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Landscape Design

How to Avoid Five Common Landscaping and Patio Mistakes

Maureen Gilmer

Calimesa, CA (April 7, 2011) - Building your own outdoor paradise can be a daunting, yet rewarding project. Before you invest your time and money, it's a good idea to consider the components of a successful landscape or patio project.

A great place to start is to look for professional landscaping design ideas on the web. Websites like offer design tips from professionals to help you get your project off the ground.

"Building a poorly designed landscape can cost just as much as building a well designed one," says landscape design expert Maureen Gilmer. "When you're forking over big bucks to create the outdoor living space or garden of your dreams, it pays to get the design just right."

Gilmer offers the following tips on how to avoid five common landscape design mistakes:

Common mistake: Choosing the wrong size for your patio
How to avoid it: Of all patio sizing tips, making sure your patio's dimensions work with your concept for patio furniture arrangements may be the most important. For example, your patio should be at least 10-by-10 feet to accommodate chairs around a table with a 5-foot diameter. If you're crunched for space, consider different furniture options, or creatively adjust your surfaces to add space behind the areas where chairs will be placed.

Common mistake: Creating a disconnect between indoors and outdoors
How to avoid it: Consistent use of colors, materials and even plants between your patio and adjacent indoor space can make your patio seem like an extension of your home. Design consistency makes each place seem bigger and more useful when your patio doors are open.

Common mistake: Inconsistent outdoor design
How to avoid it: Piecemeal design can occur when you take on one project without thinking about its long-term impact on your outdoor space as a whole. For this reason, it can be helpful to sit down and develop a flexible master plan for your outdoor space, which will allow you to complete your ultimate design goals in phases without compromising the look and feel of your yard. Consulting with a professional landscape designer may be helpful when developing this plan.

Common mistake: Misunderstanding the importance of good design
It's exciting to tackle an outdoor project, but when you forget to think about the big picture, the project can sometimes turn out to be less than what you had hoped for. If you don't have the time to learn the basics of landscape design yourself, it might be a good idea to hire a professional. A good designer should be able to show you a portfolio of projects he or she has worked on so you can get an idea of whether their work is compatible with your desires. If you need help finding a landscape designer in your area, check out the directory at For additional resources, visit the Association of Professional Landscape Designer's

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