubs are installed,the landscaper may be crowding them or using larger specimens for a reason.I recently went to a jobsite (residential) where the wintergreen boxwoods were placed 3 feet on center.The homeowner has been rounding them into little balls while they were meant to be shaped into a low square hedge.They curved slightly in the bed and to the landing.They'll look great once the homeowner starts shaping them
    correctly.Probably bad communication is the cause of that one.
  6. scraper69

    scraper69 LawnSite Senior Member
    from mi
    Messages: 477

    I hate this more than anything, i always get calls where we go out for a design est. and customer says we like this tree, but its too close to the house or want to remove all shrubs because they are overgrown. Well they were installed less than 10 years ago, and not really overgrown . but over grew the bed area. Many scapers design or install for instant gratification.
  7. hollywood

    hollywood LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Glad to hear others see the same problems. Many times we renovate existing landscapes not because the plant material is diseased of damaged, just too much. We see this especially with perennials and trees used in foundation plantings.
  8. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 242

    I've planted faster growing hedging plants closer together with the prior-approval/intention of removing every other one when a certain height/spread has been attained...some people are willing to pay for instant gratification and worry about aesthetics/health of the plantings later...I don't mind. I see more problems with plant SELECTION rather than over-crowding.
  9. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    I see more problems with planting site selection,too close to the house,too close to cement drives and walkways,under utility lines.

    An example of what roots can do to a drvway.These Cedars were planted around 1964
    the drvway poured just before that.
  10. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    While I agree with what most of you are saying, there is another side to every story.

    There are three forces at work here. One is the ultimate size of the plant. Another is the use of small less expensive plants while trying to fill in a space so that it does not look empty. And the third is maintenance and/or the lack of it.

    I have seen Blue Atlas Cedar in small island beds that were kept pruned as more of a spindly columnar tree and I have seen it let go naturally to a very wide bottomed tree.

    I have seen my own plans get implemented with tiny one gallon plants instead of what was spec'd. Only to see more planted in between when the see of mulch looked empty.

    I have seen and designed plantings with a length of time in mind before a revamp would be necessary. A planting is not necessarily expected to be permanent. A good design can have a shelf life.

    Then again there are many people that have no clue and don't care.

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