landscape is very much like your homeís interior
grows old, sometimes tattered and torn, and needs
updating from time to time. Sometimes, plantings need to
be completely torn out and totally replaced. Sometimes,
old porches, patios and decks just donít work any
design classes typically teach that a landscape lasts
for 10-15 years before it needs at least a partial redo.
Sometimes, itís best to just start over from scratch
and get the look youíve always wanted and never
achieved because there was never enough advance planning
and an overall plan.
I started my business 21 years ago, there was a housing
boom in Williamsburg, Va., and the bulk of my business
was landscapes for new construction," says Peggy
Krapf of Heartís Ease Landscape & Garden Design,
time passed it has now become primarily renovating old,
landscapes need renovation for one of the following
reasons, according to Krapf:
initial design, which becomes more obvious as years
progress (wrong plants in wrong places).
workmanship and poorly chosen hardscaping/materials that
donít stand the test of time.
age of plants and bad or improper regular pruning
through the years.
owners who have different landscape taste or style.
tell my clients that if it is time to renovate the
inside of the house, it is probably time to renovate the
outside," she says.
a landscape reaches the 12-15 year point many plants
have outgrown their spaces or reached the end of their
lifespans. Trees should live many years and should be in
places where they have room to grow to their mature
sizes. Nothing is sadder than beautiful trees, just
reaching their maturity, that need to be removed because
they were not planted in the right place to begin
a landscape can be tricky, continues Krapf. Sometimes it
is necessary to remove all the plants and begin fresh.
Other times some plants can be left in place and pruned
or reshaped and mixed with new plants.
mixing new with old, I try to purchase larger-sized new
plants so there is less contrast between new and
old," she says.
shrubs can be rejuvenated: cut back hard to remove old
growth and stimulate new, younger growth. Many deciduous
plants and evergreens such as Japanese hollies,
boxwoods, and Chinese hollies can be cut back hard in
early spring, and will grow back and be serviceable for
many more years. Overgrown evergreens can sometimes be
"limbed up" into tree forms to give them new
life. Valuable plants can be transplanted to other
locations where they have more room to continue to grow.
have several clients with beautiful landscapes that are
15 or more years old," she says.
maintenance and pruning make all the difference.
analogy I often use is with children ó if you
discipline and train them from the time they are young
they will generally turn out the way you hoped they
would. If you let them become wild with little
direction, they get permanently out of control."
Smithfield Gardens in Smithfield, Va., horticulturists
Ann Weber and Jeffrey Williamson encourage homeowners to
pay attention to the information on plant tags before
buying pieces that will outgrow their spaces, and cause
crowding problems earlier than needed.
never pay attention to their tags so a plant may end up
being a little larger than you thought," says
Williamson. "Some maintenance pruning may be
necessary but most gardeners can handle it. No landscape
is ever maintenance free."
Bailey of Landscapes by Eric Bailey in Yorktown, Va.,
agrees you need to allot time for any yard.
sure you have the time and resources to maintain your
landscape," he says.
would say four hours a week depending on the size of
keep your expectations realistic, Bailey recommends you
"plan, plan, plan" your landscape, choosing
the right plants for the right places. For example, donít
plant a white-flowering Natchez crape myrtle that grows
30 feet tall when you have a place that should
accommodate an eight-foot-tall plant.
plants are selected for the correct sun/shade exposure
and planted according to their ultimate size, in three
to five years you will have a full lush landscape
without overcrowding or the need for excessive trimming
or pruning," adds Tish Llaneza of Countryside
Gardens in Hampton, Va.,