Gardening column: Tackle the jungle

Do you find yourself keeping the blinds closed on all your windows because you just hate to look at the jungle that has taken over your yard?

Many of us purchased homes with pretty little landscaped trees, shrubs and plants put in by the developer. 

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Unfortunately, the landscaping didn’t come with instructions and many of the plants were wrong for the size of yard and location.

If not properly maintained, the shrubs, plants and trees start to take a life on their own. They become entangled into each other with the odd invasive vine wrapping itself around neglected landscaping. 

Small trees, if not managed properly, become mammoth trees blocking out much needed light into our homes. 

Many developers don’t put the right trees into the landscape during construction. 

Small trees that have grown into gigantic trees located right beside your house can invade drainage systems, building structures and grab any moisture from the ground to nourish themselves. 

Other shrubs and plants around these giant trees will suffer from lack of water.

Many homeowners seem to give up when landscaping gets out of control.  There is no interest in watering or even trying to deal with the mess. 

But pride of ownership is still important to them. It is just an overwhelming task to tackle, leaving most people unable to decide where to start!

Including a pleasing landscaped yard into your regular home maintenance budget is as important as maintaining your roof. Neglected landscaping can damage building structure, driveways, drainage and can attract pests such as rats, raccoons, chafer beetles. 

Recently our neighbours reached out to me to find out how to fix their landscape disaster. 

They made the decision to hire a landscape designer. They were very diligent in the process by requesting a few quotes.

They chose a designer that not only did they feel comfortable with and trusted, the designer also asked the right questions — “How long do you plan on living in this neighbourhood? Have you seen any landscaping or plants that you love?”

The designer also explained that no matter what type of planting is integrated into the new design, the homeowners have to water regularly. 

The transformation of their garden is stunning. The landscaper incorporated a preponderance of large boulders and rocks.

The drought resistant shrubs and plants highlighted the rocks. For those homeowners who struggle with watering there are only a few plants to water in this garden design. 

To make sure you hire the right landscape company, get at least two to three quotes.  Visit a neighbour whose garden design you love and ask who did the work. 

Lynda Pasacreta is the current president of the Richmond Garden Club. For more information visit

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