33 Questions – What’s Your Landscaping IQ?

front entrance garden

Whether the planting plans for your property are still on paper or whether you began to carry them out several years ago, now is the time to find out if you are heading in the right direction.

The questions which follow are full of hints to guide your activities this fall.

If you find that you can answer at least half of them with a firm “yes”, you are well on the way toward an attractive yet useful setting for your home.

Watch Your Property Develop

It’s fun to watch your property develop over the years, so don’t be impatient if you must budget in carrying out your plans.

As you gain experience with growing things, you will look forward to each new planting season with expectation. Even when your original plans are complete, you will find yourself making improvements for the sheer fun of it.

Next month, as a major planting season gets underway, we will present the life story of a typical home property. There will be ideas on how you can perfect your long-range planning and come up with “yes” answers to most of the questions here.


  YES NO

Proper drainage is vital to the development of your property. Have you graded the property correctly?

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If you had to change your grade, did you provide wells that protect the life of existing trees and provide drainage?

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Have you made use of retaining walls to gain level gardening and outdoor living space?

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Do you know your soil type and what kinds of trees and shrubs are naturally adapted to it?

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Have you studied the movement pattern of the sun and noted how your property’s bright or shaded areas expand and diminish from spring to winter?

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Do walks lead directly to house entrances and with equal directness connect your house to the garage, greenhouse or other outbuildings?

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Have you emphasized your front door so guests do not wander to the kitchen or service entrance?

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Are your walkways durable, safely surfaced and wide enough to allow two persons to walk together side by side?

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Are steps and walks well lighted?

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Is your driveway wide and adequate for turning in and out of the garage with safety?

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Would an off-street parking area offer a solution to your parking or traffic problem?

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Do you encourage the use of your terrace by making it easily accessible to the living rooms of your house?

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Is your terrace shaded in summer and situated in the path of prevailing winds or protected from them as your needs may be?

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Is your terrace, patio or pool shielded from the public eye so you can enjoy family privacy when you use it?

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Is your patio/terrace lighted in the evening and large enough for entertaining?

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Have you placed outdoor utility areas conveniently near your kitchen, garage, greenhouse or garden-work room?

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Have you made good use of vines and shrubs for screening your utility areas from sight?

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Do the materials of which you built your walks, terrace, driveway, fences and the like blend with the character of your house?

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Do the locations you selected for trees, shrubs and hedges encourage cooling air to circulate through the windows of your house?

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Do you enjoy summer-heat protection from deciduous trees and vines that shade your roof, terrace and picture windows?

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If your house is not architecturally perfect, did you select plants to soften its bad features and point up its good ones?

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Have you devised interesting groups of shrubs, trees and flowers to look at from the major windows of your house if your view is not especially attractive?

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Have you retained the charm of old trees, weathered rock formations, quiet water or other features present on your property by carefully selecting plant materials to complement them?

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Do you investigate the seasonal interest of the trees and shrubs you select, being sure that they will perform attractively several seasons of the year?

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With a wary eye to future maintenance (think low maintenance landscaping ideas), have you chosen plant materials that do not require more care than you can conveniently provide them?

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Do you follow the wise practice of planting ground covers in hard-to-maintain places under trees and on steep banks?

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Do you repeat the use of trees and shrubs, that you particularly like, to give the design of your property a feeling of unity the year ’round?

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Is your lawn healthy and so attractive that it can’t help but assist you in unifying the various elements in your planting scheme, like the challenges of landscaping small yards?

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Have you investigated one of the easily installed underground watering systems for your lawn and garden?

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Have you avoided monotony in your design by contrasting plant forms, color and textures?

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In addition to their floral display, daylilies, iris, peonies and many other herbaceous plants have exciting foliage. Do you make the best use of them for their foliage effect?

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You may have had to compromise on this, but did you select a sunny, fertile location for your rose, flower or vegetable garden where it could also be seen and easily reached from your terrace?

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Have you kept up to date with today’s superior varieties of day-lilies, phlox, iris, chrysanthemums, roses, azaleas and other plants?

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Image: Hortulus

Tips To Improve Your Plant Care
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