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Making the most of your old garden plants

Don't even think about trashing all of your overgrown landscaping! Yes it would be nice to know there's a house behind those shrubs, but let's not be too hasty about it.

Take a hard look at those plants you paid good money for and stretch those landscape dollars by re-using key existing plants in a new restored landscape. When the old landscape was installed, the plants were smaller; it looked great and was the right scale for the property or home. But now, years later, it has become over grown and the plants overpower the garden space or structure it once complimented. This is a common occurrence, but it doesn't mean you can't re-use some of the plants and shrubs. In fact, when transplanted properly to a more ideal spot for growth and planting aesthetics, you would be surprised at how well those old plants will look incorporated into the newer landscape. As an added benefit, having established plant materials in and among newer younger plantings adds visual weight to the landscape and can make the landscape look more established.

Other common plant performance issues are that some plants may be suffering through less than ideal growing conditions due to poor plant placement (too sunny or shady, too wet or too dry), others may have just either outlived their span or just withered.

Unfortunately, these types of challenges are common in old landscapes when plant growth and form were overlooked in the initial garden planning. How a landscape will look over time is essential for successful landscape and garden planning. The key to avoiding this mistake is to identify the existing plants and shrubs that can be reused in a better location, understand their needs for sunlight and growth, while creating the plan for the new landscape, paying special attention to plant placement in the landscape.

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